A Decade of Action: Enabling the SDGs - Bambang Susantono

Speech | 7 April 2021

Closing remarks by Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, at the The SDG Dialogues - A Decade of Action: Enabling the SDGs, 7 April 2021

Before I offer some closing remarks, I would like to thank all our distinguished panelists for their thoughtful insights and reflections during this dialogue. 

Since the SDGs were formally adopted, ADB has worked to support our developing members to make progress on achieving the targets. We continue to invest across our systems to refine and strengthen the links between development programs and the SDGs. As today’s discussion made clear, a multi-faceted approach is needed to continue to strengthen our development effectiveness. It is also clear that much more needs to be done. Our work during this Decade of Action will be critical if we are to deliver on the SDGs, despite the amplified challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our discussion today has highlighted the vital role that knowledge and partnerships play in working with our developing members if we are to move closer to achieving the ambitions of sustainable development. The SDGs are more than a government agenda. They involve all of us―whether development partners, civil society, academia, or the private sector. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Through ADB’s Strategy 2030’s seven operational priorities, we are taking on the issues at the very heart of the SDGs.  

ADB will continue to support policy dialogue on SDG-related issues and work actively on policy processes. These include our partnerships with ESCAP and UNDP to coordinate knowledge and data on the progress toward the SDGs. Just a few weeks ago, we launched our 2021 report, which highlighted the opportunities for greater regional cooperation and accelerated digitalization that can help countries recover from the pandemic and set the stage for more inclusive growth. We support efforts to localize the SDGs across the region, working with diverse sub-national stakeholders to move forward on the SDGs. 

We all know that public finance alone cannot meet the needs of the ambitious SDG agenda. Mobilizing finance from diverse sources, particularly the private sector, will be vital in getting closer to SDG targets. The fiscal stress caused by the pandemic response has simply added to this financial challenge. Aligning this private financing with the SDGs will be essential. And we must continue to innovate to help our developing members better harness and attract diverse sources of SDG-related finance. We can use our array of knowledge products, policy advice and technical assistance to make further headway on this agenda. This will include ADB Ventures and our innovative Green Financing Facilities, among others. 

Our own goal is to become an ever more effective knowledge institution. ADB’s recently approved knowledge management action plan, or KMAP, will allow us to optimally combine expertise with financing, to foster the innovations needed to progress on the SDGs. Drawing in new partners with new perspectives will be the key. For example, universities across our region are establishing SDG centers to consider the local dimensions of SDG works. Entrepreneurs are using the digital economy to create new opportunities for jobs and employment. We know that a big portion of MSMEs in our region are run by women and youth who have been severely affected by the pandemic. I am very proud to see that despite problems they face, many of them are developing new solutions to our region’s evolving challenges. We must tap and encourage this dynamism as we support country efforts to build forward better and achieve the SDGs.  

The dialogue today is just the beginning of a webinar series. I look forward to the rest of the series, and let me close by reading this quote which reflects the SDG spirit:
We leave no one behind.
We don’t turn back.
We pull each other up.

Thank you.