Task force journey

The Task Force has convened around the world over 18 months, engaging with hundreds of financial institutions, dozens of governments and regulators, as well as many civil society organizations, think tanks and expert groups. It has taken into account hundreds of papers, proposals and research pieces, which are collected in the bibliography. 

  • Task Force established

     

    The UN Secretary General established the Task Force as part of his broader Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 2019-2021. The Task Force’s mandate is to recommend and catalyse ways to harness digitalization in accelerating financing of the SDGs.

    29 Nov, 2018

  • Task Force members on board

    Task Force members took part in a series of interviews exploring their thinking on how the digitalization of finance creates opportunities and risks for financing the Sustainable Development Goals.

    10 Jan, 2019

  • 1st Task Force meeting, Davos

    The Task Force met with the aim of scoping the work and defining what would constitute success. It was agreed that the work should deliver new insights, ideas, and concrete recommendations for specific actions that can be used to drive collaboration across sectors.

    23 Jan, 2019

  • Framework Document released

    The Framework Document provides the basic building blocks to underpin the work of the DFTF including mandate, context, definitions and analytic lenses.

    1 Mar, 2019

  • High level conference on Sustainable Finance

    Simon Zadek spoke on Achim Steiner’s behalf at a global conference convened by the European Commission together with the founder of M-Pesa, the deputy secretary general of OECD, a member of the executive board of the central bank of Germany, the CEO of Latvia’s SEB Bank, and an executive from Better Finance.

    21 Mar, 2019

  • Mainstreaming Sustainable Finance Conference, Washington DC

    Simon Zadek, Sherpa to Task Force Co-Chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos, moderated a panel at the conference held alongside the World Bank/IMF spring meetings co-sponsored by the Institute of International Finance, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Paulson Institute SIFMA, and UN Environment.

    12 Apr, 2019

  • Sherpa Meeting, New York

    Achim and Phumzile sherpa plenary

    Technical advisor “sherpas” representing Task Force members explored four themes (capital markets, citizens at the center, clean energy/climate change, and gender equality) and identified core issues and areas for further investigation. The sherpa meeting included guest remarks from members Maiava Atalina Emma Ainuu-Enari, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and co-chair Achim Steiner, as well as Judith Karl, executive secretary of UNCDF.

    15 Apr, 2019

  • Network for Greening the Financial System Summit, Paris

    Pooma Marianne and Simon

    Task Force Member Pooma Kimis, Simon Zadek, and Marianne Haahr of the Green Digital Finance Alliance, the Task Force knowledge partner, all spoke at this event.

    17 Apr, 2019

  • SDG Investment Fair, New York

    ITU Panel

    The Investment Fair convenes government policy makers and corporate leaders in a dynamic setting to discuss specific investment opportunities and critical policies and regulations that support closing the SDG investment gap. The Task Force convened a panel on “Innovative Mechanisms to Finance Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.” In conjunction with the Financing for Development Forum. It was Moderated by Tillman Bruett, the panel included Mathew Davie (Kiva), Amina Tirana (Visa), Ana Blanco (Sherpa to the Task Force member GSMA), and Aron Betru (Milken Institute). Nojibur Rahman, the principal secretary to the prime minister of Bangladesh opened the panel and Matthew Gamser of IFC served as keynote speaker.

    17 Apr, 2019

  • Financing for Development Forum

    Patrick N Pooma

    The Task Force was prominently represented at the United Nations High-Level panels during the Financing for Development Forum. Three Task Force members delivered formal remarks co-chair Achim Steiner, United Nations Development Programme Administrator, Maiava Atalina Emma Ainuu-Enari,  Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, and Patrick Njoroge,  Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

    15-18 Apr, 2019

  • IEX Hakathon: Ideas for the SDGs

    IEX full group Winning Group Establishing Shot

    IEX staffers broke into small groups to develop ideas on how digital financing can help achieve the SDGs. Task Force member Brad Katsuyama, CEO of IEX, co-founder Ronan Ryan, and Task Force Secretariat member Anne Folan judged each of the pitches according to weighted criteria including relevance, creativity, feasibility, and global applicability. Scores were close, but the “Sustainable Cities & Communities” team ultimately prevailed. The ideas fed into the Task Force’s interim report.

    19 Apr, 2019

  • Patrick Njoroge visits Copenhagen

    Dr Patrick

    Task Force member and Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Patrick Njoroge undertook an intensive series of consultations with Danish officials to brief them on the Task Force and share best practices between Denmark and Kenya. The event was co-hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Copenhagen Fintech Lab and the Green Digital Finance Alliance.

