A monthly publication of the UN Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs for its members and other stakeholders. 
September 24, 2020
Dear colleagues 

Since the launch of the Digital Finance Task Force report we have seen interest from around the world, with thousands of downloads on every continent, and webinars, events and press coverage. 

Task Force Member, Partners and broader networks have hosted meetings and discussions and there has been press coverage in dozens of media outlets, including the Financial Times, Deutsche Welle and Bloomberg.

This newsletter is a round-up of key events that have taken place this month and ones that are upcoming, including the launch of the Global Dialogue

We also draw your attention to resources on the Task Force's new website which you can use in sharing the Task Force's findings with your own networks.

With best wishes

The Task Force Secretariat
The Task Force’s findings has been highlighted in several events around the UN Global Assembly. 

Co-Chair Achim Steiner highlighted the Task Force’s action Agenda at a High-Level Event “Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations". This was an event convened by UNICEF and Generation Unlimited, ITU, UNDP and the Office of the Special Adviser. It featured Heads of States and Governments from Ethiopia, Switzerland, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Norway, executives from technology giants such as Ericsson, Microsoft, Vodafone, Bharti Enterprises, Red/Africa, Google, Facebook and Fujitsu and luminaries like Sir Tim Berners-Lee. 

The Task Force held an event: Digital Finance – a Building Block for Digital Cooperation". The event was opened by the Administrator of the UNDP, Achim Steiner and the Special Adviser to the Secretary General, Fabrizio Hochschild. It featured a Panel conversation moderated by Simon Zadek. Panelists were

  • H.E. Mr. Robert Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on SDG Financing
  • H.E. Mr. Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramirez, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Digital Technologies
  • Mr. Chaesub Lee, Director for Standardization for the International Telecommunications Union
  • Ms. Judith Karl, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund
  • Ms. Maiava Atalina Emma Ainuu-Enari, Governor, Central Bank of Samoa
The Task Force participated in the INCLUSION Fintech Conference held in Shanghai, from 24 -26 September 2020.

The conference brought together speakers and thought leaders from the financial and technology industries, governments and organizations to champion innovation, openness and collaboration in fintech to help propel inclusive and sustainable development in the global economy.

Task Force member Eric Jing, Executive Chairman of Ant Group and Task Force Co-Chair Achim Steiner presented in the opening plenary. Simon Zadek, Head of the Secretariat of the Task Force and Marianne Haahr of Task Force Knowledge partner the Green Digital Finance Alliance both provided videos. You can watch them on the Task Force website.
Achim Steiner and Simon Zadek both spoke at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit of the World Economic Forum on Pathways for an Economic Reset on 22 and 23rd September.

The World Economic Forum also published an article by Simon Zadek "Harnessing COVID-19’s digital dividend to finance the Sustainable Development Goals".
Other events included The Copenhagen Fintech Forum where Task Force Member and Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Patrick Njoroge, Simon Zadek and Marianne Haarh spoke (15- 16 September) and a Climate Week event on Blockchain and Digital Finance for Climate Action Empowerment where Simon Zadek spoke on, 24 September 2020, hosted by GloCha Global Challenges Foundation New York, Climate Chain Coalition, Evercity, and IAAI.

One of the key action recommendations of the Task Force was for the development of inclusive governance on emerging digital financing platforms. One of the pathfinder initiatives associated with the Task Force
was the Dialogue on Global Digital Finance Governance.

The Dialogue has been developed in recognition of the emerging role of international digital finance players (BigFintechs) which have increasing impact on sustainable development including in developing countries. These countries may have smaller, weaker or under-developed financial
systems and policy frameworks, but are also the locations where the opportunities for transformation are greatest.

The Dialogue was established to advance governance innovations which take greater account of the SDG impacts of BigFintechs. It is hosted by the Swiss and Kenyan Governments, Co-Chaired by Achim Steiner, the Administrator of UNDP and Patrick Njoroge, Governor of Central Bank of Kenya, and is institutionally anchored in UNDP and UNCDF.

It will enable major, international and national actors to come together from multiple jurisdictions to advance international cooperation and governance innovations.

In May, the Dialogue organized a first roundtable with experts from various organizations. Its second round table will be held on Oct 9 it will host a second roundtable, in Geneva, as the first of a series of formal convenings bringing together representatives from central banks, finance, trade and other relevant ministries, cross-sector regulatory bodies (telecom, data, insurance, tax authorities), LDCs and non-state actors, and
representatives from key institutions including the FSB, BIS, WB and IMF as well as the Digital Governance Hub.

You can read more about the thinking behind the Global Dialogue in a paper "Governing Global Digital Finance" by Aiaze Mitha, Simon Zadek and Douglas Arner

October - Presentation of the findings of the Task Force in a joint event with the European Commission ( More Details to follow)

December - Participation in the Singapore Fintech Festival

If you are planning to host a local or sector specific event to discuss the Task Force's findings or featuring it one of your events in the coming months, contact Duygu Celik to let us know

FT - Moral Money: Covid-19: a silver lining for financial inclusion

As loyal Moral Money readers know, the world needs to come up with a lot of money to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals — and private investment is expected to play a major role. However, raising the money is only part of the puzzle. The UN also needs to get that money where it needs to go — no small challenge in developing economies, where vast swaths of the population have little or no access to the global financial system.

To fix this problem (known as “financial inclusion” in industry slang), the UN is turning to technology. Last year, Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Programme, and Maria Ramos, former chief executive of Absa Group, brought some top fintech companies together to come up with some answers.

Later today, the working group will release its inaugural report, which outlines steps that companies and governments need to take to improve financial inclusion. There is still much that needs to be done, but Mr Steiner said there had already been a huge shift from last year as a result of the pandemic. This, along with the growing global interest in sustainable investment, is a welcome silver lining for groups pushing forward on the SDGs. “In so many respects, that interface between technology, the role of government and people’s access through digital platforms to new ways of financing has clearly become a centrepiece . . . of the way countries are managing the pandemic,” he told Moral Money.
Recent Op-eds

Other media stories linked to in our media round-up
The Reader is a monthly publication produced by the secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General's Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is intended for the members of the Task Force, their staff, and other interested parties. Please direct comments or questions to
Funding for the Task Force is provided by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, with the generous support of the Governments of Germany, Italy and Switzerland. | @UNDFTaskForce | Twitter: #DigitalFinancingTF