Mixed messages: the rhetoric and the reality of using blended finance to 'leave no-one behind'

The paper explores the relationship between two concepts: the objective of leaving no-one behind, and blended finance. Both are often cited, in different contexts, as central to realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The first concept is the 2030 Agenda’s overarching pledge: “no one will be left behind. Recognising that the dignity
of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.

The second concept, blended finance, is a mechanism by which concessional public finance is combined with non-concessional private finance and expertise from the public and private sector. There is growing traction around the idea that blended finance offers a means to finance significant parts of the 2030 Agenda.

To explore the relationship between blending and leaving no-one behind, the paper focuses particularly on disadvantage associated with gender and with disability. Taking this approach, the paper identifies two key risks inherent in the idea that blended finance is a suitable instrument to leave no-one behind, and makes recommendations for governments and other development finance actors seeking to ensure their choice of financing models furthers, and never undermines, the 2030 Agenda.