Pushing of bonds to fast-track SDGs in ASEAN

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ADB (The Asian Development Bank) has proposed a new way for countries in Southeast Asia to tap global capital markets to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ADB, a Manila-based multilateral lender has introduced the SDG Accelerator Bond (SAB), which was aimed at helping ASEAN countries reduce the perceived investment risk posed by an issuing entity, sector, or project with no track record on bond issuance.

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From what has been stated, the main objective of a SAB is to provide a return comparable to a similar instrument when held to maturity, but offers cheaper funds for projects in initial periods as an incentive to mainstream SDG projects and reach targets more quickly.

The target to support a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and timely meet the SDGs..

The Philippines, in particular, ranked 99th among 166 countries in the SDG index with a score of 65.5. Among the 17 SDGs, the Philippines has only achieved SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production.

While it has improved in other areas, major challenges remain on five SDGs including hunger, good health and well-being, innovation and infrastructure, inequalities, and peace and justice.

Among those that issued SDG bonds include Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Development Bank of the Philippines and Manila Water Co. Inc.

ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed said that the pandemic has slowed down the momentum for sustainable and equitable growth in most of developing Asia and many countries are at risk of not meeting their SDG targets in climate resilience, gender equality, and human development.

He further added, for countries looking to fund sustainable projects and programs on a large scale, capital markets represent an underused, but viable mechanism to bring in SDG investments. Last year, ASEAN economies issued a record $12 billion in green, social, and sustainability bonds but their financing needs have only grown amid the pandemic

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