17 Goals to Transform Our World

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

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why the SDGs matter | financing (incl. International Forum on "How to Mobilize Private Finance towards Funding the UN-SDGs? in the UN building) | homo humane


Why the SDGs Matter  
Why the SDGs Matter: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a global blueprint for dignity, peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future. A few years into the Agenda, we see how civil society, private sector, and governments are translating this shared vision into national development plans and strategies.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDG’s to transform our world. Governments, businesses and civil society together with the UN and the EU, which has committed to implement the SDGs both in its internal and external policies, have started to mobilize efforts to achieve the Agenda by 2030. Universal, inclusive and indivisible, the Agenda calls for action by all countries to improve the lives of people everywhere in order to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. And yet integrating these efforts remains a formidable challenge. If our leaders are ever to realize the world envisioned in the SDGs, they will need a roadmap for navigating the complex policymaking terrain.

More generally, each country will need to monitor its progress toward each SDG, and revise its approach as needed. This will require diligence from all policymakers. But the potential return on investment, not least a better planet for generations to come, is enormous.‘Project Syndicate’ published 6 June 2017 the article ‘A Scientific Method for the SDGs’, inspired by the ICSUorganized study of how different goals and targets relate to one another, and how an independent analytical framework was developed to help leaders prioritize policies within their own countries and came up with SDG-specific insights for world leaders to follow: A Guide to SDG Interactions: from Science to Implementation.

"We can build cities like Rome, New York, ….. or put a man on the moon and create microchips". Science could actually save the world, because it can help us solve our greatest health and development problems. Those problems are at the heart of the UN’s SDG’s. But comprehensiveness can come at the expense of effective action. Few people can actually name all of the SDGs, much less explain how every country can achieve them over the next 13 years. And some SDGs have reinforcing relationships, whereby achieving one will make it easier to achieve others or, conversely, some SDGs may be in conflict, if progress in one area comes at the expense of others.

“The problem is not so much a lack of initiatives as the Citizens of the World’s incapacity – our incapacity! - to collectively coordinate and constructively articulate the multitude of local, regional, national, continental, worldwide initiatives, action plans, roadmaps, research programmes and Sustainable Development Goals together for global planetary benefit creating further fragmentation and division. There is no solidarity. Suspicion prevails, trust is lost. This very lack of solidarity between citizens enforces the power of institutions creating a vicious circle” (Prof Vivian R.F. Linssen, International Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Research Centre)

Whether science really will save the world remains to be seen. But one thing we know is that scientists can point us in the right direction by putting the right questions. Attainment of the SDG’s will demand gigantic funds, sustainable innovative finance, values based banking. The UN is an intergovernmental organisation. It don’t have legal sanctional power if agreements are not fulfilled or undermined, e.g. when countries move production to abroad.

Can we use big data? How about teaching about sustainability in education? Is there sufficient coordination and supervision within the system of multi-level governance in order to achieve successful implementations? What indicators and how to measure progress? What do governments do for propaganda for the SDGs? Where can public and business address questions? How does policy reach society? Can capital flows be used more effectivily? Can those who loose be compensated?


A Conversation on International Financial Architecture Innovation and the Summit of the Future:

Reflecting upon the present Pact for the Future (UN) negotiations, as well as related discussions in the Executive Boards of the World Bank and IMF, this dialogue explored ways in which discussions on international financial architecture reform within New York and Washington, D.C. could be made more complementary, particularly in light of the generational opportunity provided by the 22-23 September 2024 Summit of the Future (where, for instance, Chapters 1 and 5 of the summit’s chief outcome document, the “Pact for the Future”, was spoken to how a strengthened and innovated World Bank and IMF can help countries to better deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).

This event was convened by the Stimson Center (in connection with its 35th anniversary commemoration) and timed to coincide with the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings (15-21 April 2024).



