ESCAP'S 56TH COMMISSION SESSION ENDS ON OPTIMISTIC NOTE
MANAGING RISKS OF GLOBALIZATION A KEY TASK
Bangkok,United Nations Information Services (UNIS): The United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) ended its 56th annual Commission Session
today with the 61-member and associate member organization sharpening its focus to face the
challenges of the new millennium.
As development through globalization and partnership in the 21st century was its theme, the
Commission noted that given the irreversible nature of globalization and interdependence, the
overarching challenge facing the region was to manage the risks and to seize the opportunities of
globalization so that the benefits could be shared equally.
Asian and Pacific Governments unanimously adopted the final report which contains five
resolutions and a blueprint for ESCAP's programme of work. "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 region," said Commission Chairman
H. E. Mr Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Commission reaffirmed its strong commitment to a rule-based multilateral trading system
that operated in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner and that ensured predictable and
secure market access.
It noted that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was of paramount importance to the
expansion of trade, continued economic prosperity and all-round balanced development.
However as a lot of developing countries in the ESCAP region were not yet members of WTO,
the Secretariat was asked to give high priority to its technical assistance and advisory services to
enable these countries to integrate into the world economy.
With a nod toward strengthening its sub-regional programmes the Commission proclaimed the
Decade of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Cooperation 2000---2009 to draw attention
and encourage support of the international community toward intensification of economic and
social development in the region. This is subject to endorsement by the United Nations General
Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
ESCAP has been asked to mobilize the necessary measures to provide technical assistance to the
Greater Mekong Subregion particularly on such key sectors as human resources development,
trade and investment, transportation and communication, poverty alleviation and social
The Commission underlined their support for phase II of the Regional Space Applications
Programme for Sustainable Development which was the result of the Second Ministerial
Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific held in
New Delhi, India, last year. Space technology and its applications, it noted, were important for
vital areas from food security and agricultural systems, to natural disaster reduction, health care
The future energy needs of the Pacific region was also accorded high priority by the Commission.
They resolved to facilitate the exchange of experiences and information among members and
associate members on the efficient use of energy and the enhanced application of renewable
energy technologies for small island states.
Human resources development was considered a key issue for alleviating poverty especially for
the enhancement of educational, health and employment status in marginalized population
groups. The Commission resolved to focus on investments in all areas of human resources
development including education and training, health and nutrition and promoting sustainable
livelihoods to empower people to become self-reliant and self supporting.
The Commission also scrutinized ESCAP's work programmes over the six-day meeting. In view
of the ramifications of the still-unfolding process of globalization, the active involvement of the
United Nations in macroeconomic policy-making and coordination was considered imperative.
The Commission accorded high priority to all of ESCAP's programmes such as regional
economic cooperation, environment and natural resources development, socio-economic
measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas, transport communications, tourism and
infrastructure development, and statistics.
It called on the Secretariat to continue reforming itself while acknowledging the efforts made so
far to cut down costs and streamline its programmes.
During this first session of the millennium, ESCAP welcomed Georgia as its newest member and
said farewell to its outgoing Executive Secretary Mr Adrianus Mooy of Indonesia. It expressed
its deep gratitude and appreciation to Mr Mooy's five-year service toward the social and
economic development of the region. Mr Hak-Su Kim from the Republic of Korea will take over
as ESCAP's new Executive Secretary on July 1st.
In his farewell statement Mr Mooy said that he had served ESCAP during difficult periods in the
region's history -- the Asian financial crisis of 1997, and the UN's financial woes since 1995.
"As I prepare to leave the secretariat at the end of the month I am pleased to say that it remains
healthy and vibrant, fully committed to performing its assigned tasks efficiently and effectively."