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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

23 November 2021


Yang kami hormati Bpk Ma'ruf Amin, Wakil Presiden Republik Indonesia,  

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,  

Assalamu’alaikum Wr Wb, 

It is indeed a great honour to deliver welcome remarks at this important annual conference on the Sustainable Development Goals.  

This year’s meeting takes on additional significance because based on ESCAP’s latest SDG Progress report it is found that the Asia-Pacific region is not on track to achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030. On its current trajectory, the region may achieve less than 10 per cent of the SDG targets.  

The COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters even more by requiring the emergency funding of urgent health and social protection expenses, while the collapse of tourism and travel and the disruption of supply chains had negative impacts on the economy and hence government revenues.  

As the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia has come under control and economic activity starting to pick up, now is the time to put all the effort in recovering better together, recovering in a more inclusive, resilient and towards a green and blue recovery. 

It is with this background in mind, our latest Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific proposes illustrative policy packages that aim to provide universal access to social services, close the digital divide and strengthen actions in climate and clean energy. 

Our estimates show that such a package could help reduce the number of poor people in the region by almost 180 million, cut carbon emissions by about a third and boost the potential output level by over 10 per cent in the long run. 

These policies are indeed feasible, but they require financing. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,  

COP 26 ended two weeks ago with a strong commitment to strengthening climate finance. 

In light of the existential nature of climate risks, I would like to highlight three important areas with high potential to generate additional public and private climate finance in the region. 

Firstly, we should make better use of climate-related financial disclosures from the private and financial sectors.  

It is important to adopt a uniform reporting framework such as the one proposed by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to ensure consistency across industries and countries.  

Consistent reporting will help investors direct their investments towards climate action solutions and manage risks associated with climate-related problems.   

It is also important to make such disclosures mandatory. New Zealand was the first country to require financial institutions to report climate-related financial disclosures by a new law in 2020, and Hong Kong is targeting 2025. It will be important for other countries to adopt similar mandatory reporting standards. 

Secondly, we can re-direct financing to investments in nature-based solutions. 

This approach mitigates climate change impacts, improves the resilience of both rural and urban areas, and enhances natural carbon sinks in the region.  

These investments will have significant socio-economic impacts and would boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery.  

We have success stories in the Asia-Pacific region. We have heard good examples about Indonesia’s Sovereign Islamic Securities and from the Tree Bank of Thailand. However, we need these examples to become mainstream investments throughout the region.  

Lastly, we must put a price on carbon.  

The cost of carbon hit a record 50 euros in June 2021 amidst the COVID-19 recovery, and it is expected to rise to 90 euros by 2030. That will have significant implications on trade relations for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  

ESCAP is currently studying and working with member States on the opportunities to apply carbon pricing instruments as an incentive to make the types of adjustment needed to decarbonize production and consumption and speed up the race to our ambition to reach net-zero by 2050. 

With these three financing strategy priorities in mind, ESCAP and the United Nations system stand ready to strengthen regional cooperation to support our members’ efforts to recover better together and achieve the SDGs.  

I wish you very productive deliberations and successful conference. 

Thank you very much.  

Wassalamu’alaikum Wr Wb 

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