Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 78th Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta Province, May 23, 2022
Your Excellency Executive Secretary of the UNESCAP and delegates.
First of all, congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the UNESCAP. This moment is important in the midst of the region’s efforts to get out of the big challenges caused by pandemics, climate change, and war.
First, the economies of a number of Asia-Pacific countries have not yet recovered, still below pre-pandemic levels, 70 percent of the total new unemployment occurs in our region and 85 million people have fallen back into extreme poverty. Second, regional economic growth this year, as predicted by the IMF, fell 0.5 percent to 4.9 percent. Inflation is also forecasted at 8.7 percent, rises by 2.8 percent from the original estimation. Third, the achievement of the SDGs is getting delayed. It is estimated that our region will only reach the SDGs in as early as 2065, and according to the Global Climate Risk Index, six of the ten countries most affected by climate change in the long term are in Asia-Pacific.
In respond to this challenge, I fully support the UNESCAP’s efforts to advance “A common agenda to advance sustainable development”. Let me share some views.
First, the handling of the pandemic must continue and the vaccination gap in the region must be closed. This region has countries with both the highest and lowest vaccination achievements in the world. The success of vaccination determines the reactivation of the national economy and connectivity with the world economy. The UNESCAP can support the establishment of a regional network of vaccine production and distribution facilities, overcome logistical challenges, and shorten supply chains.
Second, funding for SDGs acceleration must be strengthened. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that it will take US$1.5 trillion annually to ensure the SDGs are achieved in Asia-Pacific by 2030, but global funding availability is only US$1.4 trillion. This huge gap must be closed. Private sector investment must be encouraged. Although Asia-Pacific is the largest region for inbound and outbound foreign investment, the value of investment to the region itself is still small. UNESCAP needs to encourage the strengthening of intra-regional investment, support ease of doing business, promotion and business matching among member countries. Innovative funding needs to be promoted. UNESCAP’s collaboration with the ADB and other funding agencies is highly expected. Indonesia itself is promoting a variety of innovative funding including SDG Indonesia One, Green Sukuk, and the Carbon Economy.
Third, new sources of growth must be strengthened. Digitalization, MSME empowerment, and green growth are our common future. Optimization of trade digitization will cut trade costs in the region by at least 13 percent. MSME access to financial inclusion and regional supply chains needs to be encouraged. Support for green growth efforts is urgently needed, including the energy transition, and tax capacity need to be strengthened, including carbon taxes.
We use Indonesia’s G20 presidency to fight for the interests of developing countries, especially in the fields of health, digital transformation, and energy transition. We are grateful for UNESCAP’s support and contribution in this endeavor. By working together, we can accelerate the recovery of the region and the world towards a sustainable future.
Recover together, recover stronger.
I thank you.