Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, financing has been one of the key sticking points in delivering the goals by 2030—and the inequalities caused by the COVID-19 crisis have made this challenge even greater.
The pandemic recovery gap between countries is widening. While developed countries borrow and invest to shore up their economies, many developing countries sink deeper into a cycle of unsustainable debt, austerity, slowing growth, and growing poverty and hunger. New conflicts are also contributing to rising commodity prices, interest rates and inflation around the world, with the most vulnerable being hit the hardest.
To reverse this divergence and prevent a lost decade for sustainable development, wealthy countries must do more to overcome this "great finance divide." For example, rich countries spend 3.5 per cent of their public revenue to pay interest on debt, while poor countries spend more than five times that much.
To keep the promise of leaving no one behind, developing countries should be able to invest their money in infrastructure and public services, not have their money tied up in debt. To do so will require improving access to affordable financing, creating a fair and effective international tax system, and reducing sovereign debt burdens.