Excellency, Mr. Arkom Termpitaya-Paisit, Minister of Finance of Thailand,
Mr. Ke Yongsheng, Permanent Representative of China to ESCAP,
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Seventh Meeting of the Infrastructure Financing and Public-Private Partnerships Network of Asia and the Pacific.
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the PPP Promotion Bureau of State Enterprise Policy Office under the Ministry of Finance of Thailand, the China PPP Center under the Ministry of Finance of China, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for their strong collaboration with ESCAP and for co-hosting today’s hybrid meeting with us in Thailand. I also appreciate everyone who has joined us both on-site and online today.
This is another year in the grips of a global pandemic, still ongoing although we see some positive development including here in Thailand and this Network event is also inevitably affected by it. We are meeting at a crucial time when our ability to achieve the goals we set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development still hangs in the balance.
In this region, Asia-Pacific, the combined risks of climate shocks, disasters and COVID-19 have disrupted as many as 122 million lives and livelihoods, severely impacted socially and economically and could cost more than $1.3 billion annually.
As governments struggle to address the immediate needs and put in place the steps to build forth better and greener, the financing gap that already existed prior to the crisis looms larger.
Already scarce resources and limited infrastructure services coupled with the severe socioeconomic impact of the crisis mean that no single source of finance will be enough.
For the much-needed investments in infrastructure development, governments are looking to accelerate the private sector’s engagement on mobilization through public-private partnerships.
The PPP Network itself was established four years ago and in the past two years as we know the COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time also the long standing climate change challenges as well as the most recent impact of the Ukrain crises as well as either at the crises. So, therefore, what lessons learned that we have observed especially the past few years as it relates also to development policies including infrastructure investment and development.
First, is the need to pay attention to inclusiveness or inclusivity to leave no one behind and especially the most vulnerable the most impacted severely socially economically by any crisis.
Second, is the need put resilience at the forefront. We see the impact of climate change, natural disasters and even both of these have exacerbated one another. So, how to build more resilience or resiliencies including in any infrastructure, investment and development. This is also in line with how we could best mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change.
Third, in terms of finance, we have seen especially now increasing that countries, governments especially grappling with the finance impact fiscal increasing physical burden for many countries especially developing countries which has it immediate impact ability to finance development programme projects including infrastructure. Therefore, in terms of infrastructure investment and development as well as the need for PPP, I hope this infrastructure financing PPP Network after it’s already four years establishment could provide lessons learned including successful PPP projects to make a project a certain to be attractive to the private sector to invest in those infrastructures. How to solve the issue commonly face infrastructure investment such as land procurement and risk mitigation, financial viability etc. Also, understand the 49 projects are being showcased so, therefore, in terms of priority projects the mix of energy. Infrastructure energy becoming very important globally and of course in our region. Energy become one of the most urgent priorities. Connectivity-related projects for ports, railways, and toll roads as well as one that would be very important especially in urban areas the waste management project so I don’t know if this one is being showcased in one of the 49 projects in our network.
I am looking forward to further deliberation discussion on the models of successful PPP for infrastructure coming out of this discussion as well as this network.
In closing, I would like to reiterate our commitment to strengthen this Network to further promote PPP and infrastructure development, connect the public and private sectors, to more successful PPP investment in Asia and the Pacific
I wish you a very successful meeting.
Thank you very much.