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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged both public and private sectors to provide $500 billion per year in affordable, long-term financing to aid developing countries. This call to action was made during the eighth World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which centers on investment challenges faced by developing nations in the current global context.

Guterres appealed to heads of state, ministers, business leaders, private sector executives, and experts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals Stimulus Package and work towards delivering the annual $500 billion investment for developing countries.

He also called for carbon pricing by governments and the implementation of credible net-zero plans by companies, aligning with recommendations from high-level expert groups on net-zero emissions commitments for non-state entities.

Moreover, the ‘Global Leaders Investment Summit 2023’ addressed the $4 trillion SDG investment gap, as only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track to be met by 2030, with the investment gap in the developing world growing from $2.5 trillion per year in 2015 to $4 trillion at present. The summit highlighted the staggering $6 trillion valuation of the sustainable finance market.

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, stressed that not enough funds are being allocated to essential sectors like renewable energy, water and sanitation infrastructure, agriculture, and healthcare.

She pointed out that only 5% of all sustainable funds are located in developing countries, citing a misallocation of funds.

Leaders at the forum, including Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, discussed strategies to close the SDG investment gap, mobilize sustainable finance in global capital markets, ensure sustainability standards in sustainable finance, and allocate more funds to where they are most needed.

International coordination and blended finance involving both public and private sectors were emphasized, including the involvement of sovereign wealth funds.

The forum also addressed critical sectors like the just energy transition and offered insights from countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, and Vietnam. With a theme centered on ‘Investing in Sustainable Development,’ the forum aligns with the forthcoming global climate change talks at COP28. A dedicated track within the forum will focus on advancing climate finance and investment, providing a platform for policymakers to find solutions and support global climate negotiations.

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