    Dr. Njoroge spoke to an audience of nearly 200 impact investors, fintech entrepreneurs, civil society/NGO representatives, and fellow regulators. He highlighted the Task Force’s emphasis on using digitalization to mobilize domestic savings and offered the experience of Kenya’s M-Akiba.

    29 and 30 Apr, 2019

  • London “Think Shop”

    Task Force member Poomis Kimis convened a think shop at the Reform Club in London. Experts from investment funds, development institutions, regulatory bodies, and tech innovators met to consider how digitalization can better direct financing flows toward sustainable outcomes. Task Force sherpas Yasmina McCarty (GSMA) and Simon Zadek (sherpa to the co-chairs) participated in the session led by the Secretariat.

    01 May, 2019

  • South Learning Exchange, Beijing

    Events held by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), attended by Task Force Member, Natalie Jabangwe, Meng Yan, Sherpa to Task Force member Eric Jing, Matthew Blake, Sherpa to Task Force member Richard Samans and Tillman Bruett, Director, Task Force Secretariat.

    08 May, 2019

  • ASEAN regulatory summit, Singapore

    Julia Walker, Head of Market Development, Risk, Asia Pacific for Task Force knowledge partner Refinitiv talked about the work of the Task Force.


    Simon Zadek, sherpa to Task Force co-chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos explained the mandate of the Task Force.

    08 May, 2019

  • 2nd Task Force meeting, New York

     

     

    The Task Force met to review and discuss the interim report and discussed concrete, practical action steps.

    12 Jun, 2019

  • Think Shop, Milan

    Italian Zadek Interview

    Hosted by Unipol this think shop was convened by Simon Zadek (sherpa to co-chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos ) and Marianne Haahr (executive director of Green Development Finance Alliance, knowledge and outreach partner to the Task Force) and brought together “sustainable finance” and “digital finance” experts who seldom cross paths including senior-level executives from Italian insurance, banking, and technology sectors (Unipol, Mediolanum, Candriam, Global Thinking Foundation, ART-ER, ItaSIF, Mind the Bridge, Axieme, Iraiser, Charity Stars, Domec SpA, Università Cattolica) participated.

    24 Jun, 2019

  • Think Shop, Amsterdam

    DUTCH CONVENING

    Hosted by DNB (Dutch National Bank) and APG (Dutch national pension system) with Simon Zadek, sherpa to the Task Force co-chairs, and  Marianne Haahr of the Green Digital Finance Alliance, representing the Task Force. Some 25 leaders from the Dutch banking, technology, and government sectors participated including executives from Achmea, BBH, FMO, ING, Rabobank, Dutch Banking Alliance, Dutch Association of Insurers, Holland Fintech, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, APG, DNB participated.

    05 Jul, 2019

  • HLPF Panel discussion: Financing the SDGs

    At the Task Force’s invitation, Gillian Tett , chair of the Financial Times editorial board, moderated a panel discussion at the SDG Media Zone. The all-Task Force panel included Elliott Harris , chief economist at UN DESA and advisor to Task Force member Liu Zhenmin, World Economic Forum’s Matthew Blake, sherpa to Task Force member Richard Samans, and Task Force special guest Chris Skinner.

    There was also a joint interview with Maria Ramos, co-Chair, UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs, and Natalie Jabangwe, Chief Executive Officer, EcoCash Zimbabwe.

    09 Jul, 2019

  • HLPF meeting: Investing in the Future: Digital Innovation for Communities, Countries, and Continents

    Welcome remarks from Task Force co-chair Achim Steiner (Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme) and from His Excellency Marc-André Blanchard, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; keynote addresses from bestselling author and fintech expert Chris Skinner and from Herve Tourpe, Chief Digital Strategist at the IMF; a presentation on illicit financial flows by Sneha Shah, Managing Director of Task Force knowledge partner Refinitiv; a panel discussion, moderated by Task Force co-chair sherpa Simon Zadek, with Task Force member Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka (Executive Director of UN Women), Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU, and Durreen Shahnaz, CEO of Impact Investment Exchange Asia and IIX Foundation; and closing remarks by His Excellency Dr. Perks Master Ligoya, Permanent Representative of Malawi to the United Nations.

    100 people including permanent representatives, first secretaries, and other high-ranking dignitaries from more than 10 countries attended.

