Despite progress towards some SDGs, the Asia-Pacific region needs to accelerate the pace of change and reverse negative trends in several areas. For instance, progress towards improving environmental stewardship has fallen short across the board. ESCAP analysis found that Asia-Pacific region would miss most SDG targets by 2030 without increased effort.
Alongside better policies, increased investment is required particularly in sectors where progress has been slow. For governments to plan, budget and mobilize funds more effectively, they could benefit from a comprehensive assessment of the investment requirements. While there are selected sectoral estimates, for instance, in poverty-related social sectors or in economic infrastructure, we do not yet have a full picture of SDG investment requirements, which would also need to account for synergies and integrated scenarios.
While there is no single correct methodology for such an assessment, since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, several UN agencies and other international organizations have developed or refined cost estimates in their respective sectors and there is considerable scope for bringing together these different models and methodologies for peer-review and synthesis.
At the same time, to ensure that such global cross-country cost estimates are relevant for the Asia-Pacific region, which itself is highly diverse, there is considerable scope to engage leading experts from think-tanks and universities in the region, who often advice their respective governments on specific SDG sectors or on issues of national planning, budgeting and mobilization of resources.
In light of the above, the two-day Expert Group Meeting will bring together experts from across the UN and other international organizations as well as leading think-tanks and universities in the Asia-Pacific region, with a view to developing a comprehensive assessment of investment requirements for achieving the SDGs by 2030.
In addition to estimating the investment requirements, the EGM will address cross-cutting issues relating to governance and public expenditure reforms, and explore opportunities for peer-learning and benchmarking good performers. The EGM will also address economy-wide impacts of scaling up investments, such as on inflation and debt sustainability. The EGM discussions will directly feed into the forthcoming issue of ESCAP’s flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, to be released in 2019.