Financing - Means of Implementation for Post-2015 Development Agenda

“Investments in sustainable development could cost as much as $2.5 trillion per year to close the region’s infrastructure gaps, provide universal access to social protection, health, and education, and implement measures to mitigate climate change,” Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary said in her presentation to leading figures in the public, private and civil society sectors from more than 30 countries at the high-level meeting in Jakarta, 10 June 2014.

Photo Credit: UN ESCAP

Delivered at the Asia-Pacific Outreach Meeting on Sustainable Development Financing in Jakarta, Indonesia, 10 June 2014

Honourable Ministers,
Central Bank Governors,
Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome you to our Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Financing event in Jakarta. This is the first consultation on financing for sustainable development being held by ESCAP in the region.

My deep appreciation goes to his H.E. Finance Minister Dr. Muhammad Chatib Basri, for co-hosting this event with ESCAP, and our special thanks also go to the governments of Switzerland, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, for their valued partnership.

I would like to further introduce to you and welcome, the co-chairs of the Expert Committee on Sustainable Development Financing, Ambassador Pertti Majanen and Mr. Mansur Muhtar, who have been steering the global deliberations on this topic.

This event is an integral part of the regional outreach undertaken by the Inter-Governmental Committee of Experts set up in line with the Rio+20 mandates. This meeting is a part of the global consultations aimed at forging the post-2015 development agenda, and builds on the inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) which ESCAP held in Thailand three weeks ago. On member States’ advice, ESCAP is also likely to establish an Intergovernmental Committee on Finance at the regional level for regular regional dialogue on this topic.

The recent global financial crisis once again drew the international community’s attention to the need for economic and financial stability, to support higher and sustainable economic growth. The G20 and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) have launched substantial work to strengthen the legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks etc. which will lay the foundations for stronger and more robust global finance.

Asian financial systems have grown substantially. They have great strengths but also face a wide range of different challenges. In general, Asian financial systems lack diversification and tend to be bank-dominated. What has, however, received less attention, are a range of key questions such as:

1. How finance serves development requirements?

2. How we can connect the region’s savers and investors towards the achievement of sustainable development goals to eradicate poverty, deal with hunger and provide basic services, develop the necessary infrastructure for the seamless movement of goods, services, people, and change energy mix ?

3. How we can ensure national governments renew their drive and focus on domestic resource mobilization? This can happen if governments resolve to unleash their tax potential, to mobilize sustainable sources of public finance and deepen capital markets to direct private capital for reinforcing development.

4. How we can service multiple sectoral requirements? Sustainable development recognizes the interdependence of the social, economic and environment pillars of development and calls for comprehensive and well-diversified financial systems.

5. How can financial exclusion be turned around, by taking a holistic approach to financial inclusion and enhancing its reach through technology etc?

6. How we can meet the growing regional infrastructure requirements and leverage institutional funding, a key source of long-term funding needed for infrastructure, which has thus far been risk-averse to project finance?

7. How we can get financial intermediation to work beyond meeting the needs of corporate and state owned enterprises?

8. How we can nurture global and regional partnerships to ensure better delivery, both in quantity and quality of official assistance promises, and direct these to financing for the sustainable development agenda?

These and other similar questions go well beyond the G20 and FSB’s well-intended and timely focus on the advanced and emerging markets, and systemically important institutions, as well as strong supervisory regimes etc. Financing sustainable development demands of us to look beyond trade-offs and enhance synergies among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development for the future we want. Government’s now have to look beyond their own revenues and tap private sector involvement in the social and environmental sectors, by creating a better enabling environment and incentivizing appropriately to compensate for risks and returns.

To conclude, I want to recognize the broad-based participation of Ministers, Governors and other senior officials and high-level experts, as well as other stakeholders and representatives of civil society. Thank you for traveling to Jakarta - I am positive that your collective expertise, experience and enthusiasm will enrich the debate on financing for development, and provide a number of practical and innovative ideas to start forging a vision for the long-term financing of sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

We look forward to working with all of you over the next two days.

I thank you.