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Advancing the Global Goals

This post is part of a series focusing on efforts to advance the Global Goals.



  • 40 percent of food loss occurs before food even reaches the market. [Share This] 
  • Of every $3 spent on development, $1 is lost to natural disasters. [Share This] 
  • It will cost an estimated $5-7 trillion to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. [Share This]

During a recent visit to Kenya, I met Moses Mwaniki, a mango farmer in Murang’a County. Like many farmers, Moses struggles with making sure he can get all of his mangoes to market. Often, he does not.

It’s estimated that 40 percent of food loss occurs before food even reaches the market. Food loss occurs for a range of reasons, including insufficient post-harvest loss management protocols, lack of ready markets, and inadequate transportation. This was the impetus for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3—to dramatically cut food waste at the retail and consumer levels, and to reduce food loss across production and supply chains.

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Moses made a change and is seeing tangible results—he invested in solar drying units to increase both the shelf life and value of his mango harvest, and reduce food lost to spoilage. In the years since, he has mobilized other mango farmers in his region to collectively gather mangoes that are then dried and sold to large scale buyers, who package and sell this dried fruit to local and international markets.

This week during the UN General Assembly meeting, the development community is coming together to advance the 17 SDGs—and we are grappling with the question of how to scale what works. Top of mind are questions like, how does the global community plan to pay for this? And, how do these global goals —and their various associated actions and targets—fit together?


We know that the resources held by governments and philanthropy will not be sufficient to fulfill the estimated $5-7 trillion needed to achieve the SDGs. We must look for ways to mobilize private capital, finding ways to unlock the more than $200 trillion in assets held by institutional, household, and retail investors. That’s the goal of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap innovative finance portfolio—to develop new financing mechanisms with the ability to mobilize large pools of private capital for social good.

But we will also need to get better at protecting the investments that we already make. Of every $3 spent on development, $1 is lost to natural disasters. These disruptions impact progress and disproportionately impact those living in poverty. In order for the money mobilized to achieve the SDGs—though innovative finance and more traditional channels—we must ensure that our efforts to build a world more resilient to climate change and other shocks is mutually-supportive of our work to build stronger, more inclusive economies. These are not two distinct issues, but rather interconnected components of the same strategy.

Food Loss

To address the world’s biggest problems and achieve the SDGs, we need a new model that encourages alignment and collaboration across goals. We must look at the deeper connections between these different objectives, and act in ways that support of each and every goal. For example, as we look at the goals targeted at agriculture, food and water security, and nutrition, we can and should apply a lens that accounts for the role of our natural systems and their impact on health—“planetary health,” as we like to call it.

The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history of working to achieve change for the betterment of people around the world—but the world is a very different place than it was when we started our work over 100 years ago, and we know that the resources and collaboration required to achieve these ambitious goals is unprecedented. It is through this cross-sector collaboration between development partners, governments, and the private sector that we can begin to recognize meaningful progress in solving some of the world’s greatest challenges.

In the coming week, you will hear from my colleagues at The Rockefeller Foundation on how our work intersects with individual goals in the areas of health, energy, livelihoods, climate, food production and consumption, and more. We look forward to the conversations taking place this week and beyond, and working together to build a more resilient, inclusive world for all as laid out in the vision of the global goals.

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