Good public financial management ‘part of Asia’s new development agenda’

23 Sep 13
Better management of public money and services should be one of the next generation of development goals for the Asia-Pacific region, according to a United Nations-backed study

By Vivienne Russell | 23 September 2013

Better management of public money and services should be one of the next generation of development goals for the Asia-Pacific region, according to a United Nations-backed study.

The report, which has been co-authored by the UN’s Development Programme, its Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the Asian Development Bank, proposes 12 specific development goals for the post-2015 period. 

One of these should be ‘more accountable, transparent and effective government at both national and local levels for more capable and efficient management of public resources and service delivery’.

According to the report, the call for better governance emerged strongly from consultations held across Asia and the Pacific region.

‘As a goal area, this should be monitored with specific targets and indicators – as is already happening in some countries of Asia. It covers accountable, transparent and corruption-free public institutions, across all levels from the national to the local,’ the report stated.

‘Moreover, governments need to harness capacities to ensure peace and security. Without trust in public institutions of governance, the compact between people and states is under threat.’

The report, Asia-Pacific aspirations: perspectives for a post-2015 development agenda, was issued on September 20, 1,000 days before the deadline for the current set of Millennium Development Goals.

As well as improved governance and accountability, the list of new goals includes better gender equality, environmental responsibility, disaster risk reduction and health and quality education for all. They should also focus on eliminating poverty and hunger across the region.

According to the report, the Asia-Pacific regions remains ‘woefully off-track’ in meeting the current MDGs in basic areas such as hunger, health and sanitation. The region is home to two-thirds of the world’s poor and more than 60% of its hungry people. Fresh challenges are also emerging such as unplanned urbanisation, climate change and water scarcity.

Nicholas Rossellini, deputy director of UNDP’s regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific, said: ‘Basic inequities still persist in the Asia-Pacific region despite its remarkable record of pulling people out of poverty. The time is now for the region to tackle some of its serious areas of inequality: in education, health, food consumption, housing and safe drinking water.’

Kazu Sakai, director general of the ADB’s strategy and policy department, added: ‘The Millennium Development Goals have been a powerful tool for rallying global support around common objectives including poverty reduction.

‘The report proposes the inclusion of new goals on zero income poverty and zero hunger and malnutrition by as early as 2030, as part of a broad post-2015 agenda.’

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