Investment Needs to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Investment Needs to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Understanding the Billions and Trillions

Guido Schmidt-Traub, Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Nov 2015

In September 2015, governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030 in order to guide international cooperation in pursuit of ambitious quantitative goals. This paper reviews the role that global needs assessments play in supporting the SDGs and discusses common criticisms. The paper proposes an analytical framework for SDG needs assessments that translates the 17 SDGs into eight investment areas.

It also integrates investment needs for climate change adaptation and mitigation with the development needs for each investment area and introduces a preliminary score to assess the quality and suitability of needs assessment studies. Using this framework, published sector needs assessments are harmonized and consolidated, paying careful attention to differences in methodologies and assumptions. The share of private financing is estimated for each investment area, and overall investment needs are aggregated. The paper then explores the implications of economy - wide studies on synergies and trade-offs in financing the SDGs and outlines priorities and directions for future research.

This preliminary analysis of available sector studies shows that incremental spending needs in low- and lower-middle-income countries may amount to at least $ 1.4 trillion per year.

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