The article analyses the issue of socioeconomic disruption caused by the pandemic and response by regionally coordinated response to it.
- With continued lockdown measures and restricted borders, countries in Asia and the Pacific have been experiencing sharp drops in foreign exchange inflows due to declines in export earnings, remittances, tourism and FDI.
Financing 3 key areas by the U.N.
- The United Nations is contributing through a global initiative, Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
- The initiative aims at comprehensive financing strategy to safeguard the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Governments are united to ensure that adequate financial resources are available to steer an inclusive, sustainable and resilient post-COVID-19 recovery.
- In the Asia-Pacific region, several countries have already adopted financing plans in following three key areas.
- 1) To address the challenge of diminished fiscal space and debt vulnerability 2) To ensure sustainable recovery, consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda 3) To harness the potential of regional cooperation in support of financing for development.
Regional Conversation series by ESCAP
- The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has recently launched its first-ever Regional Conversation Series on Building Back Better.
- In this series ministers, decision-makers, private sectors and heads of international agencies participate.
- Their participation results in sharing of collective insights on sharing pathways to resilient recovery from health pandemic and economic collapse.
Debt Service Suspension initiative
- To manage high levels of debt distress global initiatives like the Debt Service Suspension initiative is timely.
- Central banks can continue to keep the balance of supporting the economy and maintaining financial stability.
- This further involves enhancing tax reforms and improving debt management capacities, while using limited fiscal space to invest in priority sectors.
- Exploring sustainability-oriented bonds and innovative financing instruments options such as debt swaps for SDG investment should be explored further.
- Policy paradigm must mainstream affordable, accessible and green infrastructure standards.
- We should also scale up the use of digital technology and innovative applications.
- The financing support of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises must go hand in hand with these national job-rich recovery strategies.
Role of regional cooperation
- Regionally coordinated financing policies can restart trade, reorganise supply chains and revitalise sustainable tourism in a safe manner.
- Across Asia and the Pacific, governments must pool financial resources to create regional investment funds.
- Role of egional cooperation platforms to ensure all countries receive an equitable number of doses of the vaccine is essential.
Through ESCAP, we can scale these efforts across the region, working closely with our member states, the private sector and innovators to build a collective financing response to mobilise the necessary additional resources.