In 2002, the International Conference on Financing for Development, which issued the Consensus, brought over 50 heads of state and an unprecedented number of finance and other ministers together to agree on the first international framework for financing development. A follow-up process has continued through intergovernmental negotiations to build on and update commitments, including the Second Global Conference on Financial for Development in Doha in 2008 and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa in July 2015. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda created a new Financing for Development Forum under ECOSOC, which Council is charged with reviewing follow-up to the landmark Monterrey Consensus (*) on financing for development.
UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL published the Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2019 – 2021. Two thousand and fifteen was a landmark year for multilateral agreements. The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change provide a pathway for a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable future. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) establishes a blueprint to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by providing a global framework for financing sustainable development that aligns all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities. This year, 2019, is a defining year for the next, bolder and more urgent phase of implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

The upcoming ‘decade of action’ (2020 – 2030) requires significant public and private investment to bring the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement to life for all people, everywhere.

Financing for sustainable development is available, given the size, scale and level of sophistication of the global financial system — with gross world product and global gross financial assets estimated at over US$ 80 trillion and US$ 200 trillion respectively. However, available finance is not channeled towards sustainable development at the scale and speed required to achieve the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement.
The financing gap to achieve the SDGs in developing countries is estimated to be US$ 2 .5 – 3 trillion per year
, while coal-fired capacity has grown by 92,000MW, with another 670,000MW in the pipeline, driven by investments of over US$ 478 billion by the financial industry since signature of the Paris Agreement.

At the same time, global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) have fallen by 23 per cent in 2017,5 and private investments in SDG-related infrastructure in developing countries were lower in 2018 than in 2012.

Investments in sustainable development are growing in some areas and countries, and there is evidence that investing in the SDGs makes economic sense, with estimates highlighting that achieving the SDGs could open up US$ 12 trillion of market opportunities and create 380 million new jobs, and that action on climate change would result in savings of about US$ 26 trillion by 2030. The SDGs are increasingly incorporated into public budgets and development cooperation, and many countries have taken steps to ‘green’ their financial systems. Green bond issuance has increased tremendously — from US$ 2 .6 billion in 2012 to US$ 167 billion in 2018; innovative SDG-related financial instruments are unlocking new sources of finance; and the digitalization of finance is demonstrating its potential to improve the mobilization and utilization of funds for the SDGs. Financial industry regulators are increasingly acknowledging the potential implications of climate-related risks on financial stability, and global sustainable investments — at US$ 30 trillion in the five major developed markets in 2018 — is reportedly on the rise. This highlights a growing recognition by the financial industry in the value of long-term sustainable investing and the importance of considering climate-related risks into investment decision-making . However, sustainable investments represent only a small share of the US$ 200 trillion in global private sector financial assets. The lack of common definitions, standards, and impact measurements, as well as the fact that reported sustainable investments do not necessarily represent investing in real assets but also in financial assets, mean that such numbers should be treated with care. Similarly, the strong growth in green bond issuance still only represents about 2 .5 per cent of total bonds issued globally.

Channeling available finance towards the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement are constrained by a range of challenges including:
  • A difficult global context characterized by uneven economic growth and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption that do not reflect the full costs of negative externalities; rising inequality, debt levels and trade tensions; political polarization; and the devastating impacts of conflict and climate change, especially for most vulnerable.
  • Limited fiscal space and institutional capacity to formulate a pipeline of bankable SDG investment projects, and weak financial systems, notably in countries most at risk of being left behind.
  • Misaligned incentives and regulations, limited awareness, and difficulties in identifying, measuring and reporting on sustainable investments, which impede private investment in the SDGs at scale.

The United Nations (UN) has a long history of supporting Member States on financing for development, including through intergovernmental processes, technical and programmatic expertise, partnership-building, thought leadership and knowledge sharing. In order to enhance the UN’s critical role in supporting and accelerating finance for sustainable development, the Secretary-General released his Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2018 .

The Strategy is designed to transform the financial system from global to local levels in support of the 2030 Agenda by addressing the barriers that constrain channeling finance towards sustainable development, and leveraging opportunities to increase investments in the SDGs at scale .

the outcome of the 2002 Monterrey Conference, the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. It was adopted by Heads of State and Government on 22 March 2002. Over fifty Heads of State and two hundred Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Development and Trade participated in the event. Governments were joined by the Heads of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO), prominent business and civil society leaders and other stakeholders. New development aid commitments from the United States and the European Union and other countries were made at the conference. Countries also reached agreements on other issues, including debt relief, fighting corruption, and policy coherence. Since its adoption the Monterrey Consensus has become the major reference point for international development cooperation. The document embraces six areas of Financing for Development (FfD):

1. Mobilizing domestic financial resources for development.
2. Mobilizing international resources for development: foreign direct investment and other private flows.
3. International Trade as an engine for development.
4. Increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development.
5. External Debt.
6. Addressing systemic issues: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development.



