ESCAP'S 57TH Commissions Session
opens with fresh agenda
New solutions urgent to combat
economic difficulties, says Thai Prime Minister
BANGKOK (United Nations Information Services, UNIS) --- The issue facing
us today is how to cope with a new set of economic realities, new requirements,
and how best to overcome them in regenerating growth, creating wealth,
sustaining equitable distribution and opportunities, Prime Minister of
Thailand H.E. Thaksin Shinawatra said today when he opened ESCAP's 57th
Addressing the Bangkok-based United Nations ESCAP for the first time,
Mr Thaksin urged Ministers attending the three-day Ministerial session
(23 – 25 April) to find new solutions to the "prevailing economic difficulties
given very limited resources."
In a speech full of economic references, Prime Minister Thaksin said
that the recent demands by G7 economies for banking reforms in Asia had
"created massive clean-up costs and major roadblocks which ultimately have
become a true moral hazards." He also suggested that developing countries
look "inward to new products and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
The modalities of new production must not be a clone to a western product
or involve mass production at ever lower production cost."
Ministers are attending the Commission Session, which has as its theme
"Balanced development of rural and urban areas
and regions within the countries of Asia and the Pacific."
Minister from Maldives, H.E. Ismail Shafeeu, Minister of Home Affairs,
Housing and Environment was unanimously elected chairman of the Session.
United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, said that ESCAP had
an important catalytic role to play in ensuring implementation of the UN
Millennium Summit "commitments in making developing country voices heard
loud and clear and helping to seize the many opportunities of globalization
and make it a positive force for all the world's people."
World leaders attending the Summit pledged to halve the proportion of
the world's people living in conditions of extreme poverty by 2015, he
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his special message to
the Bangkok conference referred to next month's Brussels United Nations
conference on the 48 least developed countries, 13 of which are in the
Asia Pacific region. He said the Conference was an opportunity to discuss
market access "since probably no greater change would make a greater contribution
to the battle in reducing the world of abject and dehumanizing poverty."
Newly appointed ESCAP Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General,
Mr Kim Hak-Su, speaking at his first Commission Session told Ministers
that he was determined to help ESCAP build on the growing impulse for regional
cooperation in the economic and social fields.
Taking his cue from the Millennium Summit pledges, Mr Kim expressed
his vision for ESCAP up to year 2005. He will outline concrete plans with
Ministers in the next few days to gather support for a revitalization of
61-member country body.
Mr Kim’s plans comprise of transfer of proven best practices of poverty
eradication, reversal of weakening positions of developing member states
arising from and along with the process of globalization, strengthening
their negotiating position, and detection and tackling of emerging social
issues, including HIV/AIDS as well as bridging the digital divide.
"Can ESCAP make a difference? We need to hone in on those areas in which
we can claim to have the comparative and competitive advantage, specially
in the light of resources constraints," said Mr Kim.
--- UNIS ---
NOTE TO EDITORS:
You or your representatives are cordially invited
to attend end-of-session press conference on Wednesday, 25th April 2001
at around 5:00 pm immediately after the adoption of the session’s report.
The Press Conference will be co-chaired by the Executive Secretary of ESCAP
Mr. Kim Hak-Su and the Chairman of the 57th Commission Session, Hon. Ismail
Shafeeu, Maldives’ Minister of House Affairs, Housing and Environment.
The press conference will be held in the Theatre, Ground Floor of UNCC.