Progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has stalled and in some cases reversed, leaving a funding shortfall of up to US$137 trillion and raising the prospect of failure by the 2030 deadline. Despite a global spend of around $5 trillion in 2022 towards delivering the goals, the funding shortfall has remained stubbornly high and roughly constant compared to last year’s shortfall of up to $135 trillion. Whilst ongoing challenges including the Russian war in Ukraine and rampant global inflation have played a part, the escalating scale of the issues to be addressed is a key challenge. With only seven years now remaining to the 2030 deadline, meeting the goals will require a massive global effort to mobilize capital, resources and stakeholders on a scale never seen before, the report finds.

However, as the 2023 Capital as a Force for Good report demonstrates, there are proven solutions already being deployed across the public and private sector that have the potential to substantially achieve the 17 goals. Among these, policy implementation plays perhaps the most critical role and can account for nearly a third of the SDG’s underlying targets, with the public and private sector closing the remainder of the gap in almost equal measure, enabled by technology and the financing of all the solution areas. The global finance industry, which administers 88% of the world’s liquid capital, has an important role to play in this mobilization.

Many of these approaches, initiatives and solutions can be either scaled, replicated or harnessed to drive wider impact. The report identifies 15 such initiatives and approaches, which if they were scaled and implemented globally, could address 70% of the SDGs. Together they show progress is possible with sufficient global support, political alignment, and targeted deployment of additional capital.

The 2023 Capital as a Force for Good report, now in its fourth year, is based on extensive analysis and engagement with the world’s leading financial institutions, and is being published ahead of the high-level General Debate at this year’s UN General Assembly.