Asia-Pacific’s landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) have faced development challenges related to their landlocked location, lack of access to international markets and thus limited participation in the global economy (through global and regional value chains) and trade. This has disincentivized structural economic transformation and economic diversification and subsequently hampered efforts at reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.
The challenges of financial resource mobilization have been highlighted by the global community through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (AAAA). Policy issues related to resource mobilization have also been highlighted in ESCAP’s Regional Road Map for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2018 the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) started implementing a project entitled “Supporting the countries with special needs in Asia-Pacific in meeting the challenge of resource mobilization for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The project aims to address and overcome the issues and the challenges by enabling selected member States to identify how to effectively mobilize and use financial resources for sustainable development, especially with a recent focus on any innovative resource mobilization strategies to address the widening financial gaps as a result of the COVID-19 pandemics in the nine LLDCs in Asia and the Pacific. Tajikistan, as an Asia-Pacific LLDC, has been included in the project as a pilot country.
At the country level, there are also initiatives to improve public finance management as part of the ongoing reforms, attract private investments, and create a larger pool of financing for advancing national development and the SDGs in Tajikistan. Among others, the Financing SDGs in Tajikistan is a joint UN programme to strengthen financing architecture for the SDGs. The overall strategy is to employ a two-pronged approach: strengthening policy space and addressing technical constraints to securing SDG financing. The programme is built on the ongoing public finance management (PFM) reform and contributes to the implementation of the PFM 2030 strategy and other sectoral strategies. Alternative and innovative financing, including public-private blended finance, is needed more than ever to help Tajikistan leverage new and additional sources of funding to accelerate the implementation of the National Development Strategy (NDS) which is aligned to the SDGs.
Increasing financing will require knowledge, analysis, partnerships and capacities to enable policymakers in Tajikistan to identify policy gaps, develop strategies to tap into new sources of financing, promote efficiency and effectiveness in public spending, and attract more private financing. In this regard, a high-level Working Group on Financing the NDS and the SDGs is being established under the National Development Council (NDC) of the President of Tajikistan. There are already 13 thematic Working Groups under the NDC to coordinate policies and strategies across different sectors. The primary function of the Financing Working Group is to coordinate efforts around resource mobilization. Specifically, the Financing Working Group will support in identifying financing needs for development, assess available resources and gaps, and recommend funding priorities. The Financing Working Group will also provide a cross-sectoral platform for government, the private sector and development partners to synergize and contribute in scaling up development finance in Tajikistan in order to meet its long-term development aspirations. Under the Financing Working Group, a technical group of experts has been set up and tasked to develop the necessary tools, conduct analysis, and promote knowledge-sharing.
Against the above backdrop, and as part of UN’s ongoing capacity building support in Tajikistan and to build synergies between regional and national initiatives to further the financing for development agenda, a half-day workshop will be organized in partnership with the Government of Tajikistan. It is expected that the workshop will contribute to filling knowledge gaps at the national, subregional, regional and global levels.
The proposed workshop will provide inputs to the work of the Financing Working Group under the NDC in Tajikistan. It will also feed its results into the ESCAP regional workshop on resource mobilization in Asia-Pacific countries in special situations which is tentatively planned in December 2021. Furthermore, the outcomes will inform global processes such as the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative (FfDI), particularly in its Cluster I on Climate and Sustainability; Cluster IV on Liquidity and Debt Vulnerabilities; and Cluster VI on addressing countries in special situations. The results of this workshop will also help ESCAP and UN in Tajikistan in producing relevant knowledge resources and products, identify further needs in development financing and establish the network of experts for follow-up purposes.