This Study assesses how public development banks (PDBs)–from different sizes and geographies–have interpreted and are including sustainable development priorities in their day-to-day discussions, processes and operations. Some PDBs have so far implemented innovative practices which should now be shared among all PDBs in a view of harmonisation and coherence, as a crucial prerequisite to a scaled-up alignment. As for governments, shareholders and other stakeholders, they should also contribute to this alignment endeavour by an enhanced political backing and support to PDBs.

Key Messages

  • Public development banks’ strategies should lead to a complete, comprehensive and systemic integration of the SDGs, percolating all of their activities, instead of classifying existing projects by individual SDGs. In order to integrate SDGs in all actions and processes, the 2030 Agenda needs to be solidly anchored within PDBs’ organisational culture, backed by adequate incentives and capacity building. PDBs should also place a much stronger focus on early stage project preparation support, facilitating the structuring of SDG bankable projects.
  • PDBs need to re-envision the way they finance development, relying on their ability to partner and work side-by-side with other stakeholders and private financial actors–underpinned by strategic partnerships, blended finance or other financial mechanisms at their disposal like guarantees or green/SDG bonds–to play a larger, and potentially transformational role in scaling up finance for achieving the SDGs.
  • PDBs’ actions need to be uphold by a clear SDG national policy and budget–through an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) for instance–and tailor-made regulations that increase their appetite to take risks and invest in non-traditional sectors or poor/fragile settings. Establishing and “SDG Credit Score” would also be a major step to encourage and support PDBs to drive sustainable development transformations.
  • Although there is no “model bank”, PDBs need to harmonise their practices and develop common norms and standards on the way they align with the SDGs. PDBs should actively engage in discussions with other international organisations, commercial banks, private investors and businesses who are part of sustainable investing and SDG alignment initiatives.
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