Challenge lies in bridging SDG financing gap: President

FE REPORT | Published: December 11, 2019 16:58:42 | Updated: December 12, 2019 13:00:29

President Abdul Hamid (centre, seated), Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal (third from right, front row), ICC, Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman (third from left, front row) and others seen at the inaugural session of 'The Asia Pacific Conference on Financing Inclusive and Sustainable Development' at a city hotel on Tuesday— PID

President Md Abdul Hamid said on Tuesday the main challenge for Bangladesh as well as other developing countries is to fill the financing gap before achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is not possible for a single country to mobilise the required financing without active mutual cooperation among the nations, he said.

"Domestic resource mobilisation coupled with enhanced participation of private sector and effective international development assistance can help ensure the required financing," he said.

The President made the observations at the inaugural ceremony of the Asia-Pacific Conference on 'Financing inclusive and sustainable development.'

The International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) is organising the three-day conference at a city hotel in collaboration with the government of Bangladesh, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Asian Development Bank-Trade Finance Programme (ADB-TFP) and the London Institute of Banking and Finance.

The conference, scheduled for December 10-12, is being organised on the occasion of celebrating 100 years of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) globally as well as 25 years of the ICCB.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, and private industry and investment adviser to the Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman attended the inaugural programme as special guests.

ICCB President Mahbubur Rahman delivered the welcome speech while its vice president Rokia Afzal Rahman delivered the vote of thanks at the programme.

Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbaba also spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

Former UN secretary general Dr Ban Ki-moon and UN secretary general Anto'nio Guterres sent two video messages for the inaugural ceremony.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Mr Hamid stressed the need for proper utilisation of resources to meet the development Agenda 2030.

He said the conference is a timely initiative taken by the Bangladesh chapter of the ICC.

At the programme, Mr Hamid also launched a booklet titled 'Asia-Pacific conference on Financing inclusive and sustainable development."

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said concerted efforts of the world community are required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He also focused on addressing the climate change vulnerability of Bangladesh.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said mobilising the domestic resources through imposing wealth tax, combating tax evasion and strong partnership between the government and private sector is required to arrange funds for implementing SDGs.

UN secretary general Anto'nio Guterres, in his video message, laid emphasis on supporting women entrepreneurs and micro-level businesses.

Former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said financial inclusion can help achieve the SDGs.

ESCAP Under-Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbaba said innovative ways should be explored to mobilise financial resources to implement the SDGs.

She focused on addressing three issues including mobilising additional domestic resources, infrastructure financing and enhancing financial inclusion using technology.

ICCB President Mahbubur Rahman said mobilisation of sufficient funds to achieve SDGs is a major challenge, especially for least developed countries (LDCs).

According to the UNESCAP estimation, financing SDGs would require an additional investment worth USD 1.5 trillion per year in the Asia and Pacific region, which is 5.0 per cent of the GDP in the Asia Pacific countries, he said.

He said almost one-fourth of the time of implementing the 2030 development agenda has already been spent.

The LDCs would have to spend 16 per cent of GDP to finance the SDGs, he said.

This clearly suggests, in addition to national efforts, the regional needs to strengthen cooperation for facilitating the achievement of SDGs through adequate resource mobilisation for all countries in the region, he said.

SDG financing needs unprecedented collaboration and cooperation between public and private sectors, facilitated by multilateral development banks, he said.

About 100 delegates from 30 countries are attending the conference.


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