Development banks finance global public goods and sustainability goals

Project description

Title: Multilateral development banks for global public goods (MDBs for GPGs)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


As the world becomes more and more interconnected, it is increasingly necessary for states to work together to achieve development policy objectives. This way, they can mobilise support for their needs, identify common ground or even adopt a joint multilateral approach. By joining forces, they can also help in the fight against global poverty and play an important role in wider efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) are key stakeholders in this context. Their purpose is to strengthen the protection of global public goods (GPGs) – such as a clean environment, a stable climate, peace and global health – while promoting sustainable economic development and fostering worldwide or regional cooperation. This benefits those who otherwise tend to gain very little from social and ecologically sustainable development and who therefore rely on the provision and protection of global public goods.

Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of MDBs in protecting GPGs. As central actors in development financing, they can help to frame a suitable response to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic, including the risk of accumulating excessive debt.

It follows that MDBs need to steer a more suitable course – in terms of their financial structure, the terms on which funding is made available to developing countries and emerging economies, including any conditionalities attached to that funding, and capacity development. It is also important to ensure that MDBs respond appropriately to the situation of their member states, e.g. through debt relief or additional contributions.


Multilateral development banks have viable business models that enable them to finance global public goods and measures to achieve the SDGs. German bilateral development policy is increasingly cooperating with multilateral organisations to implement the global objectives of sustainable development.


International development banks play an important role in the implementation of the project. They are able to mainstream development policy priorities and potential solutions for sustainable development at international level. The project is helping to shape the strategies of international financial institutions and strengthen their institutional management systems. In this way, it is contributing towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Compact with Africa and is therefore supporting the wider fight against poverty and the process of sustainable transformation in partner countries. These actions help to establish and protect global public goods.

Last update: December 2020