Common purpose, common future: transforming finance for sustainable development to combat the COVID-19 and climate crises

This new report from End Water Poverty and WaterAid, Common Purpose, Common Future, shows that the financing gaps for achieving universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (SDG 6) and Agenda 2030—although large—can nevertheless be met. However, the resurfacing of past problems of indebtedness signals that new solutions are needed, solutions which are not adhoc or biased towards short term interests and outcomes. Instead, the necessary funds should be raised and spent in ways which are affordable, green, inclusive and support the long-term strengthening of national systems necessary for the fulfillment of human rights for all: in short, genuinely sustainable finance. New resources can be raised from allocations of IMF Special Drawing Rights, a global phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, developing country debt cancellation, increases in grant-based Official Development Assistance and climate finance, action on tax evasion and off-shore tax havens, as well as new taxes on carbon emissions, financial transactions and wealth. Together these actions could lead to a transformation in public finance, which prioritises the SDGs each year through to 2030 and acts as a catalyst and complement to available domestic and international private finance. Crucially, they can deliver real progress on the SDGs and combatting COVID-19, without adding to a growing and unsustainable debt burden in developing countries.