In the conference building of the UN, CIFA (Convention of Independent International Advisors, protecting and defending the interests of Independent Financial Advisors, at national and international levels, by creating a unique network of resources) organized the XVIIth International Forum on "How to Mobilize Private Finance towards Funding the UN-SDGs?" The 17th CIFA International Forum was held on 6 – 7 May 2019 in cooperation with ECOSOC and G77 at the United Nations in New York.

In his opening statement Jean-Pierre Diserens, Secretary-General of CIFA stressed that, thanks to the collaboration with ECOSOC and G77 it was the first time for CIFA to meet in New York. He further urged participants to have a frank and open discussion on how CIFA can assist the UN on reaching its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The meeting addressed 6 major themes including:

I. Fighting poverty is big business. But, who profits the most?
Answers to that question were not clear cut. But it was clear that besides aid, there is need to allow developing countries to have access to trade, use their own national resources, and authorize the return of funds sent abroad to their countries of origin.

II. Financing for development (FFD)
FFD is at the root of UN priorities for financing the 2030 Agenda and needs to be reinforced.

III. “One world for all: empowering people to build equal and inclusive societies” “addressing inequalities and challenges to inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies”
to fight, persistent unemployment, stagnating wages, rising cost of health.

IV. Global financial system regulation and the impending need to finance the United Nations’ SDGs
Initiatives at the international and European levels, as well as calls and declarations have been made, but this remains insufficient

V. Taxation and SDGs
How to achieve the SDGs through a tax system aimed at enhancing private wealth creation? It was observed that income taxes are a major source of revenue; however Tax authorities rely less and less on top earners

VI. Quantum politics and SDGs
The paths in funding the SDGs are changing, and the new geopolitical arena is rewriting the rules towards achieving the SDGs. The meeting was well attended with a variety of thinkers and doers: UN Officials, Diplomats, Academia, Business, Independent financial advisors, NGOs

PanSlovenian Shareholders Association commented: The United Nation Organization (UN) in New York, USA, hosted the conclusion of the 17th International Forum of the Convention of Independent Financial Advisors (CIFA), this time titled "How to mobilize private finance towards funding the Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)?"

The high profile conference, organized in cooperation with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was attended by numerous prominent guests, decision makers, business persons, representatives of diplomacy, international organizations, universities and institutes as well as financial consultants and other renowned experts from around the world. More than 150 eminent guests at the gala reception and sponsor dinner at the famous Metropolitan Club in New York, USA were also addressed by the VZMD President and member of the European Federation of Investors (Better Finance), Mr. Kristjan Verbič. He welcomed the CIFA and UN initiative, and expressed support for the efforts to mobilize private finance towards funding the sustainable development goals (SDG), designed under the aegis of the UN. In these efforts, he has also undertaken to establish cooperation between the European and the World Federation of Investors (WFI), and highlighted some additional proposals from the experience of the VZMD and its international business-investor programs. He also presented the latter at yesterday's meeting at the UN palace and in an interview.

The two-day conference brought together influential participants and high guests from all over the world, including Chantal Line Carpentier, UNCTAD (UN Conference on Trade & Development), Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Ambassador to the UN, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Joe Oliver, former Minister of Natural Resources and former Minister of Finance (see the photos from page 26 in the magazine Trusting).

Debate focused especially on the urgency and the processes to mobilize private finance towards funding the sustainable development goals, the struggle to eradicate poverty, limiting the causes and consequences of climate change, the G77 group and the ECOSOC designed program for funding development (FfD Forum), encouraging people to build an equal and inclusive society, regulating global financial systems, taxation and related funding for the SDGs.

