Domestic revenues key to achieving SDGs in Asia and the Pacific

20 Jul 16

Strengthening domestic revenues and finding new financing tools will be key to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific, panellists at a United Nations forum have said.

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Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city

 

The comments were made by government ministers and representatives of the private sector and civil society at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development currently being held in New York. It is the first event to track the progress of the SDGs.

The panellists agreed that increasing traditional domestic revenue streams and those from new, innovative finance mechanisms will be key to implementing the SDGs in the region.

“Sustainable financing requires all countries to strengthen their public financial management by tapping all public funding sources and reorienting expenditure to leave no one behind,” said Shamshad Akhtar, UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

She stressed that tackling the region’s low tax-to-GDP ratios was critical. These were, she said, caused by structural weaknesses in tax policy and poor collection rates, low capitalisation of markets and poor financial inclusion.

It will require a strong political commitment to provide banking services to more than two billion adults currently without access around the world, she added.

Oh Joon, ambassador and the permanent representative of South Korea to the UN, agreed that the region should work to realise its tax potential, as well as to nurture the private sector and the development of south-south aid.

“The region has donors as well as middle-income and least developed countries, making it suitable for south-south cooperation,” he said. “The growing private sector of the region can also be tapped in to.”

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