Debate | Financing the SDGs: Global vs Local Public Goods. New contribution after the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development


Ambassador and Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Michael Gerber and Luca Etter, Policy Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), join our debate on financing the SDGs. Both actively participated in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa where the UN member states agreed on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). The authors argue that the AAAA is an ambitious road map for transforming the way finance is currently allocated and hence for setting the world on a more sustainable path.

The initial paper takes the form of a structured interview with Inge Kaul, conducted by Graduate Institute Research Fellow Robin Davies, on the topic of Global vs. National Public Goods in the post-2015 international development framework. Kaul argues that for the good of developing countries and the world as whole, support from developed countries for the provision of global public goods (GPGs), such as climate change mitigation and communicable disease surveillance and control, should be conceived as an international extension of their domestic policies. Financing for GPGs constitutes payment for services rendered, not aid. Likewise, primary responsibility for the production of GPGs should rest with issue- and outcome-oriented ‘tsars’ at both the national and global levels, rather than with overstretched treaty- or country-oriented multilateral organisations. It follows from this that the distinction within the SDG framework between global and national goals is not merely one of level, but one of kind. Global goals call for distinctive financing and implementation arrangements.

Initial contribution: 

Inge Kaul, Adjuct Professor Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, in dialogue with Robin Davies, Research Fellow, Graduate Institute, Geneva, Financing the Sustainable Development Goals: A Global Public Goods Perspective

Reaction and analysis:

Robert Glasser, Executive-in-Residence, Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Michael Gerber, Ambassador and Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs with Luca Etter, Policy Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Download the whole debate

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