Remarkable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been made on many fronts since 2000, despite significant setbacks due to recent economic downturn, food and energy crises. However, progress towards the MDGs is highly uneven and disparities among and within countries are a significant cause of concern. This is part of a long term trend of increasing global inequality, which has particularly affected the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Understanding and tackling inequality will be key to accelerate progress towards the MDGs and foster inclusive growth after 2015.
UNCDF advocates for advancing two key dimensions of inclusion in order to address inequalities and promote inclusive growth - financial inclusion and territorial inclusion - and contributes concretely to it through its programmes on Financial Services for Inclusive Growth and Local Development Finance for Inclusive Growth. UNCDF programmes have a focus on LDCs in view of the Fund’s mandate.
Half of all working-age adults globally – an estimated 2.5 billion people – do not have access to formal financial services. Amongst the poor, three out of four people are excluded. There is growing evidence that the poor need a broad range of financial services, and that these should be quality services that provide value for money. When such services are available, there is evidence that financial inclusion becomes a powerful driver towards MDGs achievement, reduction of inequality and inclusive growth.
Territorial Inclusion Spatially-blind policy approaches have often failed to developed balanced diversified rural and urban economies. Evidence from the country level shows that growth and development have left many regions behind. Lack of progress towards the MDGs is often localized in specific areas and dependent on local circumstances. Overall, inadequate finance, lack of focus and of targeted interventions have largely excluded the poorest regions and groups from advances towards several MDGs. In this context, it is key to pilot and scale up innovative local development finance mechanisms and to foster public-private partnerships that can help unlock the potential of each territory and thus foster territorial inclusion.
UNCDF supports the work on the Post-2015 Development Agenda by engaging with other agencies in the UN System and the UN Task Team. In particular, UNCDF is active in supporting the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on a Sustainable Development Financing Strategy.