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The Survey, published annually since 1947, is a flagship publication produced by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). It provides analyses to guide policy discussion on the current and emerging socio-economic issues and policy challenges to support sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

This year's Survey presents the new perspectives on fiscal and public debt analysis that help Asia and the Pacific to effectively pursue the SDGs. Among other key messages, the report highlights the need to:

• revisit the nexus between public debt and sustainable development;
• rethink how to assess public debt sustainability keeping in view of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and
• increase the role played by the international development community in fostering timely and effective debt restructuring in countries facing debt distress.

The Survey 2023 was officially launched on 5 April 2023. Please see here.

The Survey for 2023 examines how new perspectives on fiscal and public debt analyses and policies can help countries in Asia and the Pacific to effectively pursue not only the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 but also improve their long-term sustainable development prospects.

Official Launch webpage | View e-Summary

The Public Debt Dashboard contains:

  • 100+ indicators, calculations on public debt
  • comprehensive data on public debt presented at:
    • Asia-Pacific level
    • subregional level
    • country level
  • brings together data from various sources like the IMF-GFS, WEO, World Bank IDS and complemented by ESCAP calculations.

The economic performance of the developing countries in Asia and the Pacific was considerably weak in 2022. The sluggish economic activity is mainly driven by historically high inflation worsening the deep socioeconomic scarring resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Restoring price stability and safeguarding the vulnerable are thus not just macroeconomic issues, but critical prerequisites for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region.

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 1 | Macroeconomic performance and outlook for Asia and the Pacific

Chapter 1 | Macroeconomic performance and outlook for Asia and the Pacific

Public debt can be a powerful sustainable development tool if used judiciously and with a long-term horizon. Public borrowing decisions to finance development can be effective, if expected broader socioeconomic and financial returns are incorporated into debt assessments. More recently, potential environmental benefits have also been assigned a high weight in assessing the impact of debt issuance.

Read Chapter 2

Chapter 2 | Revisiting the public debt-development nexus

Chapter 2 | Revisiting the public debt-development nexus

An increasing number of countries in the region have been rated as facing a high risk of debt distress. The war in Ukraine and tighter financial conditions in 2022 have added further to public debt pressures, putting at risk the sustainability of the public debt of some economies and jeopardizing the prospects of meeting ambitious investment needs for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Chapter 3 finds that primary deficit is the key driver contributing to higher public debt in Asia and the Pacific.

Read Chapter 3

Chapter 3 | Public debt profiles of Asia-Pacific economies

Chapter 3 | Public debt profiles of Asia-Pacific economies

Chapter 4 makes a case for policymakers in Asia and the Pacific and the international development community to rethink how public debt assessment should be undertaken, especially keeping in view the 2030 Agenda. It does so by proposing an augmented approach to analyse public debt sustainability in the long term.

Read Chapter 4

Chapter 4 | Rethinking public debt sustainability analysis for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Chapter 4 | Rethinking public debt sustainability analysis for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Post-pandemic macroeconomic realities put Asia-Pacific countries in a policy dilemma of mounting sovereign borrowing costs and debt sustainability concerns on one hand and persistent demand for public investment to foster economic recovery and sustainable development in the long run on the other. The three policy actions discussed can enhance sovereign debt sustainability without sacrificing essential public spending and sustainable development investment.

Read Chapter 5

Chapter 5 | Managing sovereign debt surges: policy considerations and options

Chapter 5 | Managing sovereign debt surges: policy considerations and options

Time to change policymakers' perceptions of public debt

ESCAP Public Debt Dashboard --  a one-stop shop to learn about public debt in Asia and the Pacific

 

Expert Group Meeting on Public Debt and Sustainable Financing in Asia and the Pacific, 28 November - 2 December 2022

East and North-East Asia Policy Dialogue | Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2023, 6 June 2023

South and South-West Asia Policy Dialogue | Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2023: Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 8 June 2023

South-East Asia Policy Dialogue | Public Debt in Southeast Asia: Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 14 June 2023

National Policy Dialogue: Cambodia | Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 13 July 2023

ADB-ESCAP seminar on the Survey 2023 | Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 15 August 2023

North and Central Asia Policy Dialogue | Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2023: Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 7 September 2023 

DCO-ESCAP seminar on the Survey 2023: Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 19 September 2023

National Policy Dialogue: Sri Lanka | Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 26 September 2023

National Policy Dialogue: Mongolia | Rethinking Public Debt for the Sustainable Development Goals, 10 October 2023

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