CHAIRMAN'S CONCLUDING STATEMENT
FIFTY-SIX SESSION OF THE COMMISSION
Mr Executive Secretary,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have just concluded three days of intensive deliberations in this fifty-sixth session of the
Commission. It is indeed a daunting task for me to summarize the very rich and fruitful discussions that
we had. Instead of providing you with an overall summary of the discussion, I should like to highlight a
few major issues raised in this session.
First of all, it is gratifying to note that the region is recovering rapidly. The outlook for this trend
to continue in the coming years is also bright. In fact, at this moment Asia and the Pacific region has
regained its position as the fastest growing region in the world. This is certainly a great achievement of
Governments and peoples in the region, particularly in those countries worst affected by the crisis, in
overcoming the difficult and painful recovery process.
As noted in the deliberations, however, all is not yet well with many economies in the region.
For one thing, we are still at an early stage of the recovery process. There remain tough policy
challenges and dilemmas which, among others, relate to corporate and financial sectors' restructuring, the
consequent rise in unemployment and, in turn, the adverse effects on consumption expenditure.
Furthermore, domestic reform measures, including good governance both in public and private sectors,
should be continued and strengthened. In that context, such factors as transparency, structural
adjustments and participation of civil society, women, youth and vulnerable groups deserve special
attention. There is no doubt that this is a formidable task for any government, yet it is essential if we are
to sustain the recovery as well as to survive the rapid globalization process.
The crisis has also exposed the major weaknesses in the development process in many countries
in the region. As millions of people suddenly found themselves in poverty and destitution, the provision
of social safety nets cannot be avoided both on moral as well as social (and political) stability grounds.
However, this ad hoc solution would be barely adequate to cope with future crises. In this context, a
comprehensive framework of social security should be explored by all governments in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we all know, the globalization process has both positive and negative effects. More than ever,
changes in external trends have important impacts on domestic economic and social situation. This has
been clearly manifested in economic and financial sectors. In the wake of the financial crisis, there has
been a consensus that better economic and financial monitoring and surveillance is called for. A study
by the secretariat in response to the Commission's resolution points to a number of recommendations as
regards various modalities to complement and support national, regional and global activities in
monitoring and surveillance. We note with keen interest further secretariat support and involvement in
Moreover, to survive in the global competition requires continuous national capacity building as
indicated in the discussions on the theme study for this session, "Development through globalization and
partnership in the twenty-first century: an Asia-Pacific perspective for integrating developing countries
and economies in transition into the international trading system on a fair and equitable basis". Not only
should human resources and institutions be developed but also markets, institutions and infrastructure
should be established or created where necessary. As well, the possibility of latest technological
advancements in accelerating the integration of developing countries into the global economic process,
such as information and communication technology, should be explored and, whenever feasible, be
While we believe it is urgent to enhance our access to global information networks, and to
improve the benefits derived therefrom, we emphasize the need to preserve our national and regional
diversity of traditions, identities and cultures, which may be affected by the globalization process. This
process, however, brings us a unique opportunity to enhance understanding of diverse cultures and for
promoting cooperation among ourselves.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Managing the environment is crucial for the attainment of sustainable development. As
environmental problems often transcend national boundaries, regional cooperation on this matter
becomes all the more important. In this regard, we all look forward to the Fourth Ministerial Conference
on Environment and Development, which the Government of Japan would be hosting in Kitakyushu in
August-September this year. We also look forward to the High-level Regional Meeting on Energy for
Sustainable Development to be hosted by Government of Indonesia in November or December 2000 and
the international meeting on energy efficiency in oil and gas sector to be held in Tehran hosted by the
Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in November 2000 in preparation for the Commission for
Sustainable Development in the year 2001.
Ladies and gentlemen,
From the discussion in this session, I witness a continuing support for ESCAP activities in
promoting economic and social development in the region. ESCAP has a unique and important role of
coordinating differing priorities and policies of individual countries in the region for the common goal of
sustainable development. We also agreed that ESCAP should continue to enhance its institutional
capacity to undertake its mission as a leading institution in economic and social development in the
I am pleased to note that the Commission's decision on the theme topic of the fifty-seven session,
"Balanced development of urban and rural areas and regions within the countries of Asia and the Pacific"
is both timely and vital at the threshold of a new millennium.
Finally, I wish once again to convey our deep appreciation and gratitude to the distinguished
Executive Secretary, Mr Mooy, for his invaluable services to the Commission and a warm welcome to his
incoming successor Mr Kim Hak-su. In wishing Mr Mooy continued good health and happiness in the
next phase of his life, we look forward to Mr Kim's joining the secretariat.
In closing, I should like to express my deepest appreciation to all who have assisted me to fulfill
my duties. First and foremost, the Vice Chairpersons, who so graciously took the chair in my absence.
Secondly, to the distinguished delegates, who participated so actively in the deliberations of the
Commission. The Executive Secretary, and all members of his staff, who have prepared the excellent
documentation and draft report. The Secretary of the Commission and his staff, who have ably assisted
me in discharging my duties in the chair.
I should like to express my deep appreciation to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes
including the editorial, language and conference and general services sections whose unfailing attention
to detail and dedication to duty ensured the efficient servicing of this Commission session, including
prompt preparation of the draft report.
Last but not least, I should like to express my deepest gratitude to the Government of Thailand
for their generous hospitality shown to all delegates which has contributed immensely to the success of
the fifty-six session.
For those delegates who have travelled from abroad, I wish you a safe journey back home and
look forward to meeting you again at the fifty-seventh session next year.
I hereby declare the fifty-sixth session of the Commission closed.