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Finance professions urge UK leadership on SDGs

by Paul Morgan

Finance and accounting professionals have issued an open letter, warning that progress towards meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is severely lagging. The letter, signed by esteemed organizations such as the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), emphasizes that only 12% of the targets have been met at the halfway point to the 2030 deadline. Moreover, over 50% of the targets show weak progress, while 30% have either stalled or regressed.

The open letter was published in conjunction with the UN’s SDG summit in New York, demonstrating the urgent need for action. Accounting and finance professionals have a unique vantage point in understanding the costs of inaction to businesses and organizations. Their expertise makes them firsthand witnesses to the potential consequences of failing to address sustainable development challenges.

Taking decisive action, the letter argues, is not solely about improving the lives of millions of people but also about safeguarding our future economic prosperity and business resilience. By tackling the existing gaps in SDG achievement, we can build a more sustainable and resilient global economy.

The open letter has gained significant support from several influential organizations in the finance and accounting industry. Signatories include the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and the Association of International Accountants. This diverse coalition of professionals demonstrates the widespread recognition within the industry that urgent action is required to address the SDG gaps.

Highlighting the substantial funding required to achieve the SDGs, the letter references research conducted by the Force for Good initiative. According to their report titled “Capital as a Force for Good: Solutions to Close the SDG Gap,” approximately $5 trillion was spent globally on SDG delivery last year. However, to meet the goals in their entirety, an additional $137 trillion in funding must be secured. This represents an increase of $2 trillion from the previous year’s estimate.

The funding gap identified by the Force for Good initiative serves as a stark reminder that financial resources are crucial for the successful implementation of the SDGs. It also underscores the need for collaborative efforts between governments, businesses, and financial institutions to mobilize the necessary funds.

The finance and accounting community, alongside other key stakeholders, must step up to address the current state of SDG progress. They possess the knowledge and expertise required to spur action and ensure effective sustainable development. By working together, we can bridge the funding gap and accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.

In conclusion, the open letter issued by finance and accounting professionals emphasizes the need for urgent action to meet the SDGs. The stark statistics presented in the letter, coupled with the substantial funding gap, underscore the importance of collaboration and decisive measures. By harnessing the expertise of finance and accounting professionals, we can work towards a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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