Addressing public debt challenges to effectively pursue the SDGs : regional perspectives

This policy brief, Addressing Public Debt Challenges to Effectively Pursue the SDGs: Regional Perspectives, is jointly prepared by the five Regional Commissions of the United Nations - namely, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). It outlines broad trends in public debt across the globe, discusses policy issues and options, and highlights policy experiences and lessons that governments across regions can learn from each other. The recommendations contained in this policy brief include: to support the call by the Secretary-General of the United Nations for a fundamental reform of the international financial architecture, and to provide the necessary resources for an SDG Stimulus at the scale required to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It argues that higher debt levels do not necessarily mean a higher risk of debt distress, nor are necessarily detrimental to economic growth. Rather, deploying resources raised from increasing public debt as investments in people and the planet offers sizeable medium- and long-term economic, social and environmental returns.

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