Speech by Shixin Chen, ADB Vice President (Operations 1), at the Ministerial Panel of the 9th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development on the theme building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, 28 March 2022

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m glad to join you for this important discussion. It is heartening to hear of the efforts under way to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
ADB is committed to helping our developing member countries build back toward the SDGs. We value our partnerships with the UN system to accelerate progress in implementing the SDGs and overcoming the setbacks. We are deepening our support to countries on SDG implementation, alongside work to strengthen national climate action. 
Investing in people. Inclusion and empowerment are at the heart of the SDG framework, since the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities of the poorest. 
That’s why social protection finance has been a focus of our COVID-19 support programs. We have a longstanding commitment to scale up finance for these systems, which will continue through post-pandemic recovery. We have sought to ensure that our COVID-19 response programs targeted the poor, and women. An estimated 1.1 billion people benefited from support under emergency social protection schemes, at least half of whom were women. 
The pandemic reinforced gender inequalities in our region. Under the Asian Development Fund 13, ADB created a thematic pool focused on the six targets of the SDG 5 transformative agenda including eliminating violence against women and ensuring women’s participation in decision-making and leadership. 
The pandemic disrupted access to education across the region, adding to a pre-existing learning crisis. ADB supports the diverse learning needs of our region, responding to people’s changing lifelong needs. We aim to scale up our commitments to education sector to approach 10% of our total financing by 2024.
Protecting the planet and promoting green recovery. We also created a thematic pool in support of regional public goods, with a focus on environmental protection and sustainable management of shared natural resources, particularly ocean health, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and regional health security. 
In 2021 we announced our ambition to deliver a cumulative $100 billion in climate change finance by 2030 in direct support of SDG 13 (climate action). In addition, we committed to aligning 100% of our operations with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
We have also fostered and participated in growing green bond markets. Since launching its green bond program in 2015, ADB has raised more than $10 billion to support mitigation and adaptation projects while enhancing environmental sustainability. 
Rising to the financing challenge. The fiscal challenges created by the pandemic have only added to the imperative to address macroeconomic and financial management fundamentals, while strengthening domestic resource mobilization in our DMCs. 
Adopting more tailored and cost-effective tax incentives and administration systems is critical. Tax policy can also be designed to advance the SDGs: for example, governments can adopt a more progressive tax system to address the worsening income inequality due to COVID-19. Carbon and environmental taxes can also incentivize green recovery.
These issues are central to ADB’s work. Last year, we launched a new regional hub on domestic resource mobilization and international tax cooperation. ADB is also supporting countries to tap the capital markets to meet their financing needs by issuing green, social, and sustainability bonds. 
In conclusion: While the future remains uncertain, we are seeing promising signs of recovery and normalization. ADB estimates the region will see 5.2% growth in 2022. We need to channel that growth toward green, inclusive, and resilient development. We need to sustain and maintain multilateral cooperation as we act to create the future we want.  Thank you.