    10 Jul, 2019

  • Harnessing the Digitalization of Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals

    The white paper produced in collaboration with Accenture Development Partnerships was launched during the High-Level Political Forum. It describes the fundamental shifts already well underway in the financial markets as a result of digitalization and explores the opportunities and the risks that digitalization of finance poses in general and to sustainable finance specifically.

    10 Jul, 2019

  • High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

     Read Chris Skinner’s blog

    The HLP is one of the most important events in the UN calendar; where Member States brief each other and relevant UN officials about their progress on the 2030 Agenda, sharing lessons learned and identifying obstacles.

    Task Force member Liu Zhenmin, head of UN DESA, was a keynote speaker to the HLPF opening session chaired by Her Excellency Ms. Inga Rhonda King, the president of the Economic and Social Council. Fintech expert Chris Skinner also appeared at the Task Force’s invitation at numerous HLPF events.

    9 - 11 Jul, 2019

  • “Fintech in the Savannah” Afro-Asia Fintech Festival, Nairobi

    Fintech is the next frontier

    Organised by the Central Bank of Kenya and and Monetary Authority of Singapore, this was a first-of-its-kind major effort to bring fintech stakeholders from Africa and Asia together to learn from each other and to strengthen the fintech investment climate for Africa. The Task Force had a major presence involving members Dr. Patrick Njoroge (CBK governor),  Aurélie Adam Soule Zoumarou (Minister of the Digital Economy and Communications, Government of Benin), Natalie Jabangwe (CEO, EcoCash Zimbabwe), Pooma Kimis and Laurence Latimer (sherpa to Task Force member Brad Katsuyama and head of ventures, IEX Group), Mack Ramachandran (sherpa to Natalie Jabangwe) and  Tillman Bruett (director of Task Force secretariat)

    The Task Force’s panel “Fintech and the Capital Markets,” sought to expand the discussion to how fintech is shaping capital markets.

    The Task Force also participated in an event by KPMG to launch its own “Africa Fintech Hack-a-Thon.”

    16 - 17 Jul, 2019

  • Ant Group “Tech for Green” Hackathon

     

    More than 320 of Ant Group’s staff registered to work on proposals including reuse of redundant equipment from bike share programs, blockchain carbon markets, AI-enabled waste recycling, with the top 10 teams eligible for a tour of an Ant Forest site; and the top three winners featured during Task Force events in September in connection with UN Week in New York.

    July – August 2019

  • Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Kenya

    Key staff from the Central Bank of Kenya team of Task Force member Dr. Patrick Njoroge and from United Nations Capital Development Fund (which hosts the Task Force secretariat) played lead roles in organizing the competition for start-ups looking to advance business plans aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The Hackcelerator competition received 45 submissions from 10 countries. Fifteen teams were shortlisted to participate in the shark-tank style “Demo Day” on August 9 at the Kenya School of Monetary Sciences; among the judges were Anthony Gacanja, director of information technology at Central Bank of Kenya, and UNCDF’s Nandini Harihareswara, digital finance regional technical specialist.

    09 Aug, 2019

  • Canada Fintech Week

    Canada Fintech Week is one of the largest events of its kind: 1,000 participants, 70 speakers, dozens of prestigious sponsors ranging from household names (KPMG, Citi, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Google, and our own UNDP) to tech start-ups. Simon Zadek, sherpa to Task Force co-chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos, delivered the afternoon keynote address.

    15 Aug, 2019

  • The India Think Shop Tour

    Task Force members visited Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai, convening with more than 100 participants from government, development, and the country’s famously vibrant tech sector.

    20 Aug, 2019

  • UN Week Refinitiv Reception

    Refinitiv and co-hosts UN DESA welcomed Task Force members and other speakers and guests for a reception to share ideas and prepare for the major UNGA events. Guests heard from co-chair Maria Ramos, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Task Force member, Sneha Shah and Julia Walker of knowledge partner Refinitiv, and Elliott Harris, UN DESA chief economist. Their remarks focused on the importance of data both to support functioning financial markets and to support SDG-aligned finance.

    25 Sep, 2019

  • Financing for Development High-Level Luncheon Investing in the SDGs: Leadership Role of Member States and the Private Sector

    The High-Level Dialogue on Financing was attended by heads of state, ministers, and the world’s leading CEOs and philanthropists. The Task Force presented its work during the luncheon raising awareness significantly among world leaders.

    26 Sep, 2019

  • Launched at UNGA Interim Progress Report Harnessing Digitalization in Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals

    The Co-Chairs’ Interim Progress Report was launched in New York during the UN Global Assembly for discussion and feedback.

