2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report

The global economic recession and financial turmoil from COVID-19 are derailing implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Even before the pandemic, the 2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the Inter-agency Task Force noted that there was backsliding in many areas. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, global financial markets have witnessed heavy losses and intense volatility. Particularly worrisome is the prospect of a new debt crisis. The FSDR highlights both immediate and longer-term actions, including arresting the backslide, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The FSDR calls for:


  • A globally coordinated stimulus package, including reversing the decline in aid and increased concessional finance.
  • To prevent a debt crisis:
    • Immediately suspending debt payments from poor countries. 
    • Beyond the crisis, reassess debt sustainability/revisit existing mechanisms.
  • To stabilize financial markets by continuing to inject liquidity:
    • In the medium-term, explore regulatory frameworks to limit over-borrowing for non-productive investments, such as repaying shareholders.
  • Partnering with the private sector:
    • In the short term, banks to roll over debt to SMEs and individuals that are cash strapped. 
    • In the medium-term, promote sustainable investment.
  • Building back better for sustainable development:
    • Public and private investment in sustainable development including in resilient infrastructure.
    • Strengthening social protection systems.
    • Investment in crisis prevention, risk reduction and planning.
    • Eliminate trade barriers and restrictions that affect supply chains.
  • Digital technologies present tremendous potential for the SDGs, but COVID-19 has underlined challenges and risks
    • Public policies should be adjusted to fully exploit their potential, while addressing exclusion and risks of discrimination, and ensuring benefits for society at large, including decent jobs.

The 2020 FSDR begins with an analysis of the extremely challenging global macroeconomic context (chapter I). The thematic chapter (chapter II) analyses financing sustainable development in an era of transformative digital technologies. The remainder of the report (Chapters III.A to III.G and IV) discusses progress in the seven action areas of the Addis Agenda, and presents policy options at the national and international level.

The 2020 FSDR is the fifth report on implementing the Financing for Development outcomes and the means of implementation of the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The assessment draws on the expertise, analysis and data from more than 60 agencies and international institutions that make up the Task Force, which is led by UN DESA and includes the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, UNCTAD and UNDP in leading roles.

2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report