Side events

Draft Concept Note

A Side event on

Financing to Support the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 1st Caspian Economic Forum
Turkmenbashy, Turkmenistan, 11-12 August 2019

A. Background

In July 2019, Turkmenistan presented its first Voluntary National Review to the ECOSOC segment of the High-Level Political Forum. As a country which was among the first in the world to officially adopt all 17 SDGs and mainstream them into the national development plans and strategies, Turkmenistan sees this exercise as an opportunity to strengthen national policies to achieve sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda is the country's main strategy and an enabler for achieving the country’s balanced development in three dimensions - social, economic and environmental.

Providing financing for development is one of the priorities for Turkmenistan in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Along with mobilizing domestic resources, Turkmenistan will have to complement them with international financing for SDGs. Therefore, it will be important for Turkmenistan to promote partnerships and cooperation with multiple international stakeholders including the UN system, the Bretton Woods institutions and international development banks.

Introduced in 2015, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) is a global framework for financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by aligning all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities. As such, AAAA contains 7 action areas, which include: domestic public resources; domestic and international private business and finance; international development cooperation; international trade as an engine for development; debt and debt sustainability; addressing systemic issues; and science, technology, innovation, and capacity building. To establish the follow-up process for AAAA, an Inter- agency Task Force (IATF) on Financing for Development was created. The annual reports produced by IATF discuss the global context that has implications for financing for development, as well as monitor the progress that has been made on each of the seven action areas of AAAA.

Despite some significant progress since the adoption of the AAAA, several financing challenges remain. Among other positive developments, the issuance of sustainability-oriented financial instruments, such as green bonds, have increased in recent years. Private companies also increasingly disclose their sustainability profile and integrate environmental, social and governance factors into business models. Nonetheless, wide financing gaps and several impediments remain. Domestic public finance often falls short of the required investment to provide public services such as modern infrastructure and climate change mitigation. Many developing countries still face underdeveloped financial markets and the lack of a pipeline of investable projects, which constrain the mobilization of private funds for sustainable development.

To address some of these issues, the United Nations’ Secretary-General issued the 2019-2021 Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2018. The Strategy has three objectives: (a) aligning global economic policies and financial systems with the 2030 Agenda; (b) enhancing sustainable financing strategies and investments at the regional and country levels; and (c) seizing the potential of financial innovations, new technologies and digitalization to provide equitable access to finance.

On aligning a policy framework with sustainable development, this would require adjusting market incentives and perceptions of risk that have discouraged capital allocation and investment into sustainable development. On developing country- and regional-level financing strategies, the United Nations will strengthen its effort in providing support for, among others, improving national tax systems, deepening domestic financial markets, developing integrated financing strategies, and enhancing international tax cooperation. Finally, on leveraging financial innovations, there is still large room for digital finance to expand access to finance by women and small businesses, although financial stability risk should be closely monitored.

In the Asia-Pacific context, the Secretary-General’s Strategy to develop country- and regional-level financing strategies is consistent with one of the objectives of the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD). In particular, through meetings of relevant stakeholders, the APFSD focuses on exchanging regional perspectives on how to implement the 2030 Agenda. In this context, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has organized two such meetings in North and Central Asia since 2017.

B. Objectives of the proposed side event

Organized as part of the 1 st Caspian Economic Forum, the main purpose of this side event is twofold. First, it aims at showcasing the progress achieved by Turkmenistan in implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development through the presentation of the findings of the first Voluntary National Review for the wide audience of the Forum.

At the same time the side event will discuss the role of financing in implementing the 2030 Agenda in the context of the Caspian region, North and Central Asia and beyond. In particular, it will serve as a consultative process where multiple stakeholders from North and Central Asia, Caspian littoral states and beyond the region review the progress on the AAAA, examine financing opportunities and challenges, and discuss other relevant financing for development issues. Moreover, the presentations and discussion could also enhance the participants’ understanding on various global/regional initiatives and activities on financing for development that are carried out by the United Nations, including ESCAP, and international financial institutions.

The side event is open to all participants at the 1 st Caspian Economic Forum, which include representatives of Caspian littoral states, states in North and Central Asia, subregional stakeholders, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and academia.

C. Tentative programme



Date: 11/12 Aug (tbd)
Venue: (tbd)

Time: 90 min

Opening statements: Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan (tbc) UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan

Session 1. Presentation of the Voluntary National Review of Turkmenistan (to be presented by a representative of the Ministry of Finance and Economy)

Session 2. Financing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Moderator: Chairman, The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan (tbc)


1. Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Global and Asia-Pacific perspectives

2. Lilia Bondurchuk, Regional Director Central Asia, World Bank

World Bank approach to financing for development: global strategies in leveraging investment funding with private and public sector financing for the SDGs.

3. Ben Slay, RBEC Senior Economist, United Nations Development Programme

From “finance for development” to “financing the SDGs” in Europe and Central Asia.

4. Betsy Nelson, Vice President, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Shifting Financing towards Sustainable Development: EBRD experience

5. Werner Liepach, Director General, Central and Western Asia Department, Asian Development Bank

Shifting Financing towards Sustainable Development: ADB experience

6. Ruslan Bin Abdul Ghani, Chief Executive Officer, Petronas Carigali SDN BHD (tbc)

Unlocking and maximizing energy sources in socially and environmentally responsible manner for the benefit of the present and future generations.

Open discussion

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