Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

Credit: Unsplash

This article was written for The European Sting by Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The opinions expressed in this article belong to our distinguished writer.


As the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the length and breadth of Asia and the Pacific, finance ministries are continuing their relentless efforts to inject trillions of dollars for emergency health responses and fiscal packages. With continued lockdown measures and restricted borders, economic rebound seems uncertain.

Compared to 2019’s economic situation, over the past six months, countries in Asia and the Pacific have been experiencing sharp drops in foreign exchange inflows due to declines in export earnings, remittances, tourism and FDI. This is worrying as policymakers are tackling difficult choices over how to prioritize development spending, while continuing to expand their squeezed fiscal space.

The United Nations is contributing through a global initiative on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, co-convened by Canada and Jamaica, to articulate a comprehensive financing strategy to safeguard the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Governments are united together to ensure that adequate financial resources are available to steer an inclusive, sustainable and resilient post-COVID recovery. In the Asia-Pacific region, several countries have already adopted financing plans in three key areas. They aim to address the challenge of diminished fiscal space and debt vulnerability; to ensure sustainable recovery, consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda; and to harness the potential of regional cooperation in support of financing for development.

The development arm of the United Nations in our region, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has recently launched its first-ever Regional Conversation Series on Building Back Better. We are joining forces with ministers, decision makers, private sectors and heads of international agencies to share collective insights in sharing pathways to resilient recovery from ongoing health pandemic and economic collapse.

To improve the fiscal space and manage high levels of debt distress, a growing call for extending the debt moratorium under global initiatives like the Debt Service Suspension initiative (DSSI) is timely. Central Banks can continue to keep the balance right of supporting the economy and maintaining financial stability. This further involves enhancing tax reforms and improving debt management capacities, while using limited fiscal space to invest in priority sectors. Exploring sustainability-oriented bonds and innovative financing instruments options such as debt swaps for SDG investment should be explored further.

In addition to economic considerations, the policy paradigm and financing architecture for recovery plans must mainstream affordable, accessible and green infrastructure standards, while promoting social equality and environmental sustainability principles as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. As we scale up the use of digital technology and innovative applications, the financing support of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) must go hand in hand with these national job-rich recovery strategies.

The Regional Conversation on Financing for Development highlighted that no country could take this agenda forward alone. Regionally coordinated financing policies can restart trade, reorganize supply chains and revitalize sustainable tourism in a safe manner. Thankfully, several countries in the region have valuable experiences to share. 

Across Asia and the Pacific, governments must pool financial resources to create regional investment funds in areas such liquidity funds for sustainability, funds for resilience and travel funds to relaunch our economies. Strengthening regional cooperation platforms to ensure that all countries receive an equitable number of doses of the vaccine on short notice to everyone everywhere is particularly essential. Without an end to the pandemic, the economic and social costs can’t be contained.

Through ESCAP, we can scale these efforts across the region, working closely with our member States, the private sector and innovators to build a collective financing response to mobilize the necessary additional resources. Together, we can chart financing strategies of Asia and the Pacific which can enhance societal well-being and economic resilience to future pandemics and crises. 

About the author

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Humanitarian aid: €24.5 million in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

Cities are at the heart of our journey to net zero. Here’s why

UN chief condemns attack targeting international forces in northern Mali

Data capture, not disclosure, is the way to meet our climate goals

Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law

President Juncker temporarily transfers portfolio responsibilities following departure of two Members of the European Commission

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

How to build public trust in a sustainable energy future

Consumer protection: Commission welcomes political agreement by Council on the Representative Actions Directive

Sustainable transport can’t just depend on batteries. Here’s why

Conference on the Future of Europe: preparations continue

Global initiative launched to keep top sports events safe from terrorism

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

EU long-term budget deal must be improved for Parliament to accept it

New energy Projects of Common Interest for the Energy Union built on European solidarity

How leaders can use ‘agile governance’ to drive tech and win trust

Trump’s self-centered politics unravels

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Commission launches new edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019

How we can win the war against antibiotic resistance

‘Maintain calm’ and ‘exercise patience’ UN envoy urges, as Nigeria heads to polls

The Recruitment of Children as Soldiers Explained

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

LGBTQ+: The social evolution of a minority

What is ‘circular denim’ and why are top brands redesigning jeans?

‘Abhorrent’ ambulance attack in Libyan capital imperils life-saving work, warns UN

Removing deadly mines means ‘new horizons and hope’, clears a path to SDGs, says UN chief

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

EU mobilises international donors to support Venezuelan refugees and migrants and countries in the region

Resolving Israel-Palestinian conflict, ‘key to sustainable peace’ in the Middle East: Guterres

Combatting terrorism: EP special committee calls for closer EU cooperation

This ceramic ink can 3D-print bones directly into a patient’s body. Here’s how

Tanzania’s Dual Burden

5 insights to guide ASEAN’s digital generation in a post-pandemic world

Children suffering ‘atrocities’ as number of countries in conflict hits new peak: UNICEF

Ageing: Looming crisis or booming opportunity?

UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders ready for talks with UN chief on improved relations

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Can climate change wait for the US to rejoin the Paris agreement?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Gamelab founder talks Apple TV, VR and monetisation

We need to talk about mental health at work, say employees

Hungary: Commission takes next step in the infringement procedure for non-provision of food in transit zones

This is the ever-changing state of the world’s top cities

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

How to outsmart bias when you’re recruiting

Hackers can use public USB chargers to steal personal data. Here’s what you need to know about ‘juice jacking’

EU integration: MEPs want to end permanent opt-outs from EU law

5 things you need to know about water

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

Commission launches debate on a gradual transition to more efficient and democratic decision-making in EU tax policy

Meet the man who drove from the Netherlands to Australia without visiting a gas station

Building a Climate-Resilient Future – A new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

UN study projects $32 billion loss for UK post no-deal Brexit

IMF launches a new offensive against Germany

‘Antagonistic gestures and accusations’ drown out Kosovo dialogue hopes, Security Council hears

More Stings?

Comments

  1. merci pour les infourmation

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: