UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL’S TASK FORCE ON DIGITAL FINANCING OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
This is from the old website in case anyone would like to read it.
HARNESSING THE DIGITALIZATION OF FINANCE TO ACHIEVE THE
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
TASK FORCE - FRAMEWORK DOCUMENT
1. PURPOSE OF FRAMEWORK
The Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs (hereinafter “the DFTF” or “the Task Force”) is
mandated to identify how digitalization will reshape finance and to identify, theorize, and
propose how best this can support the financing of the SDGs. This requires considering the
broader context of finance, technology, and the SDGs, and then narrowing to those areas of SDG
financing that are changing due to digitalization.
The DFTF met for the first time during in Davos on 23rd January 2019, with the aim of scoping the
work and defining what would constitute success. At this meeting, the co-Chairs highlighted that
the Task Force’s success will ultimately depend on it delivering new insights, ideas, and concrete
recommendations for specific actions by policymakers, investors, bankers, and tech
The framework set out in this document provides the basic building blocks that will underpin
the work of the DFTF. It establishes the basis on which the DFTF will consider the overall
opportunities in harnessing the digitalization of financing to support the realization of the SDGs.
Moreover, it highlights a number of key lenses through which this opportunity will be best
understood, as well as selected topics for a deeper dive to facilitate the broader analysis of
opportunities and actions needed across the SDGs and associated financing needs. In
combination, these approaches should enable both the opportunities to be identified and risks to
be understood and best mitigated.
This Framework will be updated from time to time as work progresses and additional Task Force
members perspectives are added.
2. THE CONTEXT
Adequate, accessible and affordable financing is key to achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), as set out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda as well as the Paris Agreement on
climate. Together, these global agreements from 2015 signal the need not only for more finance,
but for all financial flows (and so the financial system itself) to be aligned with the needs of
Digitalization is changing our global economy, and indeed many aspects of peoples’ lives. It is
changing the fundamentals of finance, from the basics of digitization in delivering cheaper and
faster data to inform financing decisions, to supporting greater access to financial services and
enabling citizens to be more centrally involved in every aspect of finance, to the reinvention of
the meaning and role of money itself, and the ways in which our global financial system is
Digitalization therefore changes how we can finance efforts to achieve the SDGs. Exemplary
cases illustrate this fact in practice. Technology-driven innovations such as mobile payments
systems, artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are being innovatively deployed, for
FRAMEWORK DOCUMENT MARCH 2019
Framework to accelerate financing for small and medium sized businesses, catalyze the uptake of
distributed solar energy technology, and improve the carbon profile of the built environment.
Such examples inspire and inform us. But the positive effects of digitalization of finance must
scale up, rapidly, if the SDGs are to be realized by 2030. Moreover, the digitalization of finance
may have downsides that need to be understood and mitigated. Negative examples include high
frequency trading which benefits those winning the technological arms race or the daily
examples of cybersecurity breaches through the myriad of companies, financial and nonfinancial, that have access to financial data.
3. THE TASK FORCE
It is for these reasons that the United Nations Secretary-General established a Task Force on Digital
Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (DFTF). The Task Force is mandated to identify
opportunities, challenges, and ways to advance the convergence of digital
technology, the financial ecosystem and the SDGs.
The DFTF was announced by the Secretary General in September
2018 and launched on 29 November 2018. It is co-chaired by
Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), and Maria Ramos, until
recently the Chief Executive Officer of Absa Group Limited in
South Africa. It is made up of about twenty members from
the private and public sector, including the heads of fintech
businesses, commercial financial institutions, development banks, and
business associations, as well as government ministers, central bank governors, heads of UN
agencies and other experts. The DFTF is supported by a Secretariat led by the United Nations
Capital Development Forum (UNCDF), and a growing number of expert partners.
The DFTF has a mandate to address four core questions:
a. What is the current experience in harnessing the digitalization of finance in
pursuit of the SDGs?
b. What are the high-impact opportunities for digital financing of the SDGs,
today and in the future?
c. What are the main impediments to realizing these opportunities and the
risks associated with them, and how might those impediments be
d. What are the actions needed by which actors, including the United Nations,
to overcome impediments and realize the identified opportunities?
The DFTF is to complete its work by early 2020, but to provide an interim report in late July 2019
to the Secretary-General in advance of the High-Level Summit on Financing and the Climate
Summit, both to be held in September in New York at the time of the UN General Assembly.
In fulfilling the DFTF’s mandate, its members will contribute individually and collectively in:
• Developing a framing approach and focus in addressing agreed goals.
• Providing on-going strategic guidance on the work packages needed
• Overseeing the development of, and putting forward the DFTF’s findings and
Alongside these core roles are additional possible contributions that could include specific
knowledge, capabilities, and access to networks as well as any direct actions members wish to
take to pursue or to demonstrate the Task Force’s goals. The Secretariat has the responsibility to
ensure the effective execution of guidance provided by the DFTF members and the production of
interim and final products.
4. DEFINITIONAL BOUNDARIES
The pace of digital innovation, in the financial sector and beyond, creates challenges in setting
boundaries for what is within, and outside of, the scope of the DFTF’s work. This section provides
some framing definitions as one starting point.
• Sustainable Development Goals: The normative reference point of the DFTF encompasses all
seventeen goals and, through SDG 13 (Climate Action), includes the goals established through
the Paris Agreement on climate. These are Global Goals, adopted by all member states of the
UN, and apply to all member states, implying in principle a global coverage by the DFTF.
• Financing: The focus on ‘digital financing’ requires considering how digitalization helps to
mobilize, allocate, unlock and redirect financing flows. This goes beyond ‘digital finance’1
discussed below and concerns the activities, flows, and institutions of the entire financial
system, including investment, lending, payments and insurance, and diverse functions such as
payments systems, intermediation, and asset creation, and also the related monetary system.
• Digitalization: Concerns systemic changes to the financial ecosystem due to digital
technologies, which refers to both the increased digitization of finance-related activities, and
the broader, associated changes in business models, products and services, governance, and
resulting changes at the nexus between the financial system and the real economy.Enter your text here...