H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), will provide virtual opening remarks for the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities’ (ESAs) High-Level Conference on Financial Education and Financial Literacy on 1 February 2022.
This high-level conference is a part of the ESAs effort to review and coordinate financial literacy and education initiatives. The ESAs include the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
The UNSGSA is expected to call upon the ESAs to elevate the issue of financial health as a key part of their work, helping to reinforce and support their agendas as regulators and supervisors.
Financial health refers to the extent a person or family can successfully manage their current financial obligations and have confidence in their financial future. This includes day-to-day finances, resilience (capacity to absorb and recover from financial shocks), being in position to pursue and achieve long-term goals, and feeling secure and in control of finances.
Queen Máxima’s speech will stress that good financial health should be the desired outcome of financial education and literacy efforts to enhance people’s financial planning and saving habits.
Furthermore, the Special Advocate will highlight that a financial health lens can help countries bounce back from the COVID-19 economic crisis and better manage effects from future shocks. For example, good financial health among individuals and households could relieve pressure on government safety nets.
The issue of financial health is an important component of the UNSGSA’s agenda.
In December 2020, the Special Advocate launched a Financial Health Working Group comprised of leaders from financial and development sectors. These stakeholders are working together to help key decisionmakers on financial health issues. In line with these efforts, the working group has released two publications to help policymakers understand and measure financial health, notably in the context of financial inclusion.