Commission Day Four: What Happened?
The first day of the Ministerial Segment of the 71st Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific welcomed heads of states and ministers to Bangkok. At the opening today, ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar recalled the exceptional progress member States have already made in setting the region on the path to inclusivity, resilience and sustainable prosperity.
“Now – as then – success demands action. Finance will drive sustainable development. As we take the first steps in the next phase of our shared development journey, the people of Asia and the Pacific are poised to lead – in economic growth, in social innovation and in environmental stewardship,” said Dr. Akhtar.
Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru and Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu gave keynote addresses, followed by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, who give the session’s inaