Insights into the UNSDGs: UNSDG 17 calls for the revitalisation of global financial systems and partnerships


Goal 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals calls for the implementation of partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society to facilitate the realisation of the first 16 Goals.

Its primary goal is to foster the establishment of robust global partnerships that are dedicated to promoting sustainable development worldwide. As rightly pointed out in the 2022 UN report, Goal 17 can play a crucial role in facilitating international collaboration and cooperation, which are essential for addressing pressing global challenges.

However, the revitalisation and continuation of these partnerships is facing several challenges.

Many developing countries are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This, together with rising inflation, interest rate hikes and burgeoning debt, have added to the challenges facing the realisation of Goal 17 and its targets.

The latest United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report (2022) notes that competing priorities and limited fiscal space are making it harder for countries to recover economically. Indeed, it reported that “total external debt stocks of low- and middle-income countries rose by 5.3 per cent in 2020 to US$8.7 trillion. This was driven by an increase in long-term debt, which rose by 6 per cent to US$6.3 trillion. As a result of the global pandemic, external debt ratios further deteriorated as the pace of external debt accumulation outstripped growth of export earnings in most low- and middle-income countries.”

This debt burden undoubtedly distracts from commitments to the realisation of the SDGs.

Furthermore, the United Nations has noted that “official development assistance (ODA) has not reached the targeted level; private investment flows are not well aligned with sustainable development; there continues to be a significant digital divide; and there are ongoing trade tensions” (2023).

Initial targets related to Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, including a focus on finance, technology, capacity building, trade, and related systemic issues. These targets are outlined by the United Nations as follows:


  • Strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection.
  • Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries.
  • Mobilise additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources.
  • Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress.
  • Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries.


  • Enhance North-South, South-South, and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, particularly at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.
  • Promote the development, transfer, dissemination, and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed.
  • Fully operationalise the technology bank and science, technology, and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, particularly information and communications technology.

Capacity building

  • Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation.


  • Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory, and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda.
  • Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020
  • Realise timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access

Systemic issues

  • Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence.
  • Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development.
  • Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development.
  • Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of sustainable development goals in all countries, particularly developing countries.
  • Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.
  • By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to significantly increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.
  • By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries. (

While official development assistance (ODA) has not yet reached its targets, it has increased significantly, with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report (2022) highlighting that “in 2021, net ODA flows by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) amounted to US$177.6 billion, an increase of 3.3 per cent in real terms from 2020.”

This amount represented 0.33 per cent of donors’ combined gross national income (GNI) – a new high for ODA.

Despite this, the United Nations has warned that for the SDGs to be successful, “everyone will need to mobilise both existing and additional resources, and developed countries will need to fulfil their official development assistance commitments” (2023).

Crisis across the globe continue to impact social, economic, health, environmental and security elements of everyday life – in Ghana and around the world. Global cooperation and partnering for development must be encouraged and scaled up to find sustainable and lasting solutions. By joining forces and working together, the global community can pool resources, expertise, and knowledge from diverse stakeholders across the globe to foster positive change, which will help tackle complex issues such as poverty alleviation, climate change mitigation, and social equality on a global scale.

The 2022 SDG Report brings to light a pressing concern that demands immediate attention: the dire need for a complete overhaul of the global financial and debt system. With economies reeling from the impact of the ongoing pandemic, it has become more important than ever to take decisive action in order to facilitate their recovery and propel them towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report emphasises the need to create a more equitable and sustainable world. It highlights the urgency of addressing systemic issues within global financial systems that perpetuate inequality and hinder progress towards sustainable development.

Revamping the global financial and debt system can lay a solid foundation for economic recovery while ensuring that developing world economies are not left behind. This includes providing necessary support to countries facing crippling debt burdens, fostering innovative financing mechanisms, and promoting responsible lending practices.  Providing support will enable economies to bounce back from the pandemic-induced setbacks with renewed vigour. “It will assist with aligning financial systems with sustainable development principles to help unlock new opportunities for inclusive growth, poverty eradication, gender equality, climate action, and many more”. The report emphasised.

>>>The writer is an international chartered director and Africa’s first-ever appointed Professor Extraordinaire for Industrialisation and Supply Chain Governance. He is the CEO of PanAvest International and the founding non-executive chairman of MY-future YOUR-Future and OUR-Future (“MYO”) and the “thought-provoking” daily Nyansa Kasa (words of wisdom) series. Professor Boateng is currently the non-executive chairman of the Minerals Income and Investment Fund (MIIF). He was previously the non-executive chairman of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA). For more information on  Nyansakasa, visit and


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