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Session 10: Financing the SDGs


Financing the SDGs: what we need and how to do it


The UN Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2023,  which is titled ‘Financing Sustainable Transformations’, describes a growing divide between countries that can access affordable financing for development, and those that cannot. Without urgent ambitious action, this gap will translate into a lasting development deficit for many countries —and a crisis in global trust and solidarity. SDG financing needs are growing, but development financing is not keeping pace. Low levels of investment, particularly in many developing countries, are entrenching the development divide. Delaying investment in sustainable transformations would put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and climate targets out of reach and exacerbate financing challenges down the line. The UN Report calls on the international community to take advantage of this moment and undertake concerted efforts to finance the timely realization of the SDGs through: (i) immediate measures to scale up development cooperation and SDG investments; (ii) strengthening the international financial architecture; and (iii) national actions to accelerate sustainable industrial transformations, including through a new generation of sustainable industrial policies.

This session intends to respond to the following two key questions: (1) what has to change in order to increase the volumes of SDG financing?, and (2) how to increase such volumes? In recent years, much has been discussed, written, and promised about this matter. However, what has been put in practice is not enough. The panelists’ interventions will encourage specific effective and scalable actions to finance the SDGs, addressing the two key questions of the session. 


Christian Novak is Managing Partner of FMA where he provides consulting services to development finance institutions and other organizations involved in development financing, governments, and private impact investors. Christian is also a Professor of Practice at McGill University, where his works focus on development financing within the Institute for the Study of International Development. His previous experience includes senior emerging markets and global responsibilities in investment banks and in a leading regional development financial institution, in the areas of risk management and debt capital markets.

Presenters / Panellists:

Samantha Attridge, Senior Research Fellow of the Development and Public Finance team, ODI. Sam is a development finance expert specialising in mobilisation of private finance, blended finance, public development bank's (PDB's) and development finance institutions (DFI's) investment, whose work is widely referenced, and whose expertise is regularly sought by donors, DFIs, PDBs, international organisations and other external stakeholders. She possesses deep technical understanding and knowledge of blended finance principles and the use of donor funds to de-risk private investment; as well as the strategies, operations, and impact measurement and management of PDB and DFI investment. Before joining ODI, she headed up the Commonwealth’s Financing for Development (FFD) policy research, development and advocacy work and had policy and managerial responsibility for meetings of Commonwealth Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers and the Commonwealth’s engagement with the G20. Prior to this she was Deputy Director of Sovereign Debt Management and Capital Market Development consultancy at Crown Agents delivering technical assistance in sovereign debt, economic and public financial management. Samantha is also an ICAEW Chartered Accountant who qualified with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Geneviève Brown is Executive Director of the Innovative Finance program at GAC since September 2022. She is responsible for the programming in blended finance and for the sovereign loans program. Previous to that, Geneviève was Director of the Canadian Partnerships for Health and Nutrition. She was responsible for programming in global health with Canadian partners, including innovation programming with Grand Challenges Canada. Previous to this position Geneviève was in Morocco where she was Counsellor and Head of Cooperation. Since joining CIDA in 2003, Geneviève has held various positions working across Africa on donor coordination and harmonisation, institutional capacity assessments for budget support, and public financial management. She also worked at the Embassy of Canada in Dakar, Senegal.

Safia Gulamani, Chief Operating Officer at Convergence Blended Finance. Safia brings 10+ years of experience in finance, impact investing, and philanthropy and currently sits on the Investment Committee of Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds. Prior to Convergence, Safia was a consultant at Arabella Advisors in the firm's Washington, DC and New York offices. At Arabella, Safia specialized in impact investing and worked with a range of clients including institutional, family, and corporate foundations to provide education on impact investing, source and structure deals, and conduct due diligence. Safia also brings international experience from roles held with Accion International, United Nations Capital Development Fund, and the Clinton Foundation to her work at Convergence. Safia began her career working at Matson Driscoll & Damico, an international forensic accounting firm in Toronto. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner’s Graduate School of Public Service and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA).

Paul Horrocks, is Head of the Private Finance for Sustainable Development Unit at the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate. Paul is working on a number of initiatives aiming at encouraging greater private sector investment into developing countries, in particular on policies and approaches that governments can adopt in order to ensure that investments are aligned and impact achieved. Paul’s Team developed the Blended Finance concept around private sector mobilisation and the supporting Principles and Guidance for donors and the Community of Practice on Private Finance Sustainable Development. Paul has extensive experience in leadership positions having been a Senior Executive at the Australian Federal Treasury, working on the domestic infrastructure market as well as providing policy advice during Australia’s G20 presidency on international policy challenges.  Paul has over a decade of senior leadership at the European Institutions in Brussels, having worked on such key initiatives such as the deepening of European capital markets in response to the 2008 financial crisis.