A Message from Co-Chair Achim Steiner

The digital revolution is transforming everything about our financial lives. How people conduct daily financial transactions, and financial institutions manage their operations. How investors identify, analyze, and mitigate risks, and make investment decisions. The ways that financial and capital markets work, and the fundamentals of financial policy, regulation and standards.

Digitalization of the world’s financial systems is happening fast and has profound implications for us all. Those implications will depend ultimately on who shapes it and to what ends.

The United Nations wants to see the digital revolution in financing evolve in ways that place sustainable and inclusive development at its core.  One focus of enquiry for the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be to bring leadership at this vital moment in the evolution of financial systems in order to harness the potential of its rapid digitalization to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Secretary-General has asked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement the Task Force. With Maria Ramos, CEO of Absa Group Ltd. of South Africa, I have the honor of co-chairing the Task Force that consists of two dozen leaders from diverse sectors and geographies. It includes central bank governors, economic ministers, fintech entrepreneurs, CEOs of major banks, representatives of civil society, and international standard-setting bodies, as well as heads of several UN agencies, including UNICEF, UN Women, and UNDESA. We’re supported by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which brings to the Task Force deep expertise in supporting the digitalization of finance for poorer communities in developing countries.

Together, we will look at where the digital revolution is taking the world’s financial system, how digitalization can be harnessed to finance the SDGs, and how we can collectively overcome barriers in seeking to realize this potential. Building on this inquiry, the potential of the Task Force will leverage the power of the networks of learning and practice it unleashes in turning knowledge and insights into sustainable development outcomes.

The Task Force has an ambitious mandate. Our findings and recommendations must be practical and actionable. They must be grounded in empirical evidence about what is—and creative thinking about what could be. As the Administrator of UNDP, I am committed to ensuring that the Task Force’s work reflects the new reality about development work. Two key agreements from three years ago have set the terms for moving beyond business as usual: the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda describing the world we want to see and the work we need to do, and the Addis Ababa Agreement describing how we should pay for it.

The Task Force on Digital Financing looks forward to working in cooperation with all interested stakeholders, and we thank you for supporting our work.