Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) requires enhanced efforts to multi-stakeholder partnership and cooperation among different actors. The inter-linked nature of global challenges necessitates more systemic and efficient ways of collaboration at the global, regional, and national level. New approaches to governance, reinforced policy coherence both domestically and internationally, an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels, and the participation of all layers of society, are all needed to attain the 2030 Agenda and the global goals.
The Agenda calls for a revitalized global partnership to ensure integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development and for building capacities for SDG implementation. Partnerships can drive change by bringing together the efforts, resources, and expertise of a diverse range of stakeholders in a more effective manner. Resource mobilization, technology transfer, capacity-building, trade, policy and institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships, data monitoring and accountability are depicted in the Agenda as critical to meeting the implementation targets. In a concerted endeavour to leave no one behind, the availability of quality, accessible, open, timely and disaggregated data will be key.
Successful mobilization of both existing and additional resources, including through effective use of financing for development, trade, science, technology and innovation (STI) and data and statistics will define the success of SDGs implementation.
On financing for development, there is an opportunity to translate the concrete policies and actions as outlined in the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to implement the SDGs. The Agenda outlines a comprehensive framework for financing the goals that moves beyond Official Development Assistance (ODA), to include public and private funding and greater mobilisation of domestic resources. To this end, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, adopted in the same year, provides a strong basis to align all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.
Trade has considerable potential to boost implementation of SDGs, but there are still challenges to fully harness this potential. In the context of STI, the success of implementing the 2030 Agenda will be depend inter alia on Member States’ ability to collaborate and create open and inclusive knowledge economies. Regarding data and statistics, without credible figures and indicators it will be impossible to review progress on SDG implementation and, consequently, improve performance. The Agenda also advocates for stronger political commitment, improved macroeconomic stability and strengthen policy coherence to reach sustainable development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ensures that the appropriate means of implementation were given attention in the formulation of almost every goal. Each SDG, in fact, contains both ‘Outcome’ and ‘Means of Implementation' (MoI) targets, normally designated with two to four letters.
In addition, SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals - 'Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development' is dedicated to ensuring that the means of implementation are delivered to support member States’ efforts. SDG 17 and its 19 related targets express a holistic and integrated approach to the means of implementation, emphasizing the cross-cutting nature of the goals. The means of implementation in the 2030 Agenda also include commitments to address systemic issues, including policy and institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships, data, monitoring and accountability.
Financing the SDGs is a complicated task as it needs unprecedented coordination between public and private sectors and it also require significant efforts to reform global financial regulation and financial institutions, not to mention meaningful commitment from all stakeholders. Until today, the transition in the financial sector to support more sustainable growth is not happening at the intended scale. Systemic risk is also rising amidst uncertainty about the global economy from increasing debt burden and increasing turn of the trade policy towards protectionism.
The United Nations system and partner international organizations have recently raised the alarm over the scale and urgency of these challenges in the 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report. The report calls for revamping the global institutional architecture, making the global economy and global finance more sustainable, and introducing integrated national financing frameworks as a tool for aligning financing policies with national strategies and priorities.
In this context, it is recommended that countries take a different approach in achieving the SDGs, by shifting the financing perspective from short-term to longer-term investment. With this change of mindset, countries would have more and better resources to finance the 2030 Agenda by improving their domestic public resources, partnering with the private sector, and enhancing international development cooperation.
For Asia and the Pacific, the recent ESCAP report on the Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific, reveals positive developments in financing the 2030 Agenda. On domestic public resources, several countries have made remarkable progress in tax revenue mobilization in the last five years from 2012 to 2017. Maldives, for example, increased their tax revenue level by 70 per cent, while Nepal, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Samoa, Tonga, and Sri Lanka also brought up their tax revenue by a significant margin during the same period. Most progress was achieved through comprehensive tax reforms that prioritized tax base broadening, improvement in tax administration, and tax education. These reforms have helped countries to have fiscal space much needed to finance SDG related projects.
