Preeti Sinha is a high-ranking UN official who manages the UN Capital Development Fund. Formerly a globally experienced banker and CEO, Preeti Sinha discusses below her journey to leadership, and mission to finance peace within our global nations.
“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers quietly building new structures” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.
Changing opinions, eroding barriers, and building new structures have been the essence of Preeti Sinha’s life, as a young woman who started her career in investment banking, maturing into a female leadership role at the UN.
Preeti Sinha explains that it was the desperation and scenes of war, the utter devastation and misery of human life, that drove her urgency to make ‘Capital Serve Humanity’. Preeti Sinha has mobilized over $20 billion in finance throughout her career in investment banking and development banking – a career spanning a successful 30-year track record.
During that time, Preeti Sinha has mobilized resources, and fund-raising opportunities, created investment vehicles and funds, designed innovative financing instruments, and developed various partnerships within the industry.
Capital has been Preeti Sinha’s tool to contribute towards peace and development – the two inter-linked pillars of a viable human society.
Currently, Preeti Sinha serves as the Executive Secretary leading the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in New York. The UNCDF is a unique capital and investment fund of the United Nations, established in 1966 to invest in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) around the world.
Along with the UNCDF teams, Preeti Sinha and her constituents have issued six financial instruments at the UN – including grants, TA, loans, guarantees, bonds, and blended funds.
Preeti Sinha has successfully motivated, energized, and empowered the UNCDF team to deliver consecutive years of its best results with an 81% growth in resources raised in 2021, the highest in its 56-year history.
Further, 35% more resources mobilized in 2022, catalyzing value funds for Member States.
The Worldly Scenario
At a worldly scenario, Preeti Sinha reports that she is deeply perturbed by the number of conflict situations taking place globally today, many in the LDCs she serves, which leads to an intense personal drive to bring her knowledge of finance, partnerships, and fundraising to finance peace in our global nations.
Recently, Preeti Sinha has led two interesting projects on innovative financing for peace in Burundi and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). In Burundi, Preeti Sinha and her team are financing The Kibira Peace Sanctuary Foundation project.
The project’s primary objective is to create an enabling environment for sustainable peace in the Kibira National Park by deploying a combined and sequenced Protection, Investment and REDD+ strategy aimed at building trust within and between local communities and with national authorities.
The goal is to reduce drivers of deforestation, providing alternative livelihood models that bring co-benefits to the communities, fostering longer-term conservation and peace and at minimum financing while enabling national authorities to enhance forest and community security.
The UNCDF is partnering with and has received funding from UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), the organization’s financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries, situations at risk or affected by violent conflict.
For the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Preeti Sinha is leading a UNCDF team which is working with the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) secretariat based in Geneva on a $120 million project funding for an extremely innovative Forest Performance Bonds issuance to promote peace and development in the DRC.
The German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) is supporting this project via CAFI. This is part of a larger push to increase private sector investment in the Congo Basin, which was announced at COP27 by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Summit:
“As current Chair of the Central African Forest Initiative, we are excited to announce that a series of Forest Performance Bonds will be developed in cooperation with the Green Climate Fund (GCF). These bonds will fund forest positive business in Central Africa.”
Preeti Sinha explains that the design of the Forest Performance Bond has been entrusted to UNCDF.
This is accompanied by an additional project by UNCDF in DRC in partnership with the UN Peace Building Fund for the Kahuzi Biega Peace Park, where security situation in and around the park area is volatile.
Additionally, the team is honored to be invited by the EU European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) to submit project proposals for Innovative Finance for Peace in 2022.
Finally, in Somalia, Preeti Sinha reports that a UNCDF team has created, and is disbursing, the Local Development Fund (LDF) − a discretionary, multi-sectoral, performance-based grant for local governments.
The LDF was introduced into Somalia’s subnational ecosystem in 2011. The LDF is UNCDF’s flagship project in Somalia and designed to promote equitable and effective service delivery and infrastructure development at the local district level.
The fiscal decentralization footprints of local governance reforms in Somaliland and Puntland have grown from covering eight districts in 2011 to thirty-five districts in 2022 with over millions transferred to the districts.
Preeti Sinha is confident that as bankers and financiers, the efforts of the UNCDF teams can successfully mobilize funds and effectively provide world-class delivery unit for this most important mission for financing peace in partnership other collaborators working on global peace and development.