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We have to work together, focus on results to achieve the SDGs

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Billions to Trillions, Finance for Development, leveraging resources, innovative finance – these will be the headline themes for the coming week when development practitioners, politicians, and financial leaders will gather in Addis Ababa to be part of a set of conversations around Financing for Development sponsored by the United Nations. The focus will be on how we help countries get the financing they require to deliver the results their citizens need desperately towards the achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Financing for development goes way beyond Official Development Assistance (ODA), which at $135 billion in 2012/2013 is relatively small compared with the $600 billion in foreign direct investment in developing countries, and $7.7 trillion in domestic resources that can be mobilized for economic, social, and environmental good in developing countries.
While small in comparison, ODA can catalyze and leverage public and private resources to support sustainable, equitable growth and poverty reduction. The challenge is to work in partnership with public and private players to make the most of all of these contributions.
I am looking forward to chairing a panel that will include Ministers and other officials from Ethiopia and Tanzania, as well as colleagues from the African Development Bank and Oxfam, that will highlight the potential of a relatively new Bank instrument. Over the past two years, we’ve been working with 26 countries on a new approach to leveraging ODA and other types of financing to deliver results, Program-for-Results (PforR). We created PforR to help our clients, who were looking to make their own programs more efficient. They needed to strengthen the way government departments managed for results and create incentives for performance, which PforR does by linking financing to the achievement of verified results and actions.
PforR starts with a conversation about results. In Nigeria, nearly 900,000 children and women die every year, most from avoidable causes. The World Bank is working with the Nigerian Government to support the Saving One Million Lives Initiative. This program aims to increase the use and quality of high impact reproductive, child health, and nutrition services and strengthen provincial delivery of health services.
In Egypt, where access to drinking water and sanitation isn’t even, especially in rural areas, we are working with the Government to help provide sustainable sanitation services to rural communities. This program will strengthen local service providers to increase and improve access in three key locations eventually reaching 1.2 million Egyptians with the potential to scale up to other underserved areas.
To achieve these kinds of results, governments need to leverage domestic and foreign financial resources, improve collaboration across government departments, and catalyze partners around the most pressing challenges.
Since 2012, $5 billion in Bank financing for PforR operations is supporting $14.8 billion in government programs. And the number of these partnerships is growing. In Ethiopia, the World Bank and nine other multilateral and bilateral partners are doing this through the Program-for-Results which supports the Government’s Millennium Development Goal Performance Fund for the health sector.
If we really want to make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, countries need ways to direct funders to programs that will deliver real results on energy access, productive employment, water and sanitation and education. Working together, focusing on results, and crowding in and leveraging resources to support sustainable programs are the way to achieve the SDGs.
The author is the World Bank’s Vice President, Operations Policy and Country Services. As part of the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, the World Bank is organizing an event on Program-for-Results Innovative Financing: Leveraging Public Expenditures for Better Results, on July 15.


Hartwig Schafer

Former Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank

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