Excellency Mr. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance of Thailand,
Distinguished participants, colleagues and friends,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to today’s launch of the 2023 edition of the ESCAP flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific. It is also the oldest flagship publication. It was first launched in 1947, the year ESCAP was established.
For the past nearly eight decades, the Survey has been providing policymakers with insightful analyses on emerging macroeconomic and socioeconomic challenges facing the region.
This year 2023, is particularly challenging, and we are far from realizing the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Chronic development and environmental deficits have been deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fiscal space needed to address these challenges has been severely affected, first by the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine and now historically high inflation and rising interest rates.
An increasing number of developing economies in the region are running high levels of public debt and experiencing rising public debt distress at a time when they need to invest heavily to ensure inclusive, resilient and sustainable well-being for all their people.
Focusing on public debt assessment, this year’s Survey offers new perspectives on how developing countries in the region can rise to the challenge of managing high public debt while stepping up financial investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It proposes an augmented approach to debt sustainability analysis that also incorporates national SDG financing needs and financing strategies, along with the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of public investment.
It also recommends sovereign debt restructuring that is neither too little nor too late for countries at high risk of debt distress and that is fair to both debtor countries and creditors.
I look forward to the support of the members of the media in disseminating the Survey’s important messages widely.
There is a need to promote greater public awareness of the need for urgent policy action to tackle the rising public debt distress while continuing to invest in the SDGs at national, regional and global levels.
Without further ado, I will now hand over to his excellency Mr. Termpittayapaisith for his remarks.