Closing Statement at Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development

Delivered at Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development in Bangkok, Thailand


Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past few days your commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been clear. You have agreed on a set of actions for your secretariat, given clear direction to sub-programme 1, and helped drive forward a regional approach to financing for development. I would like to thank the Chair and members of the Bureau for their work and admirably clear report. It confirms financing for development issues lie at the heart of our push to make economies stable, inclusive and sustainable. To effectively support the 2030 Agenda, we need to enhance synergies and pursue in an integrated manner our analytical work on macroeconomic assessment, policies to reduce poverty, and strategies to finance sustainable development.

Let me briefly mention the areas you have identified for future work.

You endorsed a proposal to develop an Asia-Pacific network of national PPP units and infrastructure financing specialists to share best practices, experiences and knowledge products, and asked the secretariat to take the lead establishing this network. To promote SME financing, the secretariat will work on preparing national studies in partnership with regional and global stakeholders, and in consultation with member states. And to support a regional dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building on domestic resource mobilization issues, collaboration with other multilateral organizations and relevant institutions will be strengthened. We would like to work with public finance institutions, institutions focusing on tax policy and think tanks to strengthen our macroeconomic modeling and debt sustainability analysis. By incorporating these initiatives into the work of sub-programme 1, our ability to achieve the objectives of the Regional Roadmap is strengthened, as is our capacity to monitor progress on financing for development issues in the region. It will help channel regional experiences into a global approach to financing for development. The need to raise awareness and understanding of policy options has been recognised, particularly in the areas of domestic fiscal resource mobilisation; infrastructure financing; and financial market development. We need to build a strong tax culture and ensure public support for tax reforms – in part by increasing transparency in tax disclosure, by linking revenue measures to social expenditure policies and by avoiding a race to the bottom in terms of internal tax competition.

You have mandated us to undertake analytical work on poverty and inequality reduction strategies. This will further mainstream Goal 1 and Goal 10 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into ESCAP’s work. Suggestions to reorient analytical work on macroeconomic policies, with a focus on a more proactive role for fiscal policy, the strengthening of public finances and the leveraging of private finance to enlarge the pool of sustainable development finance, is a good example of how we can exploit synergies across our work to effectively pursue the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

Your report provides guidance on how to step up our support to countries with special needs. Member States renewed their commitment to these countries by highlighting the importance of capacity-building activities and analysis to support the graduation from the category of least developed countries, the structural transformation of economies, and access to international financial resources. We are committed to stepping up our work in collaboration with relevant UN agencies and development partners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, especially Goals 1 (eradicating poverty), 10 (reducing inequality) and 17 (harnessing partnership).

ESCAP is already collaborating closely with the UNDP and FAO on poverty and inequality issues to promote inclusive development. We are also working with UN DESA-CDP, OHRLLS and UNCTAD on various activities which are related to the Global programme of actions for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. On financing for development, we are in the process of strengthening our collaboration with UNDESA-FFDO, ADB and OECD, particularly on domestic resource mobilization issues. Over the past few years, we have developed partnerships with various national institutions in areas such as PPP (China, Republic of Korea, Myanmar and the Philippines), financial inclusion (Republic of Korea) and LDCs graduation (Bhutan, Lao PDR and Cambodia).

For Agenda item 5, the “Consideration of the future focus of the subprogramme”, we understand that member States need more time to carefully consider the suggested updates to the Committee’s terms of reference. These updates were suggested to better align the Committee’s mandate with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for Financing for Development, and the regional roadmap for implementing the 2030 Agenda. We stand ready to support the financing for development agenda in Asia and the Pacific region. In this regard, we will continue to engage with member States to facilitate the aligning of financing strategies with national macroeconomic policies and poverty reduction measures, and related actions to address emerging development challenges.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to the Committee Bureau for skillfully guiding deliberations, for the clear recommendation on the future direction of this Committee and to participants for their valuable contributions. Special thanks are owed to the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Bureau for their leadership. I would also like to thank the ESCAP secretariat staff who have worked hard to make this first session of the Committee a success.

I wish you all a very safe journey home.