Giving Compass' Take:

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) can play a central role in helping the world reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

How can bank shareholders play a role in driving progress?

Here are five steps toward SDG success.

The new global agenda, with Agenda 2030 at its core, is ambitious, comprehensive, and universal. With their highly effective capacity to help countries strengthen policy and institutional foundations and to leverage finance, multilateral development banks (MDBs) have a central role to play.

They are trying to respond, but human and financial constraints and unclear and expanded mandates from shareholders are holding them back. Clarifying their mandates and addressing the constraints are essential to enable them to scale up and make more effective their support for the new global agenda.

Independent evaluations suggest that each MDB is individually performing well, but the system as a whole is not delivering enough.

The unique financial structure of the MDBs allows them to leverage contributions from MDB shareholders and multiply them into financing at low cost. This financial capacity can in turn further crowd-in other sources of finance, especially from the private sector. With better system-wide coordination, MDBs can scale up their impact to deliver for increasingly differentiated clients, but this requires shareholder consensus on, and financial support for, expanded efforts.

Read the full article on multilateral development banks by Amar Bhattacharya, Homi Kharas, Mark Plant, and Annalisa Prizzon at Brookings.