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22 October 2021, 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM UTC +7 | Open meeting

Regional Conversation Series 2

Amid an uncertain and uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, several developing economies of Asia and the Pacific are experiencing shrinking  fiscal space and rising debt levels. Policymakers are now faced with an unenviable task – to ensure sustained socio-economic recovery, which will require continued fiscal support, while finding means to finance the rising fiscal deficit and tackle debt sustainability concerns. At the same time, they need to continue to pursue the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and tackle the climate emergency. While emergency lending by the IFIs plus the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative provided some relief, the extent to which these will suffice to alleviate the financing pressures and tackle debt-related challenges is unclear.

The purpose of this Regional Conversation is to exchange views with policymakers and experts on how to increase the availability of financing for sustainable development and climate action and address debt risks in Asia and the Pacific. The conversation builds on an a high-level event on Debt relief in the aftermath of the pandemic organized by ESCAP during its 77th Commission Session in April 2021, and will complement discussions to take place at the third session of the Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development during 20-22 October 2021.  

The conversation will focus on the following questions:

  1. What strategies and policies are developing countries of the region pursuing to address debt risks and channel financial resources in support of SDGs and climate action?
  2. Is the current international debt architecture, including the Common Framework and collective action clauses in sovereign bonds, sufficient to address rising debt risks? If not, what reforms are needed?
  3. What is the potential for scaling up debt-for-climate swaps as a tool to reduce debt risks and increase investments in climate action? What should be the broad contours of a framework for this purpose, and how regional cooperation could help?
  4. How can ESCAP help developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region address financing challenges and explore the potential of innovative sustainable financing strategies?

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Flyer with photos of event speakers

22 Oct 2021
10:00
10:20
Opening and Welcome Remarks
  • Mr. Hamza Malik, Director, Macro Economic Policy and Financing for Development, ESCAP
  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
22 Oct 2021
10:14
11:31
Eminent Speakers

•    H.E. Mr. Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
•    H.E. Mr. Carlos Dominguez III, Secretary of Finance of the Philippines
•    H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance of Maldives
•    H.E. Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka
•    Mr. Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum 

•    Mr. Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow, Center for Sustainable Development, Brookings Institution
•    Mr. Pekka Morén, Special Representative of the Finance Minister on Climate Action, Finance Ministry, Finland 
•    Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Deputy Director, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund
•    Mr. Asanaly Duisembay, Director, State Borrowing Department, Ministry of Finance, Kazakhstan
•    Mr. Erik Grigoryan, expert in environmental economics and former Minister of Environment of Armenia

22 Oct 2021
11:31
11:38
Questions from the floor
22 Oct 2021
11:38
11:45

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP

Opening Remarks

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Secretary of ESCAP
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Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Formerly, she was Professor of Economics at Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia, where she also served as a Director for the Center for Sustainable Development Goals Studies, as well as Vice Chair of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences. Prior, she was the Minister of National Development Planning and the Head of National Development Planning Agency in Indonesia, alongside being the Alternate Governor of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank representing Indonesia.

Eminent Speakers

Mark Brown
H.E. Mr. Mark Brown
Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
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Carlos Dominguez III
H.E. Mr. Carlos Dominguez III
Secretary of Finance, Philippines
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Ibrahim Ameer
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Ameer
Minister of Finance, Maldives
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Ajith Nivard Cabraal
H.E. Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal
Central Bank Governor, Sri Lanka
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Henry Puna
Mr. Henry Puna
Secretary-Genera, Pacific Island Forum
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Amar Bhattacharya
Mr. Amar Bhattacharya
Senior Fellow, Center for Sustainable Development, Brookings Institution
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Pekka Morén
Mr. Pekka Morén
Special Representative of the Finance Minister on Climate Action, Finance Ministry, Finland
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Jeromin Zettelmeyer
Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer
Deputy Director, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund
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Asanaly Duisembay
Mr. Asanaly Duisembay
Director, State Borrowing Department, Ministry of Finance, Kazakhstan
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Erik Grigoryan
Mr. Erik Grigoryan
Expert in environmental economics and former Minister of Environment of Armenia
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Moderator

Mr. Hamza, UNESCAP
Mr. Hamza Malik
Director, Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division, UNESCAP
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for more information, please contact

Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]
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