Press Release
Credits Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Combined Cycle Thermo-Solar Power Plant. | Photo Dana Smillie / World Bank
Published on March 1, 2021

UN Rallies Towards Wall Street with Launch of Historic SDG Investment Portfolio

Today, the United Nations Joint SDG Fund announces a US$41 million portfolio to catalyze strategic financing to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The allocation expands the Joint SDG Fund’s investments to date to US$223 million, encompassing programming in 112 countries for Integrated Social Protection and SDG Investments.

Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi and Uruguay were selected from 155 proposals from over 100 country applicants across the globe. UN Country Teams, in partnership with Governments, engaged senior finance experts to create in-depth approaches and solutions to SDG acceleration. Convergence Blended Finance led the evaluation process with participation from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Rockefeller Foundation, Bamboo Capital, among others.

Our dream is to bring together Wall Street and the rapidly increasing focus on ESG, impact investing, and investor excitement on the SDGs. The Joint SDG Fund is the vehicle to make this dream a reality. The Fund provides catalytic grants to unlock private capital towards blended financing of SDG investments.” Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations

Each of the four programmes combine public and private money to invest in achieving the SDGs. Fiji will conserve and protect coastal reefs, marine life ecosystems while empowering local communities who rely on reefs for their survival. Indonesia will create a new generation of financial products to combat climate change by transitioning towards low impact energy and empowering the creation of women led small businesses. Malawi will reduce poverty, hunger and inequality by creating jobs and supporting small businesses in the country’s severely undercapitalized agricultural sector. Uruguay will combat climate change by helping transition the country's transportation and industry sectors to green energy while reducing poverty and providing affordable access to innovative clean technologies. These four programmes alone are anticipated to leverage an estimated US$4.7 billion in additional finance.

Thanks to the support of the Joint SDG Fund, the UN team is better equipped to support the alignment of private investments to the SDGs, through the establishment of a national ecosystem for impact investment. Without a doubt, it changes the way we work.” Mireia Villar Forner, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uruguay

The Joint SDG Fund is also developing an impact-first portfolio of 12 additional countries that will receive support to further develop their proposals, including access to global SDG financing leaders in commercial banks, impact investing firms, development finance institutions and access to tailored coaching programmes.

The portfolio will focus on diverse country typographies and impact areas: four Small Island Developing States, five Least Developed Countries and one Fragile State. In Kenya, an impact bond will finance sexual and reproductive health for adolescents. Suriname will develop its pineapple value chain to be more sustainable and affordable while Rwanda will fund health clinics powered by solar panel energy impacting the lives of people in rural communities and creating employment.

“Our model fosters blended finance and a joint effort in the public and private sector, where corporates play an active role, beyond the provision of cash. The private sector can improve the sustainability of the impacts in the longer term. For this, we need cooperation with the leaders in development.” Marie-Laure Bourat, Co-Founder of Social Impact Solutions at Société Générale

These diverse projects all have one critical element in common, their ability to leverage multi-million dollar grants from the Joint SDG Fund into billions for sustainable development and shift the conversation from funding to financing to advance equitable solutions.

With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Kingdom of Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and our private sector funding partners, this milestone marks a transformative movement to achieving the SDGs by 2030.