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How the new World Bank Group SDG Fund helps reach the Global Goals

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A family submitting an application at the UNHCR registration center in Tripoli, Lebanon. © Mohamed Azakir/World Bank

ImageWorld Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee members are Mahmoud Mohieldin; Karin Finkelston; Mamta Murthi; Robert Saum; Aradhana Kumar-Capoor; Ousseynou Nakoulima; Sebnem Akkaya 

We all want our work to have a positive impact on the people we serve, as reflected in national or global goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are one way to keep score on our progress, along with the World Bank Group Corporate Scorecard and other measures. But the SDGs are universally recognized as the global benchmark for progress.

As of yet, we haven’t done enough to show how the Bank Group’s contributes to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, but that is something that we’re working on.

That’s why we launched the World Bank Group Partnership Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals (WBG SDG Fund) which supports the growing demand for catalytic initiatives that can help countries strengthen implementation of the global goals.

Our approach has been to fund high-impact, low-cost activities that promote new tools and methodologies, or support capacity building, quality data, knowledge generation, and institutional strengthening for SDG delivery.

As members of the Steering Committee, we recently approved a new round of financing for 12 activities across the World Bank Group to help governments and institutions around the world reach these global goals.

The Call for Proposals generated nearly 80 applications from throughout the Bank Group, representing a wide variety of regions, sectors, units, as well as collaborative partnerships both within and outside the Bank Group.

The SDG Fund selected proposals that could strengthen Bank Group clients’ efforts on SDG implementation. One proposal aims to promote sustainable energy (SDG7) and climate action (SDG13) by providing renewable energy in emerging markets. Another seeks to enhance gender equality (SDG5) and ensure equal access to justice for all (SDG16) through programs designed to reduce violence against women and girls. Yet another builds capacity for domestic financial institutions (SDG8) and promotes agribusiness (SDG9) while encouraging agricultural productivity (SDG2).

Several of the selected proposals take a cross-sectoral approach, for example promoting disability-inclusive SDG implementation, and developing SDG impact reporting for World Bank Sustainable Development Bonds to leverage future SDG investment. Others take on the challenge of providing quality data and include efforts to harness big data insights for the SDGs. One employs alternative data for reporting to provide marginalized groups with access to credit. Another improves household surveys to include SDG monitoring on indicators that address poverty (SDG1), health and wellbeing (SDG3), education (SDG4), and energy (SDG7).

We are encouraged by these excellent proposals that demonstrate the innovation, passion, and creativity of World Bank Group teams in support of the SDGs.

Shortly after its launch in October 2018, the SDG Fund allocated funding to three activities that have begun work to help countries realize the ambitious global goals.  That work is underway and going well.

We are very grateful that the Bank Group’s external partners have shown a keen interest in collaborating with the SDG Fund. Along with strong support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the SDG Fund is actively exploring collaboration with private industry, private foundations, and others—such as the WBG-Korea Facility—to support World Bank Group client countries in achieving the SDGs.

We want to thank all the teams that applied for this round of funding. We appreciate their innovative and meaningful initiatives that can help countries reach their ambitious development goals. We hope that next year even more units across the institution will submit their ideas for reaching the SDGs--and helping our clients achieve their dreams.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations, and Partnerships talking to journalists about the launch of the SDG Fund. © World Bank
Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations, and Partnerships talking to journalists about the launch of the SDG Fund. © World Bank

Here is a list of all the proposals selected in the first and recent rounds of the World Bank Group SDG Fund:

  • SDG Atlas: Open Data based analysis to inform Global Community based on SDG data-driven case studies for national, regional, and global policymakers.
  • Welfare Measurement of Private Sector Interventions: Joint WBG proposal to develop and pilot analytical frameworks and models to systematically assess private sector contribution to poverty reduction.
  • Investment Matching Platform for Refugee Communities in FCV countries: This activity aims to facilitate $30 million in investments.
  • Rooftop Solar PV Mapping and Market Facilitation:  Joint WBG online Platform using satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms to identify rooftop markets based on Vietnam pilot
  • Expansion of WBG Global Monitoring Database (GMD) for SDG Monitoring Analysis:  Expand household survey data information on working poor; health and education indicators
  • Promoting Disability-Inclusive SDG Implementation: Capacity building on disability data generation and management starting with Nigeria and Ghana country pilots
  • Interactive Mapping of Gender Based Violence (GBV) Service Providers: Online mapping of GBV providers to survivors in 3 country pilots: Liberia; Nigeria; and Mozambique
  • Big Data Fusion for Accurate, Real-Time and Granular Insights into the SDGs: Combining multiple Big Data sources to reduce bias and monitor and predict labor market policy outcomes in Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal
  • Building Partnerships to Accelerate Human Capital: Respond to client country demand to create an HCP Network to support reform efforts
  • Catalyzing Private Capital Markets SDGs -- World Bank Sustainable Development Bond Impact Report: Attract estimated $100 trillion fund management assets to SDGs through comprehensive WBG SDG portfolio report
  • Multi-Stakeholder Solutions to Support Peace & Inclusion: Operationalizing “Pathways to Peace” report through analysis of social protection & inclusion in FCV countries
  • The Central Asia Water Accountancy Project: Joint WBG support to promote water efficiency in Central Asia using a “Water Flow Statement” and water ledger to predict seasonal shortages
  • SDG and South-South Digital Agricultural Finance Project: South-South technology and innovation exchange between Pakistan and China to build capacity in Digital Agrifinance
  • Enabling Access to Credit for Marginalized Groups through Alternative Data for Credit Reporting: Adopt Alternative Data for Credit Reporting for Marginalized communities in South Africa country pilot
  • Women in Business Leadership -- Igniting Change: Promote greater gender diversity in global business leadership through knowledge dissemination and training

Related Links:
World Bank Group launches new multi-donor fund in support of SDG implementation
The Sustainable Development Goals
Office of the World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations and Partnerships


World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee

World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee

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