Sustainable Development Goals

ADB works to help realize the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity and peace for all.

Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: Your Questions Answered


Where is the huge amount of financing coming from that is needed to help ADB’s developing member countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Financing for the SDGs comes mainly from government resources, development assistance, private finance, philanthropy, and from IFIs/MDBs. However, the annual SDG financing gap for developing countries is vast; estimated at $4.2 trillion globally by the OECD and $1.5 trillion in Asia-Pacific by ADB. This makes increasing private sector investment in line with national SDG goals and targets a priority.

The increase in such private investment for the SDGs is a welcome recent trend, but far more is needed. ADB and other MDBs continue to increase financing and expand financial tools and modalities to help reach the SDGs.


Broadly, where is the region at in terms of realistically achieving the SDGs by 2030?

Asia and the Pacific, like other regions, is not on track to achieve the SDGs and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the outlook bleaker still. The expected year for the achievement of the SDGs in the region is now 2065, according to UNESCAP. Progress differs across goals; Asia and the Pacific has made tangible progress on Goal 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, as well as Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy. But the region has regressed on Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production, as well as Goal 13, the important goal on climate action.


How has the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine impacted on progress towards the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific?

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine have created a series of compounded crises that have reversed decades of development gains and are severely threatening progress on the SDGs. These crises have increased vulnerability and exclusion. Central and West Asia region has been affected the most, while higher fuel and food prices are pervasive throughout the entire region, contributing to increased living costs.

The pandemic has set back the fight against poverty in Asia and the Pacific by at least two years. Government fiscal space has shrunk with severe implications for public service delivery and major social sectors such as health and education. ADB emergency financing is helping its DMCs weather the crisis. As of October 2022, ADB had committed $33.64 billion for its COVID-19 response, across 304 projects.


How does ADB mobilize finance from the private sector in the drive towards the SDGs?

ADB mobilizes development finance from the private sector and crowds in private capital through credit enhancement products, third-party funding platforms for co-investment, and public-private partnerships (PPPs). In 2021 ADB mobilized $8 billion of cofinancing from the private sector. ADB supports private sector investment aligned with the SDGs in agribusiness, education, health, energy, environment, transport, and ICT.

ADB also supports DMC governments through capacity building and knowledge in the area of mobilizing private finance for sustainable development. The bank also helps DMCs structure innovative financing instruments and vehicles that can crowd in private capital.


In what ways does knowledge sharing help ADB developing member countries in their quests to reach the SDGs by 2030?

ADB’s knowledge sharing provides expertise to DMCs across all sectors and themes that are aligned with the SDGs. This can be products or knowledge that are blended with financing operations to improve the latter’s efficacy. This may include developing national or sectoral strategies (and integrating the SDGs into them) or knowledge on management of resources and finance for the SDGs.

In other cases, ADB shares knowledge on a specific SDG area, such as water management or education. Knowledge also boosts cooperation through sharing best practices between DMCs, leading to greater SDG acceleration. ADB knowledge sharing helps its DMCs better implement the SDGs, through increased public and private financing, stronger institutional coordination, and improved systems.


The SDGs seem so broad and wide, would it not be better to just focus on a few, rather than commit to achieving them all, which is a tall order, even for middle income countries?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the global plan of action—and the SDGs are an integrated agenda. The 17 goals, 169 targets and 231 indicators are mutually interconnected, so progress on one has implications for many others. Improving Goal 3 on health outcomes, for example, has benefits for Goal 4 on quality education and Goal 1 on reducing poverty, and Goal 10 on reducing inequality.

Reaching the SDGs requires integrated approaches spanning all sectors, themes and societal needs. ADB’s commitment to green, resilient, sustainable, and inclusive development necessitates support for the entire SDGs framework as a means of building stronger societies in a holistic manner.


Have you seen evidence of ADB member countries renewing their focus on the SDGs as the economic and social impact of COVID-19 lessens?

The region is embarking on a sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to chart a new course towards growth and development and has increased awareness of sustainability, for example in green energy transitions. Knowledge of the importance of the SDGs has also grown, and this is emerging within DMC national development strategies.

The SDGs provide an ideal compass to which to align recovery efforts, both for specific sectors and as an overarching framework for a country’s recovery. ADB is actively supporting member countries in their efforts to embed the SDGs within these efforts. The SDGs continue to gain interest within the private sector as a framework for measuring and managing impact. This activity is set to grow and ADB continues to support it through financing and knowledge.


The SDG challenge is huge and ADB’s resources are limited, how do you prioritize where the bank can have the most impact?

ADB supports achievement of all the SDGs and integrates its expertise across sectors and themes to address complex development challenges. There are some areas where ADB has significant impact due to its long operational experience, and these continue to be priorities. These include infrastructure in energy, transport, water, etc., or domestic resource mobilization to enable DMCs to increase their own revenues.

ADB’s Strategy 2030 helps it prioritize help where the impact and need are greatest. Its emergence as Asia’s climate bank is an example, with commitments to deliver $100 billion of climate finance between 2019 and 2030. Food security is emerging as a key area of focus given the context of the pandemic, climate change and the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Given its sovereign and non-sovereign financing portfolios, ADB can bring impact in the area of public-private partnerships. This is a growing area for ADB, with significant potential impact on SDG attainment through capital mobilization.

ADB's Support for the Sustainable Development Goals

Book cover: ADB's Support for the Sustainable Development Goals - Enabling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through Strategy 2030

This report explains ADB's approach to integrate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets into its strategies, programs, and financing under Strategy 2030.


Profile Photo: Lu She
Lu Shen

Director, Results Management and Aid Effectiveness Division

Profile Photo: Smita Nakhooda
Smita Nakhooda

Principal Results Management Specialist