Istanbul, 7 December 2021 – Impact investing is the way to close the gap between the ambitious targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the financial resources the world has available to pursue them, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) told the Bosphorus Summit today, during the prestigious Turkish event’s 12th annual conference.
The annual costs of achieving the SDGs were originally estimated at US$5-7 trillion
(USD$ 2.5 trillion alone for developing countries), but setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the price tag even higher. This figure dwarfs the US$116 billion devoted each year to traditional development assistance. Private-sector engagement is necessary to close the gap, but how to reconcile the corporate drive for profits with the noble aims of the SDGs?
“One answer to this riddle is impact investment,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “We aim to help investors allocate their resources for initiatives that will reduce poverty and inequality, advance health and education and protect the environment, while also generating a strong return for their shareholders. What is still lacking, and what UNDP is working now to establish, are common standards for measuring impact that the entire industry can embrace.”
UNDP is working to develop these standards through its “SDG Investment Initiative” project, which was launched earlier this year in partnership with the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD). This initiative will provide a combination of advocacy, research, networking and training to guide officials and investors in impact investing. This new project builds on past work, including an “SDG Investor Map” for Turkey launched earlier this year as part of a global UNDP program called “SDG Impact,” which focuses on identifying bankable projects that contribute to sustainable development. During the opening ceremony of the summit, Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator, also emphasized the role of private sector investments in achieving the SDGs and highlighted that, "Turkey is advantageously positioned to catalyze impactful investment opportunities that can serve the sustainable development agenda".
“Impact investing aims to deliver positive outcomes for people and the planet,” said Fabienne Michaux, Director of SDG Impact at UNDP. “Our work helps businesses and investors put sustainability and the SDGs at the core of management decisions and direct capital where it will make the biggest difference. Setting clear standards can help actors navigate an increasingly crowded landscape, to select the most appropriate frameworks, tools and metrics for them.”
To this end, the panel discussion organized by UNDP featured the launching of a new white paper on impact measurement and management developed in collaboration with the Impact Investment Advisory Board (EYDK) and Etkiyap. EYDK was founded by 30 leading Turkish institutions with the aim of making impact investing a mainstream investing model in Turkey while establishing and bringing important actors included both international and internal partnerships. The white paper (available for comment at eydk.org) aims to guide investors on the potential impact of different investment decisions and build public awareness of impact measurement.
“Turkey needs to take stock of global achievements in impact measurement and management,” said EYDK President Şafak Müderrisgil. “No single methodology will serve all purposes, so we need set of frameworks for different purposes. The white paper can serve as a reference for all phases of impact measurement, which depend heavily on data transparency and availability.”
Contact Information: Bahar Paykoç, UNDP Turkey, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Impact Investing Platform "Etkiyap" is Turkey's first impact investing platform, set up to advocate for and promote impact investing in Turkey.
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