Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Overseas aid cuts imperil SDGs: UN chief

Recent deep cuts to overseas aid budgets by governments, will have direct, and negative impacts on the ability of the world to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN chief said Friday.

Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his concern over the fall in overseas development aid (ODA) following a meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board, which brought together the heads of 30 entities, to discuss ways of alleviating the crises holding back economic recovery from Covid, and boost the implementation of the SDGs, reports UNB.

He noted that the current "moment in history" had thrown up "cascading challenges" including a climate emergency, uneven economic recovery, and the triple crisis of food, energy and debt, all exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Guterres said a critical ingredient of the UN's ability to "rescue" the SDGs and provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance was "predictable and additional funding," underpinned by the commitment of nations to provide 0.7 percent of gross national income to overseas aid – a target adopted in a UN General Assembly resolution for advanced economies in 1970.

He said several countries have met, "and in some cases" gone beyond the threshold. "However, there are recent indications that other states are making deep cuts of ODA in a reversal of their commitment."

"This will have direct negative impacts on the achievements of the SDGs. This is alarming and I urge member states to reconsider, given the dire consequences for the vulnerable among us in these turbulent times," said Guterres.

He reiterated the UN's commitment to strengthened coordination in support of coherent national strategies for reaching the ambitious targets of the SDGs, agreed by 193 countries in 2015 – a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and make peace and prosperity accessible to all.

"At a time when global conflicts are at their highest levels since the creation of the United Nations, the evidence demonstrates that investing in development is the best way to prevent crises and maintain international peace, which remains the UN's central mission," said the UN chief.