With ten years more to go to achieve the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals, we can’t afford the usual practice to mobilize massive investments to achieve the SDGs. With that in mind, UNDP Indonesia recently held the first UN Innovative Finance Day with fifty representatives from various UN agencies gathered to share best practices on how to close the USD 2.5 trillion financing gap on SDGs.
Opening the event, Resident Coordinator Ms. Anita Nirody encouraged agencies to explore avenues beyond regular finance sources, and called for an engagement with the private sector and make the shift towards investments aligned with the SDGs.
“We have to go through beyond the regular financial sources. A lot of private sectors might be a great partner in the future. The potential for Indonesia to unlock these financial resources, is massive, to help shift the investments towards the SDGs.“- Anita Nirody, UN RC
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Christophe Bahuet remarked that the event was a knowledge-sharing forum to build synergies between UN agencies.
“Information sharing on initiatives and coordination within UN agencies– build synergies, create cohesion without confusion is our main points today.”- Christophe Bahuet, UNDP RR
In Indonesia, UNDP and UNICEF have spearheaded several key initiatives in innovative finance. UNDP established the Innovative Finance Lab in 2018 which has tapped into financial resources such as Islamic finance, impact investing and green finance. It has also leveraged zakat funds through the blended finance scheme with UNDP/GEF funded projects and CSR funds from Bank Jambi for micro-hydro energy in rural villages in Sumatra, supporting the development of the world’s first sovereign Green Sukuk in 2018. It has also launched theiimpact accelerator program in collaboration with 500 Startups, and youth entrepreneurship initiative with Citi Foundation.
UNICEF has also tapped into private investment by acting as implementing partner in a Development Impact Bond scheme to tackle the issue of family separation via UBS Optimum and PKSAI which will be launched in the third quarter of 2020. It will while also collaborate with BAZNAS to fund sanitation projects for poor households in Aceh and West Nusa Tenggara.
Representatives from public and private stakeholders at the event shared their perspective on innovative finance for SDGs and the potential contribution of UN agencies. Ms. Dwi Irianti from the Ministry of Finance shared the success story of green Islamic finance initiatives such as the issuance of the first sovereign Green sharia-compliant bond (Green Sukuk) which raised USD 2 billion, as well as the 2019 issuance of the world’s first retail green sukuk.
Dr. Mohd Hasbi from BAZNAS—the national Islamic funds agency, utilized the BAZNAS Zakat fund to support UNDP’s mmicro-hydro energy power plant project in Jambi which has improved the access to electricity and improved the livelihoods of more than 4,000 people.
Mr. Ghozie Dalel of PT. SMI, a Special Mission Vehicles (SMV) under the Ministry of Finance mainly engaged in financing and preparing infrastructure projects, discussed the success of SDGs Indonesia One, a blended finance platform to raise funds from investors, donors, and philanthropists to be channeled to projects in Indonesia that support the achievement of SDGs. Ms. Shinta Kamdani, CEO of Sintesa Group, among the leading companies in private sector investment for SDGs, is setting up an impact fund to invest in SDGs-oriented startups, with the initial fund aims to reach USD 20 million. Ms. Siti Haron from Finterra, a cloud based financial services platform based in Malaysia, noted that the company has launched a waqf blockchain, where returns are used for social impact projects such as building schools and hospitals.
Forums such as the UN Innovative Finance Day are the keys to opening the door to the unexplored potential of innovative finance. With just ten years to go it is essential to galvanize resources to support Indonesia’s sustainable development.