Remarks by Shixin Chen, ADB Vice President (Operations 1), at the launch event for the SDG Partnership Report 2022: Building Forward Together - Towards an Inclusive and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, 28 March 2022

Thank you, Ibu Armida Alisjahbana, for your presentation. I am pleased to join on behalf of ADB this launch of the 2022 SDG Partnership Report. We greatly value our collaboration with ESCAP and UNDP on this vital agenda. 

Even before the pandemic hit, we knew the financing demands of the SDGs were vast. As our joint report highlights, fiscal stresses and rising public debt have added to the challenge: we need to reinvigorate our commitment to financing the SDGs. 

First, we all recognize the need to create an enabling environment for private investment for the SDGs. The good news is that private sector interest in SDG-aligned investment has surged. We must capitalize on this momentum. The SDGs provide a common framework for a range of investment strategies. It has never been more urgent to mobilize development finance from a wider range of sources, particularly capital markets. The business case for investing in the SDGs must be made in bolder ways, using better data and impact metrics. Regional cooperation can also enable financing for the SDGs, through greater trade finance, SME finance, and digital finance. 

The second issue is taxation and domestic resource mobilization, as I highlighted at the prior APFSD panel. Fiscal reforms, particularly in the areas of taxation and public spending efficiency, will be essential to unlock finance for sustainable development. Regional tax cooperation has an important role to play in this context. Digitalization has enormous potential to support national tax reforms as well as regional tax cooperation and harmonization so countries can fully reap the benefits of the digital economy. 

Alongside raising revenues, we must address expenditures that may undermine the SDGs. We need to rationalize subsidies in key sectors, particularly energy and agriculture, that encourage reliance on fossil fuels, and enable inefficient consumption and production. We will need to continue to innovate to support a just transition to low carbon, climate resilient and nature positive development trajectories. 

In this context, in 2021 ADB joined with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to adopt joint high-level principles on how they will support such a just transition. We also issued a joint statement on nature, people and planet in which we committed to further mainstream nature into our work and promote “nature positive” investments reverse the drivers of nature loss and promote the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of nature and its services to people. 

Women’s empowerment and inclusive digitalization are also creating huge new opportunities to renew progress towards the SDGs. Our joint report features a wealth of ways in which diverse stakeholders in our region are trying to rise to these challenges. I look forward to hearing more from our panel on the many opportunities our region has to build back better for the SDGs. 

Key points for closing: 

Building forward together means propelling a green and inclusive recovery, with a focus on the needs of the most vulnerable. ADB will continue to strengthen its contributions to this imperative. 

Partnerships and collaboration are critical, and we look forward to driving forward the SDG financing agenda with ESCAP and UNDP to support countries to ‘’build forward together’’ for the SDGs.