The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and related targets in the Paris Agreement on climate change provide strong structures for the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in Asia and the Pacific.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa said this at a high-level event hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on Monday.
Focusing on financing for development during the pandemic and beyond in the region, Asakawa said, "We need to rebuild our economy and society with green, resilient, and inclusive measures."
"Investing in infrastructure that satisfies G20 quality infrastructure principles should be an important part of post-pandemic recovery packages. We also need to address worsened income inequality," he said, and, "ensure affordable, accessible, and high-quality education and health services."
The ADB president also said tackling these issues requires the mobilisation of even larger financial resources, anticipated before the pandemic, and to strengthen developing Asia's incentives to make SDG-compatible investments.
Asakawa suggested improving tax policy and administration, by broadening the tax base and closing loopholes created by the digital economy, and making the tax system more progressive to address income inequality.
He also called for introducing a carbon tax to drive economies towards an environmentally sustainable path.
Further, the ADB president recommended strengthening financial markets to enable countries to tap their domestic savings for long-term investments, too.
Finally, Asakawa proposed promoting thematic bonds such as gender, green and blue bonds to mobilise private financial resources to achieve key targets under the SDGs.
As highlighted by SDG 17, to design and implement these measures, "we must further promote international and regional cooperation" and public-private partnerships, Asakawa said.
To support its developing members amid the pandemic, ADB set up a comprehensive $20 billion package of support in April.
The package includes a new financing modality called the Covid-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO) through which it is providing quick-disbursing budget support to help governments finance crisis-related social protection programmes.