With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing 89 million people back into extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific in the last two years, delegates at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) were told today that countries must reorient their large economic stimulus towards a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.
The mounting debt burden that developing countries in the area are facing is becoming a challenging task that is compressing fiscal flexibility. While countries should emphasize a quick economic recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic, financial resources should not be diverted away from sustainable development and climate action, and governments should strive to “build back better” by improving their economies’ resilience.
The Committee will discuss various fiscal, monetary, and financial policies over the next three days in order to help the area restore economic momentum and guarantee that recovery is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The regional gathering will underline the great potential of innovative and digital finance options, such as themed bonds, climate risk reporting, debt-for-climate swaps, and digital payment solutions, to mobilize additional fiscal and financial resources to rebuild better together.
A proposal to form a consultation group on SDG finance solutions will also be considered by the Committee. The goal of the group is to bring together ESCAP, important government ministries, and thought leaders in order to produce expert ideas and harness regional experience on how to put proposed policy changes into action.
ESCAP also released a publication last week, Financing the SDGs to Recover Better from the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia and the Pacific, ahead of the Committee. The report delves into the impact of creative climate and digital finance solutions in bridging the region’s financing gaps and assisting post-pandemic recovery. It makes recommendations for critical regulatory and policy initiatives that can assist in scaling up financing for the SDGs.
Every two years, the Committee meets to examine regional economic development policies and choices, as well as integrated approaches to development funding.