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This report follows the OECD 2015 publication Social Impact Investment: Building the Evidence Base and casts new light on the role of social impact investing within the broader SDG-funding landscape. It depicts the state-of-play of social impact investment approaches globally, compares regional trends and assesses prospects for future growth with a special focus on data issues and recent policy developments. It provides new guidance for policy makers and development finance providers to maximise the contribution of impact investing to the 2030 Agenda, the Paris agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The report argues that public authorities have the ultimate responsibility – in their capacity as market regulators, policy makers and development finance providers – to establish and promote integrity standards.

In doing so, the paper calls for an ‘impact imperative’, for which a four pillar framework and recommendations are outlined to ensure that financing for sustainable development achieves the desired impact and results: (1) the financing imperative (shifting the trillions), (2) the innovation imperative (piloting new approaches), (3) the data imperative (transparency and standards) and (4) the policy imperative (policy tools and evaluation).