A policy symposium organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) took place in the UN Headquarters in New York.
The discussions at the symposium “Developing Asia and the Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities for International Financial Institutions (IFIs)” were focused around the role international financial institutions play in the development of Asia and the Pacific region.
Despite significant progress in the Asia-Pacific region, the region still faces major challenges since most of the world’s poor reside here – 1.6 billion people in Asia and the Pacific still live under the $2 poverty line; a large number of poor are highly vulnerable to external shocks (including volatility in world prices of primary commodities); inequality remains a challenge; and the region still suffers from infrastructure deficit of $800 billion every year despite of a surplus in savings.
In this context, as noted at the symposium, capital markets and financial sectors will need to be strengthened. Going beyond financing, IFIs will need to extend support in the areas of innovation, knowledge sharing and provide leverage to the diverse and growing middle-income countries of the region.
It was also noted that in a changing world the IFIs will need to re-think their roles and how they will contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN is repositioning to be ‘fit for purpose’ to rise up to the emerging challenges ahead.
“International Financial Institutions have a long history of providing support to Papua New Guinea. The UN team in the country partners with them on many important issues,” said Roy Trivedy, UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea.
“While Papua New Guinea has experienced economic growth during the past decade, the results of this growth have yet to be effectively translated into meaningful improvements in the well-being of all citizens,” continued Mr Trivedy.
“The role of IFIs is very important in ensuring that investments lead to positive human development impacts. We stand ready to support these efforts in partnership with the IFIs, the Government of Papua New Guinea and others.”
Participants of the symposium – ambassadors and representatives of permanent missions to the UN – raised concerns relating to their specific national contexts, and suggested how IFIs can support them.
Among the issues raised were climate risks faced by Pacific Island countries, lack of real-time data for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals, and challenges related to finance for development.
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