Financing the 2030 Agenda: an SDG alignment framework for public development banks

Riaño, Maria Alejandra / Samantha Attridge / San Bilal / Niels Keijzer / Benedikt Erforth / Danielle Fattibene / Elisabeth Hege / Martin Evans / Iliana Olivié / Damien Barchiche
External Publications (2021)

ETTG Paper, October 2021

Volltext/Full text

During the first ‘Finance in Common Summit’, in November 2020, public development banks (PDBs) from around the world committed to align their activities with the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While there is increasing interest in mainstreaming the SDGs, we still lack an open and deeper discussion of what that means. As a consequence, there is as yet no broad-based ambitious operational approach. The present study is the product of a European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) collaboration aiming both to propose a definition of SDG alignment and to provide concrete principles to further operationalise and promote such alignment in practice. To align with the multidimensional scope of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, PDBs must incorporate the imperative of the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient and equitable socio-economic models in all their financing decisions and project cycles. Up to now, many SDG alignment discussions have been limited to mapping exercises. Some actors perceive “SDG investments” as equivalent to infrastructure investments, without questioning whether infrastructures are designed sustainably. The present study applies a much deeper comprehension of the 2030 Agenda, arguing that alignment with the Paris Agreement and SDGs must go hand in hand. Implementing the 2030 Agenda requires PDBs to ensure coherence and spur a profound change on the scale of the entire PDB organisation and across its full range of operations. As such, SDG alignment demands high-level commitment, together with deep governance and, probably, business model restructuring. However, moving from a clear understanding of the 2030 Agenda to a truly operational approach is no easy task. Hence, this study develops four operationalisation principles, along with practical steps to implement them. Together, these provide a guiding checklist for PDBs’ efforts to align their activities with the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

About the authors

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science


Erforth, Benedikt

Political Science


Further experts

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Bergmann, Julian

Political Science 

Dang, Vy

Political Science 

Droste, Leonie Marie

Political Science 

Esser, Daniel

Development Studies, Human Geography 

Furness, Mark

Political Science 

Grimm, Sven

Political Science 

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Climate and sustainable development policy 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Löpelt, Sarah

International environmental and development policy 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Scholtes, Fabian


Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

Wehrmann, Dorothea


Weinlich, Silke

Political Science