The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Global challenges and opportunities for the private sector

It is worth reminding ourselves of some of the goals governments have agreed to.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Where are we today when it comes to this goal? 780 million people lack access to drinking water. 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. 6.8 million people die annually from water-related diseases.

Of course, lack of adequate sanitation affects everyone. But it particularly affects women and girls. Safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene could have significant impacts on reducing maternal deaths. 

Next, Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Again, here are the numbers: Last year, 71 million young people were unemployed. And by 2030, globally, 470 million jobs for new entrants to the labour markets may be needed.

Let us move to Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Here are two challenges that relate to this goal: 828 million urban residents now live in slums, and in African countries, infrastructure constraints affect company productivity levels by 40 percent.

Given last month's climate change conference in Bonn, let's look at Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Nations agreed to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees. While progress was made in Bonn, the world remains on track to see global temperature rise by at least 3 degrees. This would lead to catastrophic impacts around the world.

Finally, the goal that this event is focused on, Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The financing aspects of this goal alone are revealing. Last year, development aid reached a new peak: More than $142 billion, an increase of 8.9 percent from 2015. Over the same period, more than 40 percent of the nearly $1.75 trillion worth of global foreign direct investment flows was directed to developing countries, providing much-needed private capital.

Yet needs remain immense. In infrastructure alone, the World Economic Forum estimates that $60 trillion will be needed by 2030.


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