United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Thematic Review of the 2020 high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) Inputs from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

1. Building and supporting transformative pathways

At the current rate, the Asia-Pacific region as a whole and none of its sub-regions, are on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the next decade. Although people are wealthier, better nourished and better educated than 15 years ago, the region still has not found a sustainable and inclusive path. There is an urgent need to adopt new policies and interventions that drive transformation especially in relation to social inclusion, resource use, and investment flows.

Transformational change is supported by “mission-oriented” policies that create a sense of urgency and direction. This is reinforced by policies of ‘NO’ that set boundary conditions. Creative disruption brings new views and perspectives to the table and forces change on entrenched institutional and socio-economic systems that “lock out” innovation and change.

Transformational change needs to be supported by adequate budgeting. This can be achieved by linking budget allocations with SDGs and their Targets, adopting gender, disability and disaster responsive budgeting, enhanced transparency and accountability in public financial management, and using an SDG-focused result framework in assessing public sector performance. At the macro level, national planning and finance ministries can assess the overall investment needs to achieve the SDGs to inform fiscal planning and broader resources mobilization efforts. Financial innovation, risk-sharing modalities, and partnership also helps ready financial systems to attract and channel investments towards transformation.

Data and statistics are at the core of evidence-based policy making and governance. Comprehensive national monitoring frameworks that are fully integrated into national planning and budgeting processes are urgently needed.

United Nations