Investments in green infrastructure will generate more than 30 million jobs in Southeast Asia by 2030, according to the Asian Development Bank, as it urges countries in the region to strive for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the virtual opening session of the second Southeast Asia Development Symposium on Wednesday (March 17), ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa called for investments in environmentally sustainable development in five sectors – agriculture, oceans, urban and transport, waste management, and clean energy.
Asakawa says these interrelated green growth opportunities include:
- Transforming agricultural practices to improve yields, while enhancing the health of surrounding natural ecosystems;
- Recovering healthy and sustainable oceans through a number of measures, including sustainable wild fisheries management;
- Building sustainable urban development and transport models, with greater investments in safe, affordable and low-carbon public transportation;
- Establishing circular economy models that can convert by-products and waste-streams across various sectors into valuable end products; and
- Moving toward clean energy, including the development of renewable energy projects, and enhanced energy efficiency across various sectors.
“These green growth opportunities will require financing. One way ADB is collaborating with countries in the region to address these financing needs is through the Asean Catalytic Green Finance Facility, which is owned by the finance ministries of the 10 Asean member countries and ADB. Southeast Asian countries can use this facility to access finance and knowledge for sovereign green infrastructure projects on sustainable transport, clean energy, and resilient water systems,” Asakawa says.
The ADB chief also urges developing economies in the region to invest in digital transformation, big data, and revenue mobilization through tax reform.
By making better use of big data, countries can capitalize on the region’s digital transformation to enhance the delivery of health care, social protection, and education, he says.
Expanding the tax base, maximizing tax compliance, and simplifying the compliance process will also significantly boost governments’ revenue and better position them to finance pandemic recovery, Asakawa adds.