Partnership with domestic and international private business and finance is also vital in financing sustainable development. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have made much progress in their private financing efforts through various means, including via public-private partnership for infrastructure investment in nearly three quarters of countries in the region with China as a leading example. There are also promising developments on the capital market front. Fiji and Indonesia, for instance, have become the first issuers of sovereign green bonds among developing countries, and Thailand has successfully launched the Thailand Future Fund as a new way to raise private capital for infrastructure investment.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is an important source of finance for sustainable development. It helps to build the capital base and know-how that is often lacking domestically for large infrastructure or industrial development projects. The influx of foreign expertise and inputs through FDI also helps to increase production efficiency, leading to more and better paying jobs. Despite these benefits, governments must be careful in managing their FDI policies. Extending too many FDI incentives, in the form of tax breaks, may adversely affect government revenue or distort sectoral allocation, if not managed adequately. Additionally, foreign investors may crowd out domestic investment, affecting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Accelerated infrastructure development or industrialization through FDI may also negatively affect the livelihood of certain communities or their cultural heritage and result in significant environmental degradation. These potential risks emphasize the need for governments to integrate sustainable development into their FDI policies.
Finally, international development cooperation remains an important source of finance for SDGs in developing countries, especially for least developed countries (LDCs). Efforts in increasing official development assistance (ODA) and south-south cooperation need to be stepped up amid the current uncertainty about the global economic situation. Aligning multilateral aid strategies towards achieving the 2030 Agenda as implemented by the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, and the Russian Federation, could help sustainable development projects across the developing world with an emphasis on LDCs and small island developing states.
Climate finance is one important example that could benefit from international cooperation through bilateral and multilateral ODA, and through dedicated climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund or the Global Environment Facility. Coordinated policy actions are needed to enhance countries readiness for climate finance across the region. In addition, increasing effort to move more funding proposals into implementation and improving the leverage ratios of public climate finance through blended finance instruments are vital.
Financing the SDGs presents a compelling call to action, with an urge to reform the global financial system and to change the mindset of all those involved towards longer-term and sustainable goals. Addressing these issues presents tremendous growth opportunities as well as drives positive change in the world.
ARTNeT on FDI is a network on foreign direct investment to ensure investment policies and treaties, FDI promotion and facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region better support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. evidence-based policymaking. It has been working with governments in the region to put in place enabling environments for impact investing, as well as working on the demand-side through the promotion of social enterprise and inclusive business.
Opportunities for regional cooperation
(a) Continue to undertake research, analysis and consensus-building initiatives in the area of financing for development to enhance regional knowledge of infrastructure financing, including public-private partnerships;
(b) Provide capacity-building to mainstream financing for development issues in areas such as domestic resource mobilization;
(c) Enhance the capacity for domestic and international resource mobilization;
(d) Strengthen partnerships for effective development cooperation;
(e) Promote financial inclusion.
SDG 17.9 explicitly mentions the need to enhance capacity building support to developing countries and in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), including through North-South, South South, and triangular cooperation.
North-South is a cooperation form happening when a developed country supports economically or with another kind of resources a less favored one. South-South cooperation (SSC) promotes solidarity among developing countries pursuing similar development paths by allowing them to learn lessons from each other. The newer concept of triangular cooperation involves two or more developing countries in collaboration with a third party, usually a developed country or a multilateral agency. The latter one – the donor, which can also be an international organization, provides the financial resources, so that the countries of the South can exchange technical assistance on a specific topic.
Each year, 12 September marks South-South Cooperation Day, a day to commemorate and leverage synergy among developing countries in fostering sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda. Partnerships forged from South-South cooperation will be crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As defined by the Framework of operational guidelines on United Nations support to South-South and triangular, South-South cooperation (SSC) is “a process whereby two or more developing countries pursue their individual and/or shared national capacity development objectives through exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how, and through regional and interregional collective actions, including partnerships involving Governments, regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector, for their individual and/or mutual benefit within and across regions. South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation”.
South-South cooperation was born in Asia and the Pacific – at the Bandung Conference, over sixty years ago. At that time, key countries of the South that had gained independence from colonial rule, resolved to help others become independent. The Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA) adopted by 138 UN Member States in Argentina, on September 18, 1978, established a scheme of collaboration among least developed countries and a framework for this type of cooperation, based on the principles of: respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and equality of rights, among others.