During the intensive events, the VZMD President participated in numerous other meetings and discussions, including with the Director of the UN Division for Inclusive Social Development, Ms. Daniela Bas, the Director of the UN Financing for Sustainable Development Office, Mr. Navid Hanif, and the Slovene Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent UN Representation, Mr. Miha Erman, and on Sunday, he also attended the reception at the Millennium Hotel near the UN palace. The VZMD has been working successfully with the CIFA, the influential Geneva, Switzerland-based international foundation, for many years, and in 2016 Mr. Verbič was an invited speaker at the highly visible 14th CIFA forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Metropolitan Club

closing dinner

"Yesterday, I heard the name Adam Smith and am happy with that. Adam Smith argued that a moral framework and cooperation are essential for a successful society. 250 Years later, we landed in financial crisis and in air pollution. But we can also build cities like Rome and New York or put a man on the moon and create microchips.

In the current era, we are living in several worlds; a world of modern humanism, a world turning more Hobbesian and a world of ethnic distancing and religious separatism. To achieve the SDGs, modern humanism along with a free market economy and a liberal economic model is the most eligible to meet the broadest needs of the people. But this is still not enough. What lacks we discussed last 2 days. Capital will flow where it is wanted and stay where it is well treated", Walter Wriston wrote. Investors want to invest where there is trust, future expectations and sufficient return on equity. In this juncture, ESG is an additional factor of importance

"It's to consider to include the SDGs in the Blockchain ecosystem. Moreover, to couple to the securities exchange and to separated stock market indexes and listings."

Data ecosystems, a stepping stone for Sustainable Development Goals: AI for Good is presented as a year round digital platform where AI innovators and problem owners learn, build and connect to help identify practical AI solutions to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


“There had to be a mistake in the belief that the free market can better regulate itself than any government supervision would do”

(Alan Greenspan, 2008 for a committee of the US Congress).


In the early modern era, there was a period of conflict between kings and parliament, overseas trade and of materialism, utilitarianism, revolution, homo economicus, who is out to satisfy needs in an efficient, rational or logical manner. This era was characterized by rapidly accelerating scientific discovery and invention, wars and revolutions, capitalism and economic liberalism, theories that assume that the satisfaction of needs by calculating individuals will bring about the best social-economic organization.

It was also in this era where Adam Smith, moral philosopher / political economist, examined the nature and causes of wealth.
It was a period of social change; slavery was abolished, and the Second Industrial Revolution led to massive urbanization and much higher levels of productivity, profit and prosperity. European imperialism brought much of Asia and almost all of Africa under colonial rule. During at the end of this era, Stuart Mill (philosopher economist) focused on empiricism, utilitarianism, classical liberalism: each and every single person or society should be his own leader. Human happiness (Happy Planet Index) and liberty is served when we as individuals have sovereignty


The time of the rise of neoliberalism

The 20th century was a strange and confusing century of wars, technological changes, youth cultures, individualism and postmodernism. In 1920, Keynes described in “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” the era of the first globalization with the words:

What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man was that age which came to an end in August 1914. … The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea, the various products of the whole earth, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep. Militarism and imperialism of racial and cultural rivalries were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper.”

Keynes became known through the book ‘The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money’, published in 1936. It was the time of the rise of neoliberalism, a theory of politico-economic action, according to which human welfare is best served by the liberation of private freedom and skill of enterprise, within an institutional framework of highly private property, free markets and free trade and with a role of the government to create and maintain such a framework. The economic theory behind neoliberalism initially stems from the monetarism that the Chicago economists adhered to in the 1970s, which has two key points:

  1. valuation by supply and demand. This also applies to labor, so that its market value is the real value;
  2. the efficiency of the free market. The expectation was that a market without government intervention would automatically come into equilibrium and come to full employment, because the market does not tolerate waste. Inflation was only expected from government intervention.

Capitalist values lived on through the dissemination of libertarian ideas, in particular through the highly popular novel of Ayn Rand’s bestseller Atlas Shrugged, “a capitalist manifesto” that depicts a utopian picture of capitalist, transforming society as a whole and reduce all interpersonal relations to money trade in contrast to human capital, the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value (World Bank, World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work).