Financing the SDGs is everyone’s business: Experiences from Asia-Pacific

Many countries have a growing and increasingly diverse portfolio of financing that can contribute to achievement of development results – though the makeup of these resources is significantly different between countries. Rapid growth in domestic public and private finance is driving resources availability across the Asia-Pacific region, yet the mix at play in a given country varies widely, with different types of resources better able to achieve particular sustainable development results.

But it’s not just government’s business to think about strengthening enabling environments for increased domestic resource mobilization and quality private investment. It is everyone’s business – it’s for all stakeholders to think about integrated approaches to financing the 2030 Agenda.

The key message from the 2016 Asia-Pacific Development Effectiveness Facility (AP-DEF) consultations was clear: countries want to ensure that financing doesn’t just increase, but becomes more effective through country ownership and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

In response, at the 2017 2nd Annual Regional Knowledge Exchange on the Sustainable Development Goals, countries in the Asia-Pacific region shared experiences on strengthening integrated national financing frameworks and financing innovations at country level.  A few main takeaways emerged:

  • Country-level actions and reforms are and will be the driver for financing development toward 2030. It is well recognized that there is strong collective commitment on Agenda 2030 and Financing for Development at the global level. At the country level, innovations are taking place, producing lessons that could be useful across regions and contexts. The connection between the global and country level agendas could be further strengthened to prevent countries having to reinvent the wheel and to bring these lessons to global dialogue.
  • Financing for development in the region goes beyond ODA. However, in some contexts, ODA still provides important volumes of financing which is crucial to poverty reduction efforts and can also play a catalytic role. It was agreed that the development effectiveness principles of ownership, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships and transparency and accountability have indeed demonstrated their relevance for development finance, beyond ODA.
  • The private sector is not merely a funding source, but a key partner without which the SDGs will not be achieved. The private sector has their own initiatives and comparative advantages to address development challenges. Given this, there is huge demand for dialogue at the nexus of the public and private sector silos to strengthen alignment and integrated solutions for development results.

As we embark on 2018, partners in the Asia-Pacific region are using ongoing analysis and these regional  discussions as a basis for action, including through:

  • Country-level dialogue designed to make financing SDGs everyone’s business: AP-DEF is building on experiences with UNDP’s Development Finance Assessment to bring together key policymakers in an evidence-based discussion about how to address the most pressing challenges and opportunities for financing the SDGs across public and private actors;
  • South-South sharing initiatives: To support countries in learning from emerging financing innovations, regional platforms like AP-DEF can facilitate exchange on priorities identified at the consultations, such as measuring private sector impact for the SDGs, harnessing remittances for results, social/green impact investment and Islamic finance opportunities;
  • Synthesizing lessons learned and feeding into global dialogue: Funnelling evidence from country examples that utilize an integrated approach to financing and consider how countries are reshaping their thinking about financing the SDGs into international for such as FFD, HLPF and the GPEDC. 


15 - Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation
« 1 of 24 »



Follow the ongoing Financing SDGs work of the AP-DEF Secretariat at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub at @apdefplatform @emilyraedavis

More on Asia-Pacific Development Effectiveness Facility (AP-DEF) here

More on the 2017 SDG Regional Knowledge Exchange here, including presentations and photos


The 2017 2nd Annual Regional Knowledge Exchange on the Sustainable Development Goals and AP-DEF consultations were generously supported by the European Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia and the Asian Development Bank.

Inputs of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Knowledge Exchange to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation are available here.

August Update on Global Partnership Initiatives

Global Partnership Initiatives (GPIs) are voluntary initiatives led by different types of development actors to advance implementation of development effectiveness principles and commitments. GPIs contribute to the Global Partnership’s vision by directly implementing commitments and by generating evidence, policy-relevant lessons and innovative solutions that can feed both mutual accountability and learning within the Global Partnership. They also spearhead the achievement of development results at country and regional levels. This article provides an update from the GPIs ‘Strengthening comparable tax statistical indicators’, ‘Active support to Tax Inspectors Without Borders’ and ‘Better than Cash Alliance’.

Launch of 2017 editions of Revenue Statistics in Asian Countries and Revenue Statistics in Africa

The 2017 edition of Revenue Statistics in Asian Countries launched on 20 July (see flyer and full publication). Published annually since 2014, the publication compiles comparable tax revenue statistics for Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. It will include more Asian and Pacific countries in the future. In September, the 2017 edition of Revenue Statistics in Africa will be launched during an event hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa (date to be confirmed). The coverage of Revenue Statistics in Africa 2017 has expanded from 8 to 16 countries, compared to the last edition, and will continue to grow in the future. In addition, Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017, covering 24 countries, was published in March.

Accurate, complete and reliable statistics on public revenue, and on taxes in particular, are critical to tax policy development and domestic resource mobilisation efforts. The Revenue Statistics publications provide a harmonised and comparable foundation to inform evidence-based decisions on tax and customs policies and administrative reforms. Data for the three publications is collected by participating countries, with technical support from the OECD, following the well-established methodology that underpins the OECD Revenue Statistics database. Using a common methodology enables comparisons of tax levels and structures on a consistent basis, both among economies from the same region and between regions. The three publications are part of the initiative ‘Strengthening comparable tax statistical indicators’, which over the next two years will seek to expand coverage, dissemination and accessibility of the Revenue Statistics publications in collaboration with regional partners and with support of the European Commission while maintaining quality, consistency and detail of the datasets.

