Chapter 1. SDG stocktaking in times of compounding crises: new shocks and stresses from energy, food and finance
- The polycrisis has severely disrupted energy, food and finance systems in the region and set in motion new shocks and stresses that are especially devastating for the most vulnerable groups. The crisis is plunging millions more people into poverty and setting back the progress towards the SDGs even further. This situation threatens to slow down the post-COVID-19 transition towards a greener, more inclusive economy and society. Disasters triggered by natural hazards, an acute climate crisis, and political and economic turmoil have further hampered progress towards sustainable development in the region.
- Asia and the Pacific is at a crossroads, with a series of overlapping crises exposing vulnerabilities in the critical interlinked systems of energy, food and finance and potentially undermining longer-term sustainable development. In the polycrisis, however, also lies hope and opportunity for change. It can be seen as an important turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future, initiating renewed momentum to transform energy and food systems. Recovering from the polycrisis will require countries to address these immediate vulnerabilities whilst not losing track of longer-term development objectives.
- Without substantial progress on climate change mitigation in line with international agreements, climate-related disasters will become more frequent and extreme. Preparing the Asia-Pacific region to navigate ongoing and future crises will require coordinated and inclusive transformations of the energy, food, and finance systems at regional, subregional, national and local levels.
Chapter 2. Energy, food and financing solutions for the SDGs
- Innovation—including through new technologies, business models, policy frameworks, and social advances—in energy and food production offers sustainable and cost-effective solutions to meet energy and food needs and ensure a more equitable distribution to the marginalized and vulnerable people in the region.
- The region is witnessing promising practices on smart and low-carbon farming and technological advances that are accessible to all and offer the opportunity to optimize the use of inputs, raise agricultural yields and reduce environmental impact. Emerging approaches to making energy and food systems more efficient and less wasteful, along with the promotion of sustainable consumption, can further reduce environmental degradation and benefit both farmers and consumers.
- Replicating and scaling up existing innovations and solutions will promote more sustainable and inclusive energy and food systems, capitalizing on opportunities to overcome the polycrisis and advance the SDGs
- Recalibrating public financial management is vital to protecting fiscal space and boosting public investment towards the SDGs amid worsening fiscal conditions. Good practices from countries in the region indicate the need to integrate SDGs in the budgeting process, explore new approaches to revenue mobilisation and reform wasteful agricultural, food and fossil fuel subsidies.
- Scaling up private sector investment would accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and food systems. Broad opportunities exist for stakeholders to explore innovative financial solutions towards sustainability, including by better linking products to the SDGs to address the energy-food-finance nexus.
- Regional and subregional initiatives must complement technical and country- or communitylevel interventions. Amid the polycrisis, redoubling commitments to lower trade barriers and support a just energy transition through closer and stronger cooperation will help promote food and energy security
Chapter 3. Reclaiming the decade of action on the SDGs
- The polycrisis calls for multinational and multisectoral responses to address the stalling of progress on SDGs and build back better. Strengthening regional and subregional partnerships across the energy-food-finance nexus is vital to help countries become more resilient in the face of current and future shocks. National strategies that make use of cross-sector and crossagency collaborations can foster coherent and cohesive policy solutions.
- Data-driven and adaptive institutions can enable countries in Asia and the Pacific to better respond to crises and build resilience of the energy, food and finance systems over the medium to long term. New technologies, when well designed and implemented, present an extraordinary opportunity to shape more effective public policy and private sector solutions across the three systems. Applying agile governance and participatory scenario planning can enable national institutions to adapt to changing circumstances through more responsive policymaking.
- Financing robust, inclusive and adaptive social protection systems is critical to address multidimensional risks and improve the energy and food security of vulnerable groups in the face of the recent crises, promoting long-term resilience.
- Encouraging private enterprises to use SDG impact frameworks and develop bankable projects for SDG-aligned financing will help channel more capital towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is therefore crucial to ensure financial market regulators are well placed to manage climate change risks and smooth the low-carbon transition.
Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme Printed in Thailand