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ROLE OF FISCAL POLICIES IN A GREEN COVID-19 RECOVERY: Experience, Best Practice and Next Steps in the Asia-Pacific Region

September 14 - September 15


This workshop will explore the potential role of GFPs in greening the Covid-19 recovery with the aim of supporting public health efforts, reducing environmental and climate change risks, and strengthening resilience to future crises by embedding inclusive and sustainable socio-economic considerations in national economic planning.  

This is one of a series of workshops implemented by the Green Fiscal Policy Network (GFPN) with regional partners to raise awareness and promote policy dialogue on the potential of GFP to support countries in their efforts to foster a green recovery, achieve the SDGs, and meet their NDC targets. ESCAP promotes regional cooperation for inclusive and sustainable development, including in the areas of macroeconomic policy and financing and environment and supports countries to “build forward better”, including through GFPs.



Session Title

Bangkok Time (UTC+7)


Green recovery and green fiscal policy

14 Sept. 13:00–14:00

14 Sept. 6:00–7:00

The role of green budgeting and green bonds

14 Sept. 15:00–16:00

14 Sept. 8:00–9:00

Green fiscal policy and private investment frameworks

15 Sept. 10:00–11:00

15 Sept. 3:00–4:00

Carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform

15 Sept. 12:00–13:00

15 Sept. 5:00–6:00

The political economy of green fiscal policy

15 Sept. 14:00–15:00

15 Sept. 7:00–8:00

DAY 1: Tuesday, 14 September, 2021

SESSION 1: The Role of Green Fiscal Policies in the Recovery: Findings From the Global Recovery Observatory and the UNESCAP 2021 Socio-economic Survey

Bangkok Time: 13:00–14:00 | UTC: 6:00–7:00

In 2020, global energy related GHG emissions fell by just under 6%9, roughly 2 percentage points less than the annual reduction required until 2030 to meet the 1.5°C Paris target.10 The imperative to put in place transformative measures to achieve deep decarbonisation remains.

If governments continue to drive the recovery through a return to business as usual, the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs will be out of reach. There is a real danger that current recovery packages will lock in unsustainable investments and high-emissions economic structures. Although the crisis has opened up a window of opportunity to develop new, innovative strategies to achieve a green, inclusive, low-carbon recovery, progress has been slow.

This session will give participants unique insights into global progress, or lack of it, as identified by the newly launched Global Recovery Observatory and present the key findings of the UNESCAP socio-economic survey of the Asia-Pacific region.





Kaveh Zahedi


Deputy Executive Secretary

Steven Stone


Chief, Resources and Markets Branch

Hamza Ali Malik


Director, Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development

Brian O’Callaghan

Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

PhD Candidate in Energy Finance, Australian Rhodes Scholar

Jiyoung Choi

Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea

Director, Green Climate Policy Division

SESSION 2: Sustainable Public Financing for a Green Recovery to Achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement: Green Bonds and Green Budgeting

Bangkok Time: 15:00–16:00 | UTC: 8:00–9:00

UNESCAP’s Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific in 2019 found that countries in the region would need to invest USD 1.5 trillion annually to 2030 to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Successfully leveraging investment from the private sector will be essential to mobilise these funds. Many potential sources exist, including pension funds, insurance, sovereign wealth funds and Foreign Direct Investment. 

However, the fact that private markets need an enabling environment and firm public finance foundations to exist and thrive is often overlooked. Pricing and regulatory incentives and institutional capacity reforms are key to creating and strengthening green and sustainable finance markets and scaling up financing for Agenda 2030 and higher ambition NDCs. The private sector makes investment decisions on the basis of the risk-return profile of investment opportunities, and the risk of investing in green and low-carbon technologies is often perceived to be high. 

In part, these investment decisions are attributable to the persistent underpricing of fossil fuels in many countries, which continues to act as a deterrent to private investment in low-carbon technologies and renewable energy. Indeed, in many countries, the failure to price fossil fuels appropriately undermined the long-term effects of green stimulus in the wake of the 2008-9 financial crisis, and threatens to do so again in 2021.


Delphine MorettiIMFPFM Regional Advisor, Southeast Asia
Jón BlondalOECDHead of Division, Budgeting and Public Expenditures Division
Margaux LeLongOECDPolicy Analyst, Budgeting and Public Expenditures Division
Kirthisri WijeweeraUNDPAdvisor, Nature Performance Debt Instruments, Finance Sector Hub
Paola AlvarezMinistry of Finance, the PhilippinesAssistant Secretary

DAY 2: Wednesday, 15 September, 2021

SESSION 3: Round Table Discussion on Fiscal Policy as an Enabler for Scaling Up Private Investment in Support of a Green Recovery

Bangkok Time: 10:00–11:00 | UTC: 3:00–4:00

To achieve a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery, it will be crucial to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of budgetary processes and monitor the extent to which spending is aligned with climate and broader environmental objectives through climate budgeting tagging, green public finance frameworks, public expenditure reviews, and related approaches. These analyses can pinpoint misalignments of spending and objectives, identify resources which could be re-directed to Covid-19 relief and recovery, and help to integrate sustainability considerations within long-term strategic and financial planning. Tagging environmentally harmful spending can open up further options for governments to apply their findings to budget management and alignment of recovery packages with environmental and climate objectives.

