31 October 2017
ESCAP Report Highlights Innovative Financing Mechanisms in Asia-Pacific to Advance SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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An ESCAP report titled, ‘Innovative Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific: Government policies on impact investment and public finance for innovation,’ examines experiences in the Asia-Pacific region on innovative financing mechanisms.

It covers: strategic leadership models that promote impact investing; policies that unlock corporate investment for development; private sector financing products for development; innovative public financing models for science, technology and innovation; and systemic approaches to finance and innovation for development.

23 October 2017: Governments must adopt innovative financing models to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the Republic of Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), a policy think tank in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI).

The report titled, ‘Innovative Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific: Government Policies on Impact Investment and Public Finance for Innovation,’ was launched on 23 October. It examines experiences in the Asia-Pacific region on innovative financing mechanisms in five areas: strategic leadership models that promote impact investing; policies that unlock corporate investment for development; private sector financing products for development; innovative public financing models for STI; and systemic approaches to finance and innovation for development. This publication provides case studies to illustrate developments in each of these areas that can help policymakers evaluate the potential of different initiatives.

ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar urges implementing innovations that divert private capital towards development objectives to “help bridge the SDG financing gap,” which is estimated to be an annual US$2.5 trillion.

In her foreword, ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar urges implementing innovations that divert private capital towards development objectives to “help bridge the SDG financing gap,” which is estimated to be an annual US$2.5 trillion. She says the report aims to “spark ideas” and knowledge sharing to motivate further action to develop financing solutions for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Akhtar also notes that, in order to realize the full potential of STI, a critical means of implementing the SDGs, policies and business approaches with supportive innovative financial models are required.

The case studies highlighted in the report include:

  • India’s Impact Investment Council, a self-regulatory body to develop government policies, regulations and standards on impact investing, which will contribute to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals);
  • Singapore’s Women’s Livelihood Bond, which aims to raise capital in support of women’s livelihoods and will help advance SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 and SDG 17;
  • the Social Outcomes Fund in Malaysia, which directs public funding for innovation towards social enterprises in marginalized communities, and will contribute to SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 8; and
  • the Seoul metropolitan government’s implementation of innovative ‘social economy’ policies and financing mechanisms, which will contribute to SDG 8, SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 10 (reduced inequality), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 17.

Other case studies, all of which contribute to various SDGs, include: a corporate social responsibility law in India; the Singapore Green Labeling Scheme; unclaimed property legislation in Japan; a National Insurance Trust Fund in Sri Lanka; research and development policy in the Republic of Korea; an initiative that aims to provide every person in India with a bank account, a unique identification number and mobile connectivity; and a Thai Social Investment Taskforce.

The report recommends that governments: develop an impact investing roadmap to guide development of an innovative financing movement to promote SDG strategies; provide private sector incentives to move towards impact investments that generate social, environmental and financial returns; leverage knowledge networks on innovative financing; and adopt a regulatory framework that supports innovative financing to achieve the SDGs. [Innovative Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific] [Publication Landing Page] [ESCAP Press Release]

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