High-level side event at the 2017 ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum: Making finance work for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific

23 May 2017
New York, United States of America

High-level Side Event "Making finance work for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific"
23 May 2017 (Tuesday 13:15 – 14:30)
Conference Room CR11, United Nations, New York

Background:
A focused and workable framework for financing for development, as articulated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015, is an integral part and a key means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The AAAA also requests Regional Commissions to mobilize their expertise and existing mechanisms and work in collaboration with regional banks and organizations for effective development financing in Asia and the Pacific, with focus on thematic aspects of the AAAA (para 130).

In this vein, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has been supporting member States by holding high-level consultative dialogues for the past four years. These events have provided an opportunity to discuss various financing for development issues and build consensus around key priority areas for the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, ESCAP has successfully organized four consecutive annual regional high-level dialogues on financing for development to mobilize political support, generate broad consensus, leverage regional policy experiences and articulate regional priorities. In total, more than 80 finance ministers and central bank governors from the region shared their valuable perspectives with other participating country representatives, experts and stakeholders in these four events.

The first two high-level dialogues, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia in June 2014 and April 2015, contributed Asia-Pacific’s regional inputs to the global discussions towards the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development (AAAA) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The third high-level dialogue, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea in March 2016, reached broad consensus on a regional framework for the effective pursuit of the AAAA in Asia and the Pacific.

The most recent 4th High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific was held in Bangkok on 28-29 April 2017, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance of Sri Lanka. This meeting aimed to move beyond general discussions and focused on three priority issues: public finance policies and regional tax cooperation for sustainable development; financing for sustainable infrastructure development and the role of public-private-partnerships (PPPs); and the multifaceted challenge of financial inclusion and SME financing.

The participants at the meeting emphasized the importance of broad-based regional dialogue for tax cooperation and highlighted the potential of ESCAP to leverage its intergovernmental mechanisms for this purpose, in close collaboration with development partners. In addition to highlighting the importance of public finance, they underscored the need for stronger efforts in mobilizing private financing through public-private-partnerships and capital market development, and noted the potential values of an Asia-Pacific network of PPP units for knowledge sharing on country experiences. The participants also discussed the importance of financial inclusion and the new developments of SME financing in the form of FinTech, and called for capacity building on financial regulation so that an appropriate balance can be struck between financial inclusion and financial stability.

These key recommendations and other observations are summarized in the Chair’s Summary of the 4th High-Level Dialogue, which provides guidance for a forward looking action plan as part of the region’s pursuit of the AAAA and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Objectives:
The objective of the side event on “Making finance work for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific” is to highlight the salient features of the 4th High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific and to reflect further on capacity support and cooperation demands of Asia-Pacific developing countries, as articulated by the participants.

Priority issues:
- Public finance policies and regional tax cooperation for sustainable development
- Financing for sustainable infrastructure development and the role of public-private-partnerships (PPPs)
- The multifaceted challenge of financial inclusion and SME financing

Organization and participation:
The side event will be organized as a high-level panel discussion, which will be followed by an open discussion. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP will moderate the session. The panel will include finance ministers and experienced policy makers from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as senior experts from partner organizations and the private sector.

Member States, representatives of non-governmental organizations and the private sector and members of the media attending the inaugural ECOSOC FfD Forum are invited to attend.

Video - Making finance work for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific

Video - Peter Thomson (General Assembly President) at Making Finance Work for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific