Remarks by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan and President of ECOSOC at the 2021 financing for Development Forum Panel I: Accelerating infrastructure investments for a sustainable and resilient recovery and restoring trade

English Official News Press Information Department

Islamabad, April 14, 2021 (PPI-OT): Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Dear colleagues, I call to order the virtual informal meeting of the 2021 session of the Economic and Social Council forum on Financing for Development, follow up, says a press release received here today from New York. Today, we will convene two panels. Panel one is on accelerating infrastructure investments for a sustainable and resilient, recovery, and restoring trade.

As you all know, to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require a global transformation in infrastructure, energy, transportation, housing, communications, as well as the industrial and agricultural production modules of all countries It is estimated that between 100 to $120 trillion will need to be invested over the next 30 years in sustainable infrastructure. If we are to reach the target of zero emissions by 2050 of the current annual funding gap of 2.5 trillion in infrastructure, two thirds of the gap is in developing countries, where infrastructure investments, declined by 50 billion last year. 83% of the current investment in infrastructure is publicly funded according to World Bank figures.

The vast majority of developing countries do not have the public resources to finance infrastructure investments, nor the capacity to borrow at the low interest rates available to the advanced economies. It is evident that due to the scale of the investment needed in sustainable infrastructure both the advanced economies, and especially the developing countries will have to find ways to access private money to succeed in making the transition to sustainable infrastructure markets, significant private capital is available in global markets.

It is estimated that private wealth is now $399 trillion, of which 50 trillion is held by retirement and pension funds, and there is considerable desire on the part of private capital to invest in infrastructure and sustainable infrastructure projects, but at the same time, there has been a historic reluctance on the part of the private sector to invest in infrastructure contracts, which are long term with lumpy upfront payments and uncertain returns. Realizing the untapped potential of the private sector to invest in infrastructure development will require a range of measures, including building more conducive enabling elements and expanding the pipeline of bankable projects, especially in the developing countries.

The global community needs to support the efforts to mobilize public and private investment through specific actions. I believe that the United Nations can play a key role in accelerating private investments for sustainable infrastructure, including by facilitating greater coordination between governments, donors, development finance institutions and the private sector on policy issues, as well as the development of a pipeline of bankable projects. I therefore propose the establishment of a sustainable infrastructure investment facility under the auspices of the United Nations, to act as a facilitator in promoting sustainable infrastructure investment.

One mechanism, which already exists under the United Nations rubric is the SDG investment Fair, where governments present specific projects and concrete investment opportunities to the investor community. I would suggest that this could be turned into a standing forum that is convened, virtually around the Earth, to bring together, investors and governments with bankable projects. The fair can serve as an umbrella platform to bring together all other platforms for a coordinated and coherent approach. This should include both the UN and non-UN platforms, the private sectors, and other stakeholders. It is a pleasure to convene this panel today.

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