Now, many developing countries in our region have achieved remarkable economic development and technological progress and could provide technical assistance, innovation and development finance to help other countries of the South attain sustainable development. South-South and triangular cooperation has been at heart of ESCAP’s work since its inception. It has driven ESCAP’s technical assistance, informed its analysis and underpinned much of its inter-governmental work. It has helped strengthen regional cooperation, and in doing so, powered trade, investment, technology transfer and economic growth. It has helped contribute to building a resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
Opportunities for regional cooperation
(a) Build capacity in developing countries, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation;
(b) Share good practices through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, including through regional platforms such as the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development;
(c) Promote and scale up best practices.
The 2030 Agenda stresses the importance of strengthening policy coherence to achieve the SDGs (SDG 17.14) and ensuring the no one is left behind. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) as a policy approach that enhances systemic integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development during all phases of national and international policy making. This can be accomplished only by addressing systemic issues that undermine institutional work. Breaking down silo approaches, enhancing opportunities for institutions and stakeholders to interact and find synergies, managing policy trade-offs and exploring interconnections among SDGs are key to addressing systemic issues. The transformational nature of the 2030 Agenda calls for Governments not to act solo, but rather engage at multiple level of governance and across manifold sectors.
In Asia and the Pacific, high levels of economic growth have lifted great numbers of people out of poverty. However, if the region is to sustain the growth needed to achieve the SDGs and to enhance resilience, it must shift to a growth trajectory that is more resource-efficient and more able to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Successful implementation of the goals will require policy coherence, integrated approaches and a move away from single-sector policies and investments, which in turn will need an all of-Government approach that promotes the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Regional cooperation will be critical to maximize the opportunities for building synergies between the economic, social and environmental dimensions and to overcome the first-mover risk that may be present in terms of short-term economic competitiveness.
Opportunities for regional cooperation
(a) Develop integrated approaches, models and tools with respect to each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development;
(b) Support regional approaches to the prioritization of Goal interventions through the development of policy tools, methodologies and approaches;
(c) Promote integrated policies based on systems approaches and methodologies;
(d) Promote the valuation and quantification of the co-benefits of policy action addressing interconnected Goals and targets.
Data and Monitoring
The far-reaching and ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind requires quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data and statistics. The multidimensional nature of the Agenda requires integrated and disaggregated statistics that can support planning and analysis across the economic, social and environmental development pillars with a focus on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people. Data and statistics should also be able to ensure that no one is left behind, and disaggregated data should be made more available as required by the SDG indicators.
This has drawn official statistics into a challenging situation to meet increasing and evolving data and statistical demands, and no National Statistical Office (NSO) has yet to fulfil all the statistical requirements of the 2030 Agenda. National statistical systems therefore need to be strengthened to supply the statistical evidence necessary for monitoring of progress, integrated policy analysis and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a collective vision and framework for action for advancing official statistics for the 2030 Agenda calls for collective actions in five areas, in order to strengthen statistical capacity. Amongst the five is integrated statistics for integrated analysis.
Integrated statistics can be defined as the ultimate fruit of an integrated system of producing and using statistics, where integration in all its dimensions is in place.
A group of national and international experts in Asia and the Pacific met in 2017 to discuss integrated statistics for integrated analysis, and agreed upon four different dimensions: a) process integration, b) data integration, c) conceptual integration, and d) disciplinary integration.
Process, conceptual and disciplinary integration call for fundamental actions to harmonize all factors and unite all actors involved in the production and use of statistics. Whereas, data integration seems to be more in reach for meeting the demands for quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated statistics compiled from national statistical systems as mandated by the 2030 Agenda.
Data integration is the combination of technical and business processes used to combine data from disparate sources into meaningful and valuable information. Statistics New Zealand, one of the region’s leading NSOs, defines data integration as linking data from separate data sources, designed and collected primarily without the intention of being used together. Data integration assists NSOs to produce more comprehensive and disaggregated statistics by pulling together available data from different sources, i.e. census, survey, administrative data, and other new sources.