    26 Sep, 2019

  • UN Week event: Good Servant, Poor Master: Capturing the Promise and Managing the Risk of Financial Technology for a Sustainable World

    The Task Force’s Summit event delivered a line-up of more than 30 speakers—CEOs, heads of UN agencies, ambassadors, philanthropists, technologists, and entrepreneurs—to address an audience of nearly 150. Along with panel discussions and keynotes on “The Future of Money,” “The Role of Capital Markets in Financing the SDGs,” and “The Marriage of Finance and Technology,” the day included innovation pitches from the winners of tech sprint challenges in the US, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Netherlands, and Uganda. The Task Force also published the Co-Chairs’ Progress Report: Harnessing Digitalization in Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals

    27 Sep, 2019

  • Knowledge Exchange: Ant Financial Visits IEX

     

    IEX welcomed the winners of the Ant Financial hackathon to their offices to share ideas with the winning IEX teams and do a dress rehearsal of their respective pitches. The Ant team also got to ring the IEX opening bell at the 9:30 AM start of trading.

    27 Sep, 2019

  • Launched at UNGA: Task Force Working Group reports on gender equality and on capital markets

    The Task Force pursued its mandate partly through working groups which focused intensively on SDGs and topic areas. Two of the Working Groups Gender Equality and Capital Markets published their research papers during UNGA: Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and Unlocking Capital Markets to Finance the SDGs.

    27 Sep, 2019

  • Sustainable Digital Finance Benchmark for The Netherlands

    The Task Force knowledge partner, Green Digital Finance Alliance, presented the findings and the related interactive prototype of its initial sustainable digital finance readiness benchmarking exercise, supported by Holland Fintech, the main local partner gathering the data, and the Central Bank of Netherlands (DNB) that provided inputs and data for the regulatory analysis. This pilot has informed the development of the Sustainable Digital Finance Measurement Framework – one of the Task Force Pathfinder Initiatives. The event was held in Amsterdam and attended by over 100 financial and technology industry leaders, regulators, policymakers, and other sustainable digital finance stakeholders.

    4 October, 2019

  • Sherpa Meeting, Washington DC

    The Task Force held a well-attended Sherpa Meeting in the offices of Ant Group in Washington DC, alongside the World Bank/IMF Fall Meetings. The task for the sherpas was to debate key recommendation areas to be included in the final report. In a series of working groups, they discussed the key opportunities for harnessing digitalisation to finance the SDGs as well as the digital foundations that underpin sustainable digitalisation of finance, from digital infrastructure and connectivity to data access. The need for governance innovations also emerged as a key enabler for sustainable digital financing ecosystems.

    December Reader

    16 Oct, 2019

  • Fintech for SDGs session at the 6th Forum on Green Finance and Investment

    Simon Zadek, sherpa to the co-chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos, presented on fintech opportunities to overcome existing barriers to sustainable finance at the 6th Forum on Green Finance and Investment, organised by the OECD Centre on Green Finance and Investment.

    29 October, 2019

  • Call for contributions

    The Task Force made an open call for contributions from technical experts, opinion leaders, and citizens on how to harness the power of the digital technologies that are transforming financial systems in ways that will advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

    70+ contributions were received from institutions Stanford, Harvard, London School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Kenyatta University, Cardiff Business School and many others, governmental entities, NGOs, multilaterals, corporations, and private citizens. Contributions include previously published works as well as new case studies developed specifically in response to the Task Force’s mandate.

    31 Oct, 2019

  • Expert Offsite meeting, Bellagio

    Participants included both Task Force members and sherpas and experts who had not been involved with the Task Force to date. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i Program of the Government of Bangladesh, Matthew Davie, Chief Strategy Officer, Kiva, Amandeep Gill, Project Lead, International Digital Health & AI Research Collaborative, Marianne Haahr, Director, Green Digital Finance Alliance, Natalie Jabangwe, CEO, Ecocash, Louise James, Managing Director, Accenture Development Partnerships, Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, UNCDF, Peter Lovelock, Director and co-Founder of the Technology Research Project Corporate (TRPC), Matu Mugo, Assistant Director, Bank Supervision, Central Bank of Kenya, Julia Walker, Global Head of Government and Industry Affairs, Sustainable Finance and Risk, Refinitiv, Louise Wilson, Co-founder and joint MD, Abundance and Xiaochen Zhang, President, Fintech4good, Simon Zadek, sherpa to the co-chairs and Head of the Secretariat, Aiaze Mitha, Senior Advisor to the Task Force, and Vera Bersudskaya, Lead Researcher with the Secretariat.

