ECONOMICS MADE SIMPLE: Resource mobilisation for sustainable development goals

The year 2015 was a time during which 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations Summit in September 2015. These are the much-awaited post-2015 agenda after coming to end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There are a number of issues that can be discussed in the context of SDGs. These include, but not limited to the extent to which the SDGs are substantially different from the MDGs, possibilities of SDGs becoming a success, where MDGs have been a fiasco and much more.

In this article, the author discusses resource mobilisation for the SDGs. He draws from a paper he presented at a civil society organisations (CSOs) annual forum organised by the Foundation for Civil Society, where he chairs the body of directors.

17 Sustainable development Goals

In order to understand and appreciate resource mobilisation for the SDGs, it is important to understand these goals. There are 17 goals and 169 targets. These goals are to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Others are to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all and at all ages, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

Other more goals are to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation, reduce inequality within and among countries, make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Others are to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss, promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels and strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise global partnership for sustainable development.

Human resources for SGDs

Debate on resource mobilisation has tended to focus on financial resources only. The centrality of financial resources is highly acknowledged. However, we should not forget the sanctity of human resources and other resources such as time. Human resources is the best and most important resource for the implementation of all kinds of plans, including the SDGs. Given the nature of SDGs, human resources to implement them should be mobilised from all levels depending on the quality of this precious resource. They have to be mobilised from global, continental, sub-regional and country levels. Within a country like Tanzania they have to be mobilised from national, zonal, regional, district and down to household and individual levels.

Financial resources

The importance of financial resources in general and in the context of funding SDGs cannot be overemphasised. Implementation of the 17 goals and 169 targets will surely need a colossal amount of finance. At global level, financial resources will be at the tune of trillions of American dollars. The key question where these funds will come from. In what follows, possible sources of financial resources for MDGs are outlined.

Public domestic resources

At a country level such as Tanzania, there will be a need to fund some of the SGDs expenditure posts via domestic resources. Given the major sources of public finance in Tanzania, typically the main source will be tax revenue and to some extent non-tax revenue both at central and local government levels. This implies extra efforts and strategies in mobilising these resources. This is very important amidst the background of rather wide spread tax evasion and avoidance, illicit financial outflows and non-prudent public financial management. The crusade of President John Magufuli on these vices can rescue the situation.

Domestic private finance

The window of opportunity that has not been much used in funding public goods and services include the private sector window. With such new and emerging concepts and practices such as Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), one can see some SDGs funded via the private sector. The other possibility is funding through corporate social responsibilities of companies, funding through philanthropy and even through credit from financial institutions.

International public finance

SDGs stand a chance to be funded through international public finance as well. This is likely to take a form of official development assistance (ODA). Development partners are said to have pledged to increase ODA from about 0.1 per cent of their gross domestic product to about 0.7 per cent of the same as among the strategies of getting funds for SDGs. Similar to the domestic private finance, philanthropy, PPPs and credit from the international private sector are also options in funding SDGs.

Efforts made

At global level, there have been efforts to mobilise financial resources for the SGDs. These include, but not limited to a conference that was held in Addis Ababa in July 2015. Other efforts include establishing SDG Fund in 2014 by UNDP with an initial contribution from Spain. It is time for Tanzania to see how it will mobilise resources for SDGs.

The author is professor of economics and business at Mzumbe University Dar es Salaam Business School.

SOURCE: The Citizen