However, in integrating data from different sources, NSOs face challenges including access to data, interoperability and technical capacity. Although there are common solutions for shared problems, each data integration exercise can introduce unique challenges that require tailored solutions. Thus, the best way to develop capacity on data integration is to practice with variety of data sources and learn from case studies.
Countries are facing a significant challenge to meet data requirements for implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Statistical systems need to find new and more cost-efficient approach of producing statistics. Data integration, attempting to use all possible sources of data can be a proper solution to obtain more timely, frequent and granular data at less cost and respondent burden. Although, technical complexities together with challenges related to access, and coordination continue to hinder data integration.
Opportunities for regional cooperation
(a) Promote the need for national statistical systems to be responsive to the requirements of users arising from the 2030 Agenda, and the need to encourage investments in national statistical systems that are adequate to meet statistical requirements and to support implementation of the SDGs as appropriate;
(b) Formulate and implement continuous, comprehensive and system-wide strategies for the development of statistics, including statistics for the 2030 Agenda;
(c) Provide and promote capacity-building support to national statistical systems to increase the availability of high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated data, including to develop integrated measurement frameworks for SDG statistics that integrate data from multiple sources, including big data, in a coherent and consistent manner to support integrated analysis of sustainable development issues;
(d) Organize national statistical system business processes and modernize tools for strengthened quality, efficiency and effectiveness of statistical information management and exchange;
(e) Build the skills of the staff and management of national statistical systems, including of relevant data producers, to enhance the human resources capacity for generating the statistical products and services required for monitoring of national development plans and the 2030 Agenda.
While the 2030 Agenda as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognize international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, trade is to be the means to an end: a shared economic prosperity and enhance human well-being. Namely, by allowing consumers and producers access to the international markets where they can find a greater variety of products and services that are more affordable and better in quality compared to what they can get in their domestic market, creating opportunities to increase their incomes.
However, these opportunities have not been accessible to all. Gains (and losses) from trade are said to have been shared inequitably. Increased import competition from foreign companies poses serious threats to domestic industries that are unable to compete with their foreign counterparts, leading to the displacement of affected workers. Often, this effect hits sooner and harder than any positive impacts arising from the opening of foreign markets for exporters. As such, to make trade a true driver of sustainable development, it must fulfill all three dimensions of sustainable development – bring about economic prosperity, make it shared in a socially responsible manner and honor environmental responsibility.
The Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) guides policymakers with relevant research, information dissemination and capacity building as they work together to meet the SDGs. ARTNeT was established in December 2004 to meet the regional demand for capacity building to overcome barriers to trade and investment and to integrate trade policies into national sustainable development strategies. ARTNeT has successfully addressed this knowledge gap through the collaboration of a network of researchers and policy experts from research institutions, universities, think tanks, governments departments, and private sector entities.
ARTNeT aims to increase the quality and quantity of policy-oriented trade research in the region by tapping on existing research and by developing new research capabilities. ARTNeT research is disseminated through various means including a dedicated website, social media, and regular publications.
Technology was heralded as a key means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) evolves, frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are re-shaping our economies, societies, and the environment. In achieving better technology, countries not only progress towards the SDGs, but also strengthen the other means of implementation. For instance, growth in information technology can improve trade facilitation and promote paperless trade and at the same time, allow companies to leverage on the digitization of banking technology to transform the financial services industry. However, recently, the wave of optimism surrounding the transformative potential of technology has been tempered by increasing concerns about challenges such as the future of work. Nevertheless, with the right principles in place, technologies such as AI can be used sustainably and be a driving force to help advance the SDGs.
While innovation is often used synonymously with technology, innovation is not only about technology. Innovation can also come in the form of processes, management strategies, and service delivery practices. When it comes to innovation in the business arena, several countries in the Asia Pacific region have emerged at the forefront in innovative business practices, such as impact investing, investments that aim to generate financial return alongside social impact. With the huge funding gap to deliver the SDGs, mechanisms such as impact investing offer a means of diverting private capital towards development objectives.
ESCAP is engaged in a number of activities on science, technology and innovation to support member States in the region with effective implementation. Activities include policy advice, research and analytical work, capacity-building, supporting regional cooperation, and linking regional needs and experience to global initiatives such as the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Technology Bank.
ARTNeT on STI is a knowledge platform on science, technology, and innovation policies for sustainable development. Using research, information dissemination, and capacity building, it aims to provide guidance on STI policies to researchers and policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region. Responding to the recent developments in technology, ARTNeT is currently conducting research in partnership with academia and the private sector, to explore the emerging field of AI governance to surface evidence of effective practices to support policymaking.
Opportunities for regional cooperation
(a) Facilitate the sharing of best practices and capacity-building across member countries through the development of social enterprise, impact investment markets and information and communications technology in support of implementation of the Goals;
(b) Link regional needs and experience of international, regional and subregional organizations by acting as a bridge to facilitate cooperation for access to technology and know-how and joint action when necessary;
(c) Promote public, public-private and civil society partnerships, as appropriate, in order to harness science, technology and innovation for inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.
Multi stakeholder partnerships are key to mobilizing human and financial resources, expertise, technology and knowledge transfer. The 2030 Agenda in its preamble calls for a collaborative global effort based on the spirit of collective solidarity, placing partnership among the five critical dimensions of sustainable development, the so-called 5 Ps: planet, people, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have shown that effective cooperation across a diverse range of stakeholders, like public and private sectors, civil society and academia can ensure ownership and accountability and sparkle innovation, enhancing systemic and integrated approaches to sustainable development issues. As a manifestation of high levels of engagement, multi-stakeholder partnerships involve more than just collaborating and conducting ad hoc projects. They move beyond responsibility for independent result to a relationship that involves co-creation, shared risks and responsibilities, interdependency and the potential to create the transformations needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The General Assembly defines partnerships as “voluntary and collaborative relationships between various parties, both State and non-State, in which all participants agree to work together to achieve a common purpose or undertake a specific task and to share risks and responsibilities, resources and benefits”. Partnerships are characterized by mutuality, shared goals and common understanding, based on a set of common principles, such as: Convergence of interest; complementarity of approaches and resources; shared value.
The Partnerships for SDGs online platform, the United Nations' global registry of voluntary commitments and multi-stakeholder partnerships, aiming at facilitating global stakeholder engagement, has been on steady growth since the adoption of the Agenda, bringing evidence to the important role of collaboration in SDG implementation.
Tools and Methodologies
- Capacity Building
Through the South-South in Action Series the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation encourages developing countries and partners to publish their successful policies, initiatives and activities that have led to the achievement of their development goals.
The “Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development Vol 2” publication – features Southern good practices that are relevant to the implementation of all 17 SDGs. They illustrate the central tenets of effective South-South and triangular cooperation. The publication highlights how Southern partners overcome shared challenges and accelerate progress towards sustainable development ranging from efforts to eradicate poverty; reduce inequality; support climate change action; and create peaceful and cohesive societies.
South-South Galaxy is a global knowledge sharing and partnership brokering platform, to serve as a consolidated one-stop-shop for South-South solutions for Southern partners. South-South Galaxy connects and links all of the existing South-South knowledge sharing platforms, making it easier for Southern partners to access, navigate and use. It will enable users to access a broad range of knowledge, solutions, research, partners and capacity building initiatives.
The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development warns that mobilizing sufficient financing remains a major challenge in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Despite signs of progress, investments that are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remain underfunded and parts of the multilateral system are under strain.
This report examines the progress in the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed at the Third International Conference on Financial for Development in Asia and the Pacific. The report highlights key developments in each of the agenda’s action areas discussing recent national policies and regional cooperation initiatives to mobilize domestic public resources, foster private business and finance, deepen international development cooperation, promote international trade, maintain macroeconomic and financial stability and make progress in science, technology and innovation.
The guidelines contained in this publication provide practical guidance for United Nations member States, policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders to build, strengthen and implement effective multi-stakeholder partnerships aimed at accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asian and Pacific region. The guidelines also highlight some of the key challenges in, as well as main success factors for, building successful multi-stakeholder partnerships towards achieving the SDGs.