Green budgeting and related approaches can deliver important co-benefits, for example, Ministries of Finance can draw on the taxonomy used to demarcate sustainable expenditure as a basis for sovereign green bond issuance. Sovereign green bonds have become an important source of revenue for governments to finance their recoveries. Indonesia issued the world’s first sovereign green Islamic bond, worth USD 2.5 billion, in June 2020. In the same year, ESCAP provided technical assistance to Bhutan in issuing its first ever sovereign bond and building capacity towards issuing a green bond.  Overall, 2020 was a record year, with green bond issuance accounting for USD 270 billion.  

This session will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with green budgeting and green bond issuance for countries in Asia-Pacific and present international best practice examples of their application.





Carson Wen

Bank of Asia


Yuki Yasui


Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator

Vineil Narayan

Ministry of Economy, Republic of the Fiji Islands

Acting Head of Climate Change & International Cooperation

Tiza Mafira

CPI Global

Associate Director

Hitesh Kataria


Sustainability Expert

SESSION 4: The Potential for Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and Carbon Pricing to Contribute to Building Forward Better

Bangkok Time: 12:00–13:00 | UTC: 5:00–6:00

In Asia-Pacific, there is significant room for more ambitious action on carbon pricing and subsidy reform.  However, Asia-Pacific is more reliant on fossil fuels than any other region in the world. Developments in its energy sector will determine whether the world can prevent planetary warming beyond dangerous levels. The region accounts for 76% of current global coal generation capacity and 94% of the global pipeline of coal-fired power plants under construction, threatening to lock in high GHG emissions until after 2040.  This dependence is attributable to high demand growth in South and South-East Asia, a strong support for coal on the part of some governments, the presence of more than 60% of global coal reserves in the region, and in some countries, a high dependency on income from coal exports.  Hence, special attention must be paid to the region’s specific circumstances when considering how to reform subsidies or introduce carbon pricing. 

In its Building Forward Better package, amongst other policies, ESCAP recommends the elimination of fossil fuel price subsidies and the introduction of carbon pricing. ESCAP’s simulation of a green development package, including a USD 40/tCO2 carbon price and fuel price reform, predicts a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, a higher share of renewable electricity in the energy mix, less damage to infrastructure and fewer lives lost as a result of climate shocks, and a 5% reduction in the public debt ratio attributable to reduced expenditure on fuel price subsidies, carbon tax revenues, and stronger economic growth.  The package also predicts air quality improvements – a particularly significant given that higher levels of air pollution have been linked to increased mortality rates from Covid-19.

This session will explore the potential role of carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform to contribute to a green recovery in Asia-Pacific countries and explore how to address typical implementation challenges.


Name Organization Title
Jens Radschinski UNFCCC Regional Office Regional Lead
Aneta Nikolova UNESCAP Environmental Affairs Officer
Aiman Yessekina Republic of Kazakhstan Director, Department of Inventory
Katinka Weinberger UNESCAP Chief, Environment and Development Policy Section

SESSION 5: The Political Economy of Green Fiscal Policies in the Context of Green Recovery

Bangkok Time: 14:00–15:00 | UTC: 7:00–8:00

While the crisis has created an opportunity for the implementation of a range of GFPs, challenges to their implementation remain significant. Consequences of the pandemic may have heightened the perceived and actual risk of policy implementation: growing inequalities both within and between countries call for careful policy design to ensure that negative impacts are mitigated, while competitiveness concerns carry a great deal of weight in countries with an urgent focus on a bringing about a rapid economic recovery. Sound policy design, careful sequencing, targeted use of revenue, and clear and transparent communication will be necessary to navigate sensitive political economy challenges. In this regard, policymakers can build on over 300 economic and social measures introduced in Asia-Pacific in response to the pandemic to improve social safety nets and protect incomes.


Name Organization Title
Jan Steckel Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change Head, Working Group on Climate and Development
Dudi Rulliadi Ministry of Finance, Government of Indonesia Senior Policy Analyst, Fiscal Policy Agency
Asad Naqvi PAGE (Partnership for Action on Green Economy) Head, PAGE Secretariat
Sweta Saxena UNESCAP Chief, Macroeconomic Policy and Analysis Section
Sandra Spies GIZ Head of Section, Environmental Policy, Biodiversity, and Forests
Hamza Ali Malik UNESCAP Director, Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development


September 14
September 15
Event Category:




Green Fiscal Policy Network
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific