Financing needs for sustainable development are enormous ($ 17 trillion), but small compared to global financial assets ($ 218 trillion in 2012). Redirecting a small percentage of these assets toward sustainable development could have an enormous impact. Domestic and external sources, including both public and private flows, have to be mobilized. These should be regarded as complements, not substitutes as each has unique objectives and attributes.
Despite improvements in recent years, there is still a significant gap between developed and developing countries in their capacity to raise domestic revenues. Official Development Assistance (ODA) remains critical especially for countries in special situations.
Public policies and sources of revenue are critical both to address market failures and to raise resources for financing long‐term investments in infrastructure, high risk investments such as innovation and new technologies, other global public goods, as well as merit goods like social protection and basic education. Private financing can be increased and directed towards stable, long-term investments through an enabling environment and the right market incentives both nationally and internationally. A comprehensive financing strategy will need to integrate all dimensions of sustainable development and merge the separate tracks of conventional development finance and environmental finance (e.g. carbon emissions trading). A working group on “Financing for sustainable development” has been established by the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda to address these challenges, and provide information to the ongoing deliberations on the Post-2015 Agenda as well as background work for the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.