    The offsite featured a series of presentations, panel discussions, and working groups that dove deeper into digital finance for SDG opportunities along with the enabling market conditions. Participants were inspired by the potential of digitalisation of finance to empower the ultimate owners of world’s financial resources – the citizens.

    4-7 Nov, 2019

  • Task Force session at the Singapore FinTech Festival

    Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) is the world’s largest FinTech event and global platform for the FinTech community, comprising start-ups and technopreneurs, policy makers, financial and technology industry leaders, investors including private equity players and venture capitalists, and academics.

    Simon Zadek, sherpa to the co-chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos, shared the Task Force interim findings at an evening high-level discussion session hosted by UNCDF. Task Force members Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Natalie Jabangwe, CEO of EcoCash, Piyush Gupta, CEO and Director of DBS Group, along with Julia Walker, Global Head of Government and Industry Affairs, Sustainable Finance and Risk, Refinitiv, a Task Force knowledge partner, spoke at the Festival.

    13 November, 2019

  • Conference with the Green Digital Finance Alliance, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, and the German Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Berlin

    The Task Force co-organised this major conference on “Digitalization, Finance and Sustainable Development” with support from the German Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The conference introduced the Task Force’s results and the outcomes of the German Sustainable Digital Finance Ecosystem Assessment undertaken by Green Digital Finance Alliance (GDFA), the Task Force knowledge partner. GDFA used the Sustainable Digital Finance Measurement Framework,  developed as a Task Force-linked Pathfinder Initiative. The conference was attended by more than 130 participants with diverse perspectives on digitalization, Fintech and sustainable development, a testament to the relevance of the topic. It also featured Task Force members, Natalie Jabangwe, CEO of EcoCash Zimbabwe and Pooma Kimis, Director at Autonomous Research.

    27 Jan, 2020

  • 3rd Task Force meeting, New York

    The third meeting of the Task Force was at the offices of the World Economic Forum. The Task Force met to review progress and discuss its findings and recommendations. The Task Force made the case that all money is people’s money.

    Alignment of digital finance to people’s goals will not happen automatically, there are barriers such as lack of access, weak capabilities, challenges in accessing relevant data, and resistance of some incumbents to change. Digitalization also creates new risks, such as biases in algorithms, market concentration, short-termism, consumer protection, socially undesirable transactions, illicit flows and energy impacts. Also, robust people-centric digital foundations and ecosystems, steered with smart policies and robust governance arrangements, will be necessary to harness digitalization for financing of the SDGs. Task Force members carefully reviewed the proposed Pathfinder Initiatives, in keeping with the mandate given by the UN Secretary General to recommend and catalyze ways in which digitalization can accelerate financing of the SDGs.

    12 Feb, 2020

  • 1st Expert roundtable of the International Dialogue on Global Digital Finance

    The Dialogue on Governance of Global Digital Finance, a Task Force Pathfinder Initiative, held its first (virtual) expert roundtable on May 18. After an opening by the co-Chairs and an address by the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, the roundtable set out to discuss the cross-border effects of Global Digital Finance platforms (BigFinTechs) and ways in which their governance might take greater account of their impacts on sustainable development, especially in least developed markets. The discussions involved representatives from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation experts from the international development community (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, Alliance for Financial Inclusion), global governance institutions (including the IMF, World Bank and Bank of International Settlements), senior academics, private sector players and task force members, in addition to UNDP and UNCDF representatives, including the High Level Panel for Digital Cooperation. Overall, experts felt compelled by the agenda and identified specific issues, pointed to new areas for further investigation, highlighted latest developments and encouraged the Dialogue platform to pursue ‘its important and very timely work’.

    18 May 2020

  • Task Force at HLPF 2020

    The Task Force hosted a side event at the recent High Level Political Forum Side Event on “Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals during Covid-19, Impact and Solutions.” In particular, this side event provided an opportunity for The Task Force to highlight its findings and recommendations on harnessing digitalization for financing the Sustainable Development Goals.
    Panel Members were Patrick Njoroge, Governor of Central Bank of Kenya, Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i Program, Government of Bangladesh, Natalie Jabangwe, Chief Executive Officer, Ecocash and Pooma Kimis, Director, Autonomous Research, with the panel moderated by Simon Zadek.

    13 July, 2020

  • The Final Report is Launched!

    People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future sets out the findings and recommendations of the Task Force.

    It is launched by the UN Secretary General and the Task Force co-Chairs Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and Maria Ramos, until recently Chief Executive ABSA Group Ltd.

    26 Aug, 2020