How we fund the global goals matters

Leaving no one behind

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require reaching the most vulnerable people urgently.

Private companies, who are obliged to consider profit, are more likely to spend money where profits are highest, rather than where human rights needs are greatest. Spending money on human rights such as health and education – particularly for those with low incomes – is not likely to make a direct profit at all.

Public money for ‘public goods’

Spending decisions must be shaped by people’s needs to ensure no one is left behind.

Governments and public agencies are in a better position to do this, using ‘public money’. They can prioritise the indirect benefits of spending on human rights for the most vulnerable – such as the creation of safe, healthy, well-educated communities across society.

In this way, spending on health, education, housing and social care for those most in need becomes a ‘public good’ – something from which we all benefit.

Many politicians in high income countries have already woken up to the fact that public money is the best way to deliver public goods. The privatisation of public services is increasingly recognised as a failure in the UK, with Chancellor Hammond promising no more ‘private finance initiatives’ to pay for our NHS.

It’s time our politicians extended the same logic to achieveing the SDGs.

New sources of public money

Where could new public money to fill the SDGs funding gap come from? One smart solution is using Global Solidarity Levies. These are small taxes on those who can best afford to pay a bit more.

Global solidarity levies have already raised billions for human rights needs all around the world. For example, a small levy on airline tickets in ten countries including France, Korea and Chile has generated more than $3billion for UNITAID to deliver HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria treatments in low-income countries.

Global Solidarity Levies:

  • are small taxes that can raise BIG amounts
  • fall on those who are most able to pay, so that we all pay our FAIR share
  • can be charged JUST on those who may be behind a particular problem
  • raise money that can be spent where people’s NEEDS are greatest

Check out our campaigns for smart solutions like Robin Hood Tax and the Climate Damages Tax to see how Global Solidarity Levies work

Other smart solutions ideas include a crackdown on huge global companies that dodge paying taxes in low income countries, and wiping out unpayable debts for the lowest income countries.