If your government is interested in joining one of the Revenue Statistics publications, contact Michelle.Harding. For more information, consult the Revenue Statistics website.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders

The recently published Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Annual Report 2016/17 reflects on a significant year for this Global Partnerships Initiative.  A joint initiative of the OECD and UNDP, TIWB facilitates the deployment of tax audit experts who work alongside local audit teams, sharing knowledge in a hands-on approach.

The Annual Report reviews progress thus far, with 21 programmes in 19 countries running as of April 2017 – including the first South-South programme with Kenya providing technical support to Botswana. Results to date show over USD 278m in increased tax revenues.  Other significant developments include the establishment of a UNDP Roster of Experts (mostly retired tax auditors) to complement those provided through partnership with national revenue authorities.

In addition to reviewing the activities and results, the report highlights lessons learned from the programmes, progress towards improving the measurement of results in the future, and the Work Plan for 2017/18.  Implementation of the Work Plan is well underway, with an additional seven programmes set to launch in the second half of 2017.  Read the report on the TIWB website.  For further information, contact

Updates from the Better than Cash Alliance

The Fight for Light: Improving Energy Access through Digital Payments, a new report from the Better than Cash Alliance GPI, examines new business models and government initiatives for energy access that rely upon digital payments. While numerous solutions exist to meet the needs of the more than one billion people who still lack access to clean, affordable and reliable energy options, expanding efforts to rural areas, where many households lack traditional grid expansion, remains a key challenge. The study examines how, by incorporating digital payments into existing energy services, off-grid innovators, progressive utilities, private investors and government agencies have all found ways of bringing light to some of the darkest corners of our world.

Digital financial services have been an important component of the G20’s work in promoting financial inclusion and driving economic growth since 2009. The G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion, published in 2016, outlines eight principles designed to inform national plans to leverage digital financial services. The aim of these principles is to sustainably increase financial inclusion while fostering inclusive growth, sustainable development and protecting users of digital payments. Building Inclusive Digital Payments Ecosystems: G20 Guidance Note for Governments, a report by the Better Than Cash Alliance for the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, supports the implementation of these principles in the context of inclusive digital payments ecosystems, reflecting lessons drawn from policy development and implementation initiatives undertaken in several countries.

For more information about Better than Cash Alliance work and publications, contact Usman Iqtidar.

KOICA Learning and Acceleration Programme provides peer learning opportunity for developing countries

This October, KOICA hosted its GPEDC Learning and Accelerating Programme (LAP) for developing country stakeholders at the working level.  Held yearly, the LAP aims to familiarise the participants with GPEDC and provide practical training to support them in implementing the Busan principles and commitments in-country.

The 2016 LAP offered a series of interactive learning workshops and provided a ‘safe space’ for working-level participants to discuss development effectiveness priorities and challenges, share ideas and solutions, and build relationships, with plenty of time for peer learning and discussion. The 2-day event was attended by 25 participants from 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Central Europe, including participants from fragile and LDC contexts (such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). It was facilitated by a Senior Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with the support of KOICA and Development Initiatives.

The four LAP modules focused on:

  • Exploring and understanding GPEDC 2nd Round Monitoring outcomes (led by the Joint Support Team)
  • Improving the quality of public financial management systems (The Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI);
  • Engaging the private sector to achieve sustainable development (The Partnering Initiative)
  • Increasing usage of country-owned results frameworks by providers of development co-operation (Global Partnership Initiative (GPI) for Results and Mutual Accountability)

Each module was complemented by interactive discussion and personal reflection, using individual Learning Action Plans. This encouraged participants to apply lessons learned, and discuss challenges and solutions with peers.

Mr SeungChul Lee, of KOICA, said: “Aside from the module content, the most important thing KOICA wanted to achieve with LAP this year was space plenty of interactive discussion and peer learning, as this can be the most effective way for participants to identify solutions to country-level challenges they are facing. The 2016 participant group were very  constructive, sharing their experiences and coming up with ideas for how to improve the situations in their countries.”

An LAP participant, Ms Lesly Sanchez from Honduras, said: “I think the LAP workshop made us reflect and consider future actions to improve development in our own countries, especially middle income countries like Honduras which face particular challenges, but also how to strengthen the relations between different actors to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; as every single country wants to improve the lives of millions of people. Through our discussions we recognised that there is a need to improve coordination between government institutions, build stronger institutional and human capacity, improve and invest in data collection and analysis, and for stronger political leadership. We also need the full commitment of donors to follow our national priorities.”.

Key takeaways from the Learning and Accelerating Programme

LAP participants agreed that country context matters:  each country is different. However, common priorities for their future development cooperation partnerships emerged. All identified national political leadership as an essential ingredient for development. Many countries are still experiencing development partners ‘shying away’ from country systems, but some are implementing reforms so development partners can re-engage, including in their public financial management systems (for example, improving their procurement processes).

Stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society, and emerging donors are priority for engaging in development efforts, but their involvement must be structured around national priorities of partner countries. Country results frameworks can be a useful tool, although to ensure their impact, support for enhancing capacity in building dialogue with key partners, and greater alignment of donor efforts around country priorities to reduce fragmentation, is needed.

More detail on the key takeaways from each of the modules can be found in the Outcome Report of the Busan Global Partnership Forum and LAP, here.