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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

08 July 2020

Excellencies,

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the hopes and aspirations of our societies.

It means that scaling-up financing for development strategies and innovative tools are more vital than ever. 

Allow me to highlight three areas to focus in addressing developing countries’ financing challenges.

First, let me share some options on overcoming external financing situation including debt sustainability. While encouraging, measures to date have limitations and complementary measures are needed in developing countries. The most vulnerable countries such as least developed countries and middle-income countries need more comprehensive and lasting support towards debt sustainability.

We must enhance global financial safety nets such as IMF liquidity provision and regional and bilateral swap lines, in coordination with international financial institutions and multilateral development banks.  In this context, innovative proposals include debt swaps to channel debt service payments into SDG investments. Official creditors could also exchange debts to apply more concessional terms.

Second, let us scale-up investment as an enabler to stimulate job and wealth creation, create space for SMEs, improve inclusion of women and persons with disabilities, and build the framework for access to the digital economy. 

We must now invest more in frontier technologies in areas such as solar, wind, energy storage and energy efficiency. With the new opportunities to innovate and raise financing resources, governments can expand the scope of partnership with private sectors, innovators and industry leaders in scaling-up the sustainable energy transition and advance SDG 7.

Third, let us align the build back better principle within the context of sustainable financing strategies. To meet the growing financing needs and support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments need to strengthen both fiscal resources and leverage/re-direct private finance in support of sustainable development through the “greening” of financial systems.

We must encourage governments to engage businesses to contribute to the economic recovery with long-term resilience. Businesses are an integral part of the economic recovery strategies, as they produce and invest, as well as provide employment opportunities.

Excellencies,

Let me focus on three actions points to build back better for safeguarding SDGs during these challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic.

First, let us continue to prioritize people’s livelihood and job preservation/creation, with particular focus on low-income and vulnerable groups.

In addition to direct household support and strengthened social protection, temporary minimum income measures in country with the fiscal capacity could have greater effect in preserving jobs and protecting people’s livelihood.

Providing universal basic healthcare and social protection should be a medium-long term objective in the recovery.

Second, we must embed environmental sustainability in economic recovery policies.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Policy responses to cope with COVID-19 could and should simultaneously accelerate low-carbon transition and support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Policies need to shift towards more investments in renewable energy and improving energy efficiency, especially as renewable energy can create more jobs per unit of energy delivered than fossil fuels.

Third, let us strengthen regional cooperation as a response to this shared challenge and forge towards building back better.

We must strengthen regional cooperation to fight against the pandemic and to potentially play a greater role in securing the region’s sustainable development.

As we initiate our conversation to mark the UN75 anniversary, championing the spirit of cooperation must be our guiding principle in supporting member States to achieve the SDGs.

Thank you for your attention.  

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