‘UN Sustainable Development Goals expensive but worth it’

Lima, Oct 11 (IANS) World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has described the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as “expensive but worth it”.

During a panel on answering how the SDGs could be financed at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings in Lima, Kim said that accomplishing the SDGs would cost trillions of US dollars.

“They are incredibly ambitious. They should make the world humble due to their scope,” Xinhua quoted him as saying on Friday.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that her institution would help countries find the money to finance the SDGs.

“The IMF can help countries with economic stability. We can look at issues like climate change and gender equality, as women can make a huge difference to the economy,” she explained.

“We can also provide macro-critical advice. $5.4 trillion are being wasted for fossil fuel subsidies. All that money can be spent on something else,” added Lagarde.

Kim also explained that the SDGs have taken an attitude to financing what was missing from the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“For the MDGs, we did not talk about financing until two years after they were passed. But two years before the SDGs were passed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to the World Bank, the IMF and multilateral development banks and asked us to think creatively about how to fund the SDGs,” explained Kim.

This process led these institutions to issue a document, named “From Billions to Trillions”, in which they outlined new ways of increasing funding for climate change.

Kim gave one example of how countries can increase tax returns. Stating that tax collection systems were regressive and inefficient, Kim estimated that by fixing this process alone, global GDP could be increased by 2-4 percent, unlocking many funds.

The SDGs, agreed upon by the 193 member countries of the United Nations, were 17 precise goals broken up into 169 targets.

The goals, to be completed by 2030, are unified under the umbrella of sustainable development, with issues such as gender equality, ending extreme poverty, combating climate change, and ending hunger needing.

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