Side Event Financing for Development Follow-up in the Asia-Pacific region: Agenda for implementation of regional priorities 18 April 2016

Side Event Financing for Development Follow-up in the Asia-Pacific region:  Agenda for implementation of regional priorities 18 April 2016

escapicon28aprAsia-Pacific countries reaffirmed the importance of a regional action-oriented follow-up plan for financing the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development

Asia-Pacific countries have participated at the special high-level side event which was jointly organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Korea at the margin of the inaugural ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development being held here in New York from 18-20 April 2016.

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP informed the participants on the outcomes of the first High-level Follow-up Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific, which was held in Incheon, 30-31 March 2016 in the Republic of Korea.

“At the first regional follow-up meeting in Incheon, Asia-Pacific countries highlighted six areas to undertake concrete regional action plan to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, namely, setting up of the Asia-Pacific Tax Forum; enhancing regional cooperation initiatives for the development of capital markets; highlighting the importance of a regional infrastructure financing forum; requesting ESCAP to work with networks to promote financial inclusion; exploring the possibility of a regional centre in the Pacific to address climate change issues, especially for small island developing States; and suggesting that countries with special needs should establish a focal point within one of their ministries to deal with South-South cooperation and triangular development cooperation”, said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

Mr. Oh Joon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations and Seventy-first President of the Economic and Social Council emphasised that “I invite all of you to be part of the discussion on how to successfully deliver our commitments at the ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum. We need your collective will and wisdom in our journey to sustainable development which will leave no one behind”.  “We have also embarked on a new, forward-thinking partnership with the private sector to engage our resources and ideas into development cooperation”, said Mr. Joon.

Mr Bambang P.S. Brodjonegoro, Minister of Finance of Indonesia explained in the context of Asia-Pacific Tax Forum and international tax cooperation that “We all understand on how important it is for countries to have the capacity to increase their domestic resources. Revenues from taxes are the primary source for us, the government, to drive our economy”.  “Indonesia again reiterates its support to the effective implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Plan and will play an active role in any initiative towards it”, said Mr. Bambang.

Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Fiji reiterated the importance of setting up a new regional center to address the growing challenges of Climate Change for SIDS in the Pacific region, which could provide support to the “capacity building both at the country level and the ministerial level, so that a government can identify and allocate resources by itself. Collaboration between countries thus becomes an attractive and feasible approach in which countries may assist each other in capacity building and financial and climate-adaptation development.”

“Asia-Pacific region shares certain peculiarities, risks, and opportunities which bring us together. If we further build on this foundation and enhance our work towards formulating approaches and achieving solutions in supporting each of our country-led 2030 development agenda, then the prosperity of our people and region will be assured” said Mr. Roberto B. Tan, National Treasurer, Bureau of the Treasury, Philippines.

Mr. Christiaan Rebergen, Vice-Minister for International Cooperation, Netherlands highlighted that growing possibilities of “sharing the Netherlands expertise with coastal and water facilities projects. The Netherlands has already led public-private coalition efforts within the Asia-Pacific region for infrastructure, coastal protection, dams, dykes, and waterline management projects with a total cost over $40b – and is therefore well-positioned to contribute further in the future”.

Ms. Azeema Adam, Governor, Maldives Monetary Authority highlighted the “foremost importance of financial inclusion in shaping economic activity for sustainable development, while empowering of women and families depends on economic involvement that also depends on access to finance”. This issue was further emphasised by Mr Norbert Mumba, Deputy Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion: “faster financial inclusion creates faster economic sustainable growth, which also alliances very well with the goal of AAAA”.

In the context of thematic areas of the Asia-Pacifc Tax Forum, Mr. Vito Tanzi, Former State Secretary for Economy and Finance, Italy explained the significance of “a comprehensive review of tax codes and tax evasion measures, and that financial surveillance and the exchange of information is the leading role of states”.

Ms. Katherine Maloney, Director, UN Global Account, KPMG noted that “for private sector to involve, an action orientated framework is important. The priority of leveraging fund for long-term infrastructure investments should be focused more. Private sector is seeking partnership and mechanisms regarding policy and government”.

Ms. Lidy Nacpil, Regional Coordinator, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development empathised the issue to “urge governments to work on the problem of illicit financial flow”, and “to demand more from the global Financing for Development Forum”

Dr. Akhtar also delivered the keynote presentation on behalf of the five regional commissions at the inaugural segment of the FfD Forum, where she urged that the “global follow-up and review processes should more comprehensively recognise the role of  the five Regional Commissions, which are all contributing to and engaged in deliberations with member States, providing policy advice and offering capacity building in critical areas, in particular including through emerging platforms to strengthen domestic resources”.

 CHAIR’S SUMMARY First High-level Follow-up Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific