Financing for sustainable development today is at a crossroads – according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), capacities for such financing are “under stress,” while financing needs are increasing. 

Ongoing discussions for the implementation of current sustainable development agenda takes place in a context of protracted crisis. Amid slow growth a decade post-2008 (noted in the April 2019 International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic outlook1), rising debt concerns are afoot, and multinational and transnational corporations (TNCs) have growing monopoly power and market concentration.2 

Growing inequalities is the trend, amidst so-called progress on eradicating extreme poverty and the millions still subsisting below USD 5.50 a day. Civil society, especially people’s organisations and movements at the forefront of struggles for rights and genuine development, are threatened with repressive state measures on pretexts of domestic security goals. 

For the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the “crisis of multilateralism” today is an outcome of Bretton Woods institutions’ adverse results (World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization), which necessitates global reforms away from the remaining neoliberal trend (and towards a “Global Green New Deal”).3 The climate crisis bears a renewed urgency while receiving cold shoulders from elite and corporate interests especially in the United States.