Asia-Pacific leaders have agreed on measures to generate additional financial resources to tackle economic, social and environmental challenges in the region, at the First High-Level Follow-up Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific, in Incheon this week. The new regional follow-up framework provides a foundation for implementing the global Addis Ababa Action Agenda and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The forum was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government of the Republic of Korea from 30 to 31 March. More than 200 senior policymakers, from 41 countries, participated, with the meeting officially opened bythe Deputy Prime Minister and the ViceForeign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
"Asia-Pacific’s track record of achievements and the potential for unleashing both resource mobilization and private investment, give us confidence that the region will act to implement the Addis Agenda," said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar. "It will be important for the region to strategize to mitigate the downside risks that could complicate the development scenario if not effectively managed. Strong macroeconomic management, supported by productivity enhancement, will generate sufficient growth to facilitate effective resource mobilization.
"The region needs to develop a strategy to not only unleash its tax potential, but to deepen its capital markets to more effectively channel private funds into infrastructure development. It will also be important to deploy institutional investor’s funds to enhance the liquidity of capital markets, while offering the long-term funding needed for sustainable infrastructure," she added.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Yoo Il Ho, vowed to help Asia-Pacific countries to better engage the private sector for financing development: "To make sure private finance flows into developing countries, Korea will put its focus on policy advice and capacity building to improve the financial system and institution and to nurture capital markets of developing countries," said Mr.Yoo.
The participants identified a number of priority areas for action including setting up an Asia Pacific tax forum for sustainable development. "Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region have not been able to fully realize their potential due to their weak institutional foundation, inefficient tax administration, limited human capacity, and low tax compliance," emphasized Mr. Cho Tae Yeol, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. The proposed Asia-Pacific tax forum will serve as an inclusive and broad-based platform for dialogue and cooperation among countries on tax matters.