A report published today by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests that Asia and the Pacific’s ability to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is further threatened by the convergence of numerous global problems.
The “Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals through Solutions at the Energy, Food and Finance Nexus” report describes a polycrisis that includes significant economic and social issues, such as the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the negative effects of climate change. This polycrisis has resulted in severe disruptions to energy, food, and finance systems in the region, exacerbating existing shocks and stresses and particularly affecting vulnerable groups.
According to ADB Managing Director General Woochong Um, the perfect storm created by the crises had caused significant damage to the global economy, impacted the livelihoods of millions of people in Asia and the Pacific, and hindered progress toward the SDGs. Despite this, he suggested that the situation could be used as an opportunity for change and a turning point toward a more secure future by spurring renewed momentum to transform food and energy systems. He also noted that countries would need to address immediate vulnerabilities while also prioritizing longer-term development objectives to emerge from the polycrisis and establish systemic resilience.
As per the report, if there is no significant progress in climate change mitigation, climate-related disasters will become more frequent and intense. To equip Asia and the Pacific to manage present and future crises, there will be a need for collaborative efforts from governments and non-state actors across regional, sub-regional, national, sub-national, and local levels, for promoting an all-encompassing transformation of energy, food, and finance systems.
The report recommends the expansion of technology, policy frameworks, and social innovations to enhance efficiency and yields, decrease environmental degradation, and provide value for farmers and consumers, to develop more sustainable and inclusive energy and food systems. The report highlights that, despite fiscal limitations, innovative financing solutions will be imperative.
The report recommends that governments should align national budget processes with the SDGs and explore novel sources of revenue to enhance investments in the SDGs.
The report also emphasizes the importance of expanding private sector financing for the SDGs by promoting the use of the SDG framework for impact measurement in investments. It also recommends lowering trade barriers regionally and subregionally to support food and energy security.
According to the press release, the ADB is committed to ending extreme poverty and achieving an Asia and the Pacific region that is wealthy, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.