A green recovery from the Covid pandemic in Southeast Asia could generate $172bn annually and more than 30 million jobs by 2030, as the ADB and UK accelerate green project funding.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has issued a report on implementing a green recovery in Southeast Asia, looking at five areas that support a post-Covid recovery through greener development. The areas are productive and regenerative agriculture, healthy and productive oceans, sustainable urban development and transport models, circular economy models and renewable and efficient energy.
If achieved, the report suggests that a green recovery from the Covid pandemic in Southeast Asia would generate $172bn in investment opportunities per year, along with 30 million jobs by 2030. The report also warns, however, that without concerted actions to address the environmental crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, the region’s long-term growth prospects could be constrained.
ADB director general for Southeast Asia, Ramesh Subramaniam, explained: “While several countries in the region have begun to support a green recovery, more needs to be done. We must encourage additional green stimulus, design carbon pricing schemes, reduce dependence on fossil-fuel intensive power, and attract private sector investors to large-scale renewable energy, sustainable transport, and clean urban projects.”
Other policy options identified in the report include intensifying research on green technologies, encouraging women entrepreneurs to participate in green business opportunities and managing biodiversity better through open and integrated data systems.
To implement a green recovery, the report suggests that Southeast Asian governments need to identify sustainable sources of financing that will fund climate-friendly infrastructure investments and leverage green growth opportunities.
To support that process, the ADB, along with the government of the UK, have this week agreed to develop a £107m ($134m) trust fund to support efforts by Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to scale up green financing and shift to low-emission, climate-resilient development.
The UK–ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility Trust Fund will leverage UK and ADB funds to accelerate a pipeline of low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure projects and catalyse financing from public and private capital sources.
ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said: “We are facing a climate crisis and Southeast Asia needs rapid and innovative solutions to help countries raise financing to deliver their climate targets and ambitions. This new fund will build on a longstanding UK–ADB partnership through an innovative revolving fund structure that will mobilise public and private funds and build a robust pipeline of climate projects in the region.”
ASEAN countries are grappling with increasing costs of climate change, which add to the existing investment needs of $210bn per year for infrastructure in the region.
UK minister for Asia, Amanda Milling, added: “As a trusted partner to ASEAN, this UK financing delivered through the ADB is imperative to help deliver new honest and reliable green investment—creating jobs and putting UK expertise at the heart of tackling climate change.”