As the world faces unprecedented challenges, from climate crises to migration pressures, the need for concerted action to address financing for development has never been more urgent. Against a backdrop of resource constraints, geopolitical shifts, and faltering progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is imperative to chart a course of action that is both pragmatic and visionary. This piece outlines 10 actionable measures to tackle these multifaceted challenges and pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable future.

1. Mobilizing innovative financing mechanisms

With traditional sources of financing under strain, the time has come to explore innovative financing mechanisms. This includes leveraging technology to facilitate crowdfunding for development projects, promoting social impact bonds to attract private sector investment, and establishing green finance initiatives to fund climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. By harnessing the power of innovation, we can unlock new sources of funding and accelerate progress toward the SDGs.

2. Strengthening regional cooperation

Geopolitical shifts and regional realignments demand a renewed focus on regional cooperation. This involves fostering dialogue and collaboration among neighboring countries to address common challenges and promote shared prosperity. Regional trade agreements, investment partnerships, and infrastructure projects can create economic opportunities and build resilience in the face of global uncertainties.

3. Revitalizing commitment to SDGs

Despite initial momentum, progress on the SDGs has faltered in recent years. To reignite momentum, countries must reaffirm their commitment to the SDG agenda and take concrete steps to accelerate implementation. This includes aligning national policies with SDG targets, increasing investments in priority areas such as education and health care, and enhancing data collection and monitoring mechanisms to track progress effectively.

4. Addressing the climate crisis

The climate crisis poses an existential threat to development efforts worldwide. To address this challenge, countries must prioritize climate action in their development agendas. This includes transitioning to renewable energy sources, investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, and helping vulnerable communities to adapt to changing climate conditions. Additionally, developed countries must fulfill their commitments to provide climate finance to support mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing nations.

5. Managing migration pressures

Rising migration pressures underscore the need for comprehensive and humane migration policies. This involves addressing the root causes of migration, such as poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation, through targeted development interventions. Investing in education, job creation, and social protection programs can provide alternatives to migration and promote stability in origin countries. At the same time, countries must uphold international humanitarian principles and ensure the rights and dignity of migrants are respected.

6. Reforming the global financial architecture

The current global financial architecture is ill-equipped to address the complex challenges of the 21st century. Reform is urgently needed to make the system more resilient, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of developing countries. This includes enhancing their voice and representation in international financial institutions, strengthening regulations to prevent financial crises, and promoting greater transparency and accountability in global financial flows.

7. FFD-4: Catalyzing action for sustainable development

The Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD-4), set to take place in Spain next year, holds the potential to catalyze action on multiple fronts, from mobilizing innovative financing to revitalizing commitment to the SDGs. By convening stakeholders from governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, FFD-4 can facilitate dialogue, forge partnerships, and drive progress toward shared development objectives. Key areas of focus for FFD-4 include mobilizing resources for climate action, promoting inclusive growth, and strengthening global cooperation on migration and refugees.

8. Arab Coordination Group: Leveraging regional cooperation

The Arab Coordination Group, comprising Arab countries and regional organizations, can leverage its collective expertise and resources to support the objectives of FFD-4. By fostering regional cooperation on development priorities such as infrastructure investment, job creation, and social protection, the Arab Coordination Group can amplify the impact of FFD-4 initiatives in the Arab world. This includes sharing best practices, coordinating policy responses, and promoting intra-regional trade and investment.

9. OECD: Providing policy expertise and technical assistance

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with its wealth of policy expertise and technical assistance capabilities, can provide invaluable support to FFD-4 efforts. By conducting research, analysis, and peer reviews, the OECD can help identify best practices and policy recommendations to address key development challenges. Additionally, the OECD can provide technical assistance to countries seeking to strengthen their institutional capacity, improve governance structures, and enhance transparency and accountability in development finance.

10. Promoting collaboration between the Arab Coordination Group and OECD

Collaboration between the Arab Coordination Group and the OECD can enhance the effectiveness of FFD-4 initiatives and promote sustainable development outcomes. By leveraging the OECD's policy expertise and technical assistance capabilities, the Arab Coordination Group can strengthen its capacity to formulate evidence-based policies and implement development initiatives. Similarly, the OECD can benefit from the regional insights and priorities of the Arab Coordination Group, enhancing its understanding of the specific challenges facing Arab countries and tailoring its support accordingly.


In the face of tremendous challenges, there are no easy solutions. However, by taking bold and decisive action to mobilize innovative financing, strengthen regional cooperation, revitalize commitment to the SDGs, address the climate crisis, manage migration pressures, and reform the global financial architecture, we can chart a path toward a more sustainable and equitable future. As we navigate the complex challenges of financing for development, collaboration between the Arab Coordination Group, OECD, and other key stakeholders is essential. By working together to promote innovative financing, strengthen regional cooperation, and enhance policy effectiveness, we can harness the full potential of FFD-4 to advance the SDGs and build a more prosperous and equitable world for all. The time for action is now.


Ferid Belhaj is the former vice president for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank.

Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

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