As we enter the Decade of Action, sustainable development in the 21st century needs investment, not just pledges and giving—given the scale of the social, environmental, health, urban, and economic challenges that we face today. There is a need for innovative financing mechanisms and financial solutions that create scalable and effective ways of channeling funds from private sources, financial markets, philanthropists, foundations, companies, and other sources to help solve pressing global development and humanitarian challenges.
UN-Habitat recognises the urgent need to close the financing gap, estimated at USD$5.6 trillion, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Crucially, 65% of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked to urban development. Cities will have to accommodate 2.5 billion more inhabitants by 2050, when it is estimated that 68% of the world’s population will live in cities.3 90% of this urban growth will occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
At a meeting of foundations on 20 October 2020, there was overwhelming support to establish a Foundation and Philanthropy Platform to structure the engagement of foundations to jointly develop solutions to advance achievement of the urban dimensions of the SDGs. During the meeting, it was agreed to create a working stream on Innovative Finance for Urban development and another on entrepreneurship. This document will outline the objectives, outputs and propose a roadmap for first work stream in innovative finance for sustainable urban development.