- Policy Coherence
The Institutional and Coordination Mechanisms guidance note aims to provide information on how countries have adapted their existing institutional and coordination frameworks or established new ones in order to implement the SDGs. It highlights efforts to mobilize institutions around the SDGs, improve their functioning, and promote horizontal and vertical coherence. The guidance note includes information on how responsibility is allocated amongst various levels of Government for coherent implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda. It provides an overview of key factors a country should consider when establishing a new institutional framework or adapting their existing one.
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreement Database
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreement Database (APTIAD) is an online database of trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region. The database contains information on all agreements within the region, an agreement-country matrix, and an advanced search engine allowing to locate agreements by country, agreement name, status, scope, WTO notification status, and keywords.
UN Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade
To help countries benchmark and reduce the time and cost of trading across the border, the UN Regional Commissions jointly conduct the UN Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade. The Survey currently covers 120 countries around the globe, and 47 measures related to the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), as well as emerging regional and global initiatives on paperless trade or e-trade, such as the recent Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (FA-CPT). The Survey leads to the production of a Global Report and five Regional Reports, which aim at providing insightful information for policy makers to harness trade as a key means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Survey is conducted in collaboration with a growing number of global and regional partners, since 2015 and every two years.
ESCAP Trade Analytics Portal
The ESCAP Trade Analytics Portal allows researchers and policymakers to quantify the impacts of trade-related policies, from traditional tariffs to behind-the-border measures or institutional arrangements, on bilateral trade flows (imports/exports) in a user-friendly manner. Additionally, from the results, one can determine the trade potential (get an estimated to actual trade ratio) and generate trade simulations (e.g., what would the effect be on the exports of country X if its trading partners reduce tariffs by 1%).
TINA: Trade Intelligence and Negotiation Advisor
TINA aims to assist ESCAP member States in the negotiations of trade agreements, with the ultimate objective of enhancing trade in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aims to guide governments in terms of whom they should negotiate with, what they should negotiate, and lastly, what will be the benefits of their negotiations.
ESCAP-World Bank Trade Cost Database
ESCAP initiated the development of a bilateral trade cost database in 2010 to increase understanding of the cost of trading between countries in Asia and the Pacific and beyond. The trade cost measure is a comprehensive all-inclusive measure based on micro-theory and calculated using macro-economic data, providing an alternative measure of trade facilitation performance. Following the release of a first version of the database in 2010 using trade and GDP data, an improved and expanded version 2 was released in December 2011 - based on gross output data and providing sectoral trade cost estimates for about 100 countries.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) provides information and independent analyses of regional trends and policy developments in trade, goods, and commercial services, as well as foreign direct investment. It also provides insights into the impacts of these recent and emerging developments on countries’ abilities to meet the challenges of achieving sustainable development.
This reference material is intended to help government officials in ESCAP member States to deepen and broaden their understanding of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards 1 as well as assist with improving their ability to effectively implement the safeguard measures which are compliant to their international obligations. Furthermore, since most of the bilateral or regional safeguard measures that are prescribed in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are also based on the principles of WTO safeguard mechanisms, this manual can be a useful guide when considering the use of (i.e., negotiation to use) safeguards under the PTAs.
This report analyses the SDPs incorporated in a selected sample of 20 international investment agreements (IIA) and those contained in the 340 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) of eighteen Asia-Pacific LDCs and LLDCs. It reveals that the sustainability gap between the two groups of IIAs is substantial. Compared with the sample IIAs, BITs of Asia-Pacific LDCs and LLDCs not only contain a smaller number of SDPs, but these SDPs are also of fewer types and subtypes. This suggests that BITs of Asia-Pacific LDCs and LLDCs are less sustainable development-oriented than the sample IIAs in general.
Furthermore, the comparative study of the types and subtypes of the SDPs of the two groups of IIAs also suggests that as BITs of Asia-Pacific LDCs and LLDCs contain less social SDPs and allow narrower access of non-state stakeholders to engage in investment governance, they appear less socialized and governance-oriented than the sample IIAs.