Amid rising government debt levels, higher interest rates, global economic slowdown and heightened geopolitical uncertainty, the risk of public debt distress and debt overhang in developing countries will remain elevated in coming years. At the same time, large financing needs to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate ambitions are adding more pressure on fiscal and debt positions. How developing countries navigate a balancing act between ensuring post-pandemic socioeconomic recovery and pursuing the SDGs, while maintaining public debt sustainability is an important policy consideration.
In this context, ESCAP launched its annual flagship publication “Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2023: Rethinking Public Debt for the SDGs” in April 2023. The report calls for a significant shift in thinking about leveraging public debt for development gains. This policy dialogue aims to discuss ideas on policy issues and options to deal with sovereign debt distress while keeping in view the SDGs and long-term climate ambitions.