On the 11th of June 2021, the first meeting of the PAGE Economic Policy Advisory Group took place virtually to discuss ways to strengthen the Partnership’s support on economics to its partner countries. With its new phase starting in 2021, under the 2030 Strategy, PAGE has raised ambitions in delivering transformative results for the whole economy and the economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, paying special attention to shifting transformational levers, while keeping an eye on fairness and social justice. As a step in delivering on this, the PAGE Economic Policy Advisory Group — composed of economists from PAGE agencies and UN Resident Coordinators’ offices — met with PAGE country project coordinators and lead UN agency focal points from Argentina, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Morocco.

This deep-dive discussion focused on three main themes: economic policies for 1) greening public spending and fiscal space; 2) addressing poverty gaps and inequalities; and 3) supporting a Just Transition. The discussion centred on pivotal and available tools/initiatives as well as opportunities, challenges, and potential entry points for future PAGE support to countries in these areas.

The discussion showed there is high demand from partner countries to receive further support across several key areas: Firstly, there is a need to connect economic evidence-based analytical work, such as data observatories and modelling, to actionable policy support in order to provide a framing lens for future policy design. This also can help raise the ambition and action for a green and inclusive economic transformation, while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, there is a unique opportunity to make the UN a major partner in greening the economic recovery and planning by providing partner countries with analytical tools for robust policy analysis and engaging more strongly with line ministries leading economy, finance and development issues. Next, there is a need to adapt policy responses to specific country contexts when trying to bridge the poverty gaps and address inequalities through green economic policies, paying special attention to the most vulnerable groups. Fourth, technical support to partner countries is needed to influence the labour market, specifically focused on social protection, skills and human capital development and financing to ensure that the transition towards a green economy is just. 

This rich discussion was the first step for the PAGE Economic Policy Advisory Group to begin supporting interested PAGE countries in receiving further support on developing and implementing economic policies for greening public spending and the fiscal space, addressing poverty gaps and inequalities, and supporting a Just Transition in the context of a green economy.