Unlock regional savings to finance sustainable development, UN urges Asia-Pacific States

ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar. Photo: UN ESCAP

10 June 2014 – The private sector in the Asia-Pacific region holds $33 trillion which could help finance sustainable development, the United Nations economic and social office in the region said, calling for greater partnerships in the social and environmental sectors, and for a reworking of the region’s financial regulations.

“Investments in sustainable development could cost as much as $2.5 trillion per year to close the region’s infrastructure gaps, provide universal access to social protection, health, and education, and implement measures to mitigate climate change,” said Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Director of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Addressing public, private and civil society sectors of more than 30 countries at a high-level meeting in Jakarta, she explained that the $2.5 trillion needed “represents only 7.5 per cent of the $33 trillion held by affluent individuals in the region at the end of 2012.”

The Executive Secretary urged Governments to engage with private sector “by creating a better enabling environment and incentivizing appropriately to compensate for risks and returns.”

Specifically, she called on the policymakers and regulators of the region to work together with the private sector to improve the functioning of capital markets, institutions and regulatory frameworks, to foster the development of domestic institutional investors and to help build capacities especially in least developed countries and small island developing economies.

The two-day Asia-Pacific Outreach Meeting on Sustainable Development Financing is co-hosted by ESCAP and the Ministry of Finance, Republic of Indonesia. Discussions on sustainable financing options and proposals will be reported to the UN General Assembly.

As agreed by world leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the global development agenda is expanding beyond poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), incorporating issues such as infrastructure, social development, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation, for which it is critical to secure new and innovative sources of finance.


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