Secretary-General cites ‘catalytic
role’ of ESCAP in making globalization positive force, in message to Bangkok
Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the fifty-seventh
session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP), delivered on his behalf by the Executive Secretary of ESCAP,
Kim Hak-Su, in Bangkok on 23 April:
It gives me great pleasure to convey my best wishes to the delegations
attending the fifty-seventh session of the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
This session takes place at a critical time. While the economic
performance of the region as a whole has continued to improve, the external
environment offers reasons for concern, most notably the slowdown in the
United States and the continuing distress faced by the Japanese economy.
It is a measure of some satisfaction that world leaders meeting
at last September's Millennium Summit in New York pledged to halve the
proportion of the world's people living in conditions of extreme poverty
by 2015. We must now sustain this momentum and turn this political
declaration into concrete deeds. A major opportunity to do so occurs
next month in Brussels, where the Third United Nations Conference on the
Least Developed Countries examine the array of problems facing the world's
49 least developed countries, 13 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region.
Market access for developing-country goods will be at the top of the agenda
in Brussels, since probably no single change would make a greater contribution
to the battle to rid the world of abject and dehumanizing poverty.
The ESCAP has an important, catalytic role to play in ensuring
implementation of the Millennium Summit commitments, in making developing-country
voices heard loud and clear in Brussels, and in helping to seize the many
opportunities of globalization and make it a positive force for all the
world's people. I look forward to your contributions and wish you
the best for your important deliberations.