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Who funds the trillion dollar plan of the U.N.’s new global goals?

Public Policy

As world leaders brandish a hard-fought new set of global goals designed to improve lives in all countries, the question of who foots the trillion-dollar bill remained open on Saturday as financial pledges started rolling in.

The United Nation’s 193 member countries on Friday adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap to end poverty and hunger, fight inequality and conquer climate change over the next 15 years, or 800 weeks.

The goals tackling issues in both rich and poor countries replace an earlier U.N. action plan, the Millennium Development Goals, which focused mainly on poverty in developing nations.

While aid funds and debt relief were key for the millennium goals, there is wide recognition of the need for other sources for the estimated $3 trillion a year needed to enact the SDGs.

The World Bank, with other development banks, coined the phrase “Billions to Trillions” to illustrate the challenge.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria said private sector participation was critical while governments need to strengthen tax and regulatory systems to encourage investment.

“Without the private sector, it is not going to happen, as we have budgetary constraints in every country,” Gurria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

“You’ll have a lot of pledges but you’ll need a framework to allow the flows (of finance) to then happen naturally.”

A July conference in Addis Ababa addressing SDG funding issues made clear that private sector as well as philanthropic foundations had a major role to play, with private enterprise the main source of economic growth and job creation, outsizing donor nation funds.

Meanwhile the world’s richest nations again committed to a target of earmarking 0.7 percent of gross national income for overseas development assistance – although few meet that level in practice – which now stands at about $135 billion a year.

Pledges of funding started to roll in during the U.N. three-day SDG summit that ends on Sunday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced more than $25 billion in initial commitments over five years from 40 countries and more than 100 international organizations to help end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents.

Contributions to boost funding for gender equality powerment included $5 million from Chinese e-commerce giant the Alibaba Group and $1 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled an initial pledge of $2 billion with aims to increase that to $12 billion by 2030.

Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said the agenda would not be achieved without business – and that meant ensuring stability and good governance in countries to support big partnerships.

“Business is attracted to where there is a solid and able environment and basic rule of law, commercial law, dispute resolution, peaceful and inclusive societies,” said Clark, the former New Zealand prime minister.

“For us, it’s fundamentally not about financial contributions that business makes to U.N. agencies. It’s about shared values … the way business does business. Is it inclusive, and is it sustainable?”

Centerpiece to funding talks has been a focus on helping countries boost their domestic resources by improving tax collection and attacking tax evasion and illicit cash flows.

While some criticize this as tinkering with a broken global tax system, Gurria said SDG funding does not need new initiatives but can build on and improve existing structures.

He called for a team of “tax inspectors without borders” to build trust in countries’ systems and boost investment.

“If you get it right, you can get trillions,” Gurria said.

But it is agreed that funding alone was not enough to achieve the global goals, with policy changes needed to support the priorities.

Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative which analyzes countries’ progress on social measures, said economic growth alone would not meet the SDGs, which deal with subjects ranging from energy subsidies to developing genebanks.

“The SDGs are about political will and inclusion,” Green told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We have the resources if we use them properly for this is not just about money.”



15 Comments on "Who funds the trillion dollar plan of the U.N.’s new global goals?"

  1. onlooker on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 8:02 pm 

    I see they have run out of any ideas that would work, because none would work. So they show their true colors the oligarchs and say oh dont worry we will make sure we collect the taxes. Hahahaha. From who from the destitute. The deeper you go down this rabbit hole the more detached from reality you get.

  2. peakyeast on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 8:18 pm 

    At best a hoax – at worst a scheme at total surveillance and forced redistribution of monetary wealth.. As if that will provide us with more fish in the oceans, more animals in the wild, lessen polution and, of course, mitigate overpopulation..

    Truly a worthy plan.

    Not that I am against chasing tax evaders, but it is not even close to a solution to ANYTHING.

  3. penury on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 8:32 pm 

    Not even a whiff of reality. If the money existed,there is still no way anything will work, homo sapiens are in the last throes of over population. Care for your group and I hate to say it, stop reading about Syria or the E U. It is too late.

  4. apneaman on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 9:13 pm 

    Abby Martin & Chris Hedges: War, Propaganda and the Enemy Within

  5. makati1 on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 9:28 pm 

    Onlooker/peaky/penury/Ap, you are all so correct! The tax bases are shrinking in most countries today. The ability to fund anything but survival is in question. But the US still prints a trillion plus per year to fund it’s wars of domination. I wonder how long that can last before it too will collapse from the world no longer placing value in USDs?

    Focus on yourself and your future as nothing is going to stop the direction we are headed. Nothing.

  6. Davy on Sat, 26th Sep 2015 9:37 pm 

    Sustainable development goals are wonderful ideas in the abstract like so many other wonderful abstract ideas we modern humans have but will never be realized. It is like and angel with iron wings. It reminds me of religious talk with lofty ideas that get damp and limp when they get exposed to reality.

    We have sustainable development goals at the same time we have climate change goal. Both goals are contradictory one requires growth and one requires degrowth. That sounds like paralysis to me. Since real growth is likely much lower than published growth the reality is we are barely able to afford what we have.

    There is no new real physical wealth to throw at these SDR ideas. The kind of resources that are needed to accomplish these goals are beyond what the system is capable of. Look at what China did for how many millions then apply that to the rest of the world. We are just not able to make it happen. We dam sure cannot do another 10 years of China style development. The earth can’t take one China let alone another.

    We could consider wealth transfer. Let’s shake down the rich then. Well, the rich are truly not rich. They are for the most part paper rich with some nice stuff. Their real wealth is mansions, planes, cars, and assorted things filling up these wealth vehicles. To shake down the rich all these things would need to be liquidated. Who is going to buy these things if the rich are being shaken down? Who will buy their art and collectables? We know all their financial wealth is illusionary. We could get some precious metals out of them. Maybe some huge farms are something. There is a portion that could be expropriated but nowhere near their reported net worth.

    My point is the system is brittle and unable to bend. The only option we have is wealth transfer because we no longer have real global growth. Wealth transfer is disruptive. If you disrupt the system you reduce its ability to generate economic activity to fund the very people you are trying to help. This is a catch 22 at this point. To help these people you must transfer wealth and the transferring of wealth disrupts the system and reduces economic activity which actually makes the situation worse.

    Our goals need to be extremely modest. They must be goals of mitigation and adaptation. Wealth transfer should be a part of it but the extent of wealth transfer would be minimal. My idea of wealth transfer is eliminate poor lifestyles. This would have to include poor lifestyles from all economic levels to be effective.

    The biggest key to all this is preparations for a descent that will bring all wealth levels down significantly. The preparations should be mental and physical. Mental goals would be to educate people on the hardships ahead. Physical goals would be structures to house feed and care for large amounts of displaced people. Yes, folks pre-constructed refugee camps preferably camps that will produce some of their food. You basically create a global hospices.

    How about those goals folks. I can see everyone clapping their hands for this well thought out descent plan. The reality is no goals are attainable. Any goals talked about are just for intellectual consumption. No preparations will be made for a descent. Most efforts will be counterproductive because they will assume a status quo environment.

    You can’t lift people out of poverty if everyone is heading into poverty. You are playing tooth fairy. We are not kids anymore. We have to face the oncoming die off as adults and care for the kids and dependents as best we can.

    This is truly as tragedy when you have something like the UN not acknowledging something as simple as a coming collapse. This could be a long drawn out collapse but if we continue like no collapse is coming it may become a sharp violent collapse with few survivors. The choice is ours and time is running out.

  7. onlooker on Sun, 27th Sep 2015 4:14 am 

    Davy, they (TPTB) will never ever acknowledge collapse even after it happened they would not. That is who and what they are.

  8. Davy on Sun, 27th Sep 2015 6:58 am 

    Onlooker, there is little if any chance society will alter its narrative of growth and development through increased efficiency and knowledge. Technological exceptionalism is the name of the game. Society will listened to you if you are an economist, an inventor, and or technological guru with any kind of solution real or imagined.

    The doomer creed of common sense, reality, and humility based on multiple scientific findings are not part of the society’s narrative. Society takes these multiple scientific findings which it can’t deny but then applies technological solutions along with economic theory to explain them away. It is a common trick one plays of acknowledging the problems which you cannot deny then using faulty reasoning to offer solutions that are little more than fantasy. Humans love magic and miracles.

    There is also plenty of upfront denial. We know economics is a mind game. We know climate change deniers are either anti-science or religious illiterates. Far too many meaningful solutions to problems are interfered with by religious illiteracy. By that I mean putting religious thinking in place of scientific understanding. There is also just the simple it is bad for my business, my nation, or not in my backyard local denial. If something is paying my bills it is hard to admit it is wrong and must stop.

    Adding all these denial mechanisms together you get a species that is more engaged in denial then in reality. A species with the ability to destroy but without the ability to acknowledge right from wrong when it is inconvenient.

    We are the most dangerous animals to ever roam the world. If one looks at our species from a distance and out of our skin we should be eliminated from the world from a practical standpoint. If we had another species we competed with and the same attributes we would eliminate it.

  9. onlooker on Sun, 27th Sep 2015 7:31 am 

    Their is one word Davy, that I think best describes the narrative of the human species up to the present as you noted humility or in this case its absence HUBRIS.

  10. Kenz300 on Sun, 27th Sep 2015 9:54 am 

    Endless population growth is not sustainable.

    Around the world we can find a food crisis, a water crisis, a declining fish stocks crisis, a Climate Change crisis, an unemployment crisis and an OVER POPULATION crisis.

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

  11. marko on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 3:50 am 


  12. Kenz300 on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 9:07 am 

    Over fishing and Climate Change……..endless population growth is straining the resources of the planet…….

    Ocean Fish Populations Cut In Half Since The 1970s: Report

  13. zoidberg on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 10:15 am 

    Tax inspectors without borders. Now do we see why climate change is a cover for a lets steal everyone’s money? You thought you escaped the matrix learning about peak oil, but it’s wheels within wheels. Question conventional wisdom. You already know how.

  14. zoidberg on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 10:20 am 

    If they got the trillions it won’t be spent on sustainability and the poor or the environment. It’s just going to be stolen.

  15. BC on Mon, 28th Sep 2015 11:24 am 

    zoid, right. As LTG become entrained globally and tax receipts and spending decline per capita, the banksters and the gov’ts they own at all levels will resort to all manner of schemes to extract blood from stones and turnips, including additional nickel-and-dime fees, garnishing, confiscation, liens, etc.

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