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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

17 September 2023

ESCAP ES

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you all to this session on "Scaling up gender-lens financing: A catalytic tool for advancing all SDGs."

Gender equality and women's empowerment are not only essential for achieving inclusive and sustainable development but also strategically wise decisions for businesses for the private sector.

Advancing women’s equality in the Asia-Pacific region alone could add as much as $4.5 trillion, a 12 per cent increase to the region’s GDP annually by 2025. 

This shows the opportunity if we scale up and support women’s equality and women’s empowerment, especially in our region.

In addition, scaling up gender-lens financing is critical to achieving the SDGs. It is a cross-cutting agenda that - when integrated into financing and investment activities – has the potential to accelerate progress across all the Goals.

However, women continue to face significant barriers to accessing finance and attracting investment, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to a recent report by the Asian Development Bank, the financing gap for women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing Asia is estimated at $1.5 trillion.

At ESCAP, over the past few years, we have been supporting government policy and innovative financing solutions for women entrepreneurs through our Catalyzing Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative, which has been generously funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Through this initiative, with our partners – many of whom are in the room today – we have directly improved the situation for more than 176,000 women entrepreneurs and unlocked significant amounts of capital.

However, so much more needs to be done. Realizing the potential of gender-lens financing will require systemic change and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

That is why we have brought together some of the leaders in this field from government, development organizations, the private sector and civil society to discuss how we can chart a path together to mainstream gender-lens financing.

This event today is also an opportunity to learn from each other's experiences and innovations as well as to forge new partnerships and collaborations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for joining us today.

I look forward to insightful contributions, constructive conversations, and most importantly, the advancement of partnerships and solutions to drive tangible action to scale up gender-lens financing for the SDGs.

Thank you very much

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