Opening statement by
Mr Adrianus Mooy
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive Secretary of ESCAP
(Monday, 5 June 2000)
Madame Chairperson, Honourable Prime Minister
Excellencies, Distinguished Representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me much pleasure to extend to all of you a very warm welcome to the 56th session of
I should like at the outset to express my deep gratitude to His Excellency Mr Chuan Leekpai,
Prime Minister of Thailand, for graciously consenting to inaugurate the session, despite his many
pressing duties. Excellency, your presence here today serves as a clear reaffirmation of Thailand's
dedication and commitment to the aims and ideals of the United Nations Charter and to the promotion
of regional cooperation in the economic and social fields.
Since the last session of the Commission, we have witnessed a dramatic upturn of the
economies in the region. Growth has been substantially improved in an environment of
macroeconomic stability. The improved growth performance of the ESCAP region was observed in
almost all sub-regions with the exception of South and South West Asia. Fiscal stimulus coupled with
better export performance generated growth in many countries affected by the crisis. What is also
heartening to observe is that this trend is likely to continue in the immediate future. It is projected that
growth in the region would increase to above 6 per cent in the year of 2000.
Yet, sustained growth in the region is by no means secured. There are already serious
concerns as regards the increasing interest rates and the growth prospects of the U.S. economy as well
as the strength of recovery in Japan. Undoubtedly, these risks pose a series of policy challenges for
Governments in the region, which will also have to deal with the social effects of structural changes.
For its part, ESCAP remains committed to assisting the region's developing countries in
building their capacities to cope with the numerous challenges that lie ahead. One of the principal
purposes of this forum is to see how best we can address these challenges collectively with a view to
accelerating the pace of growth and dealing with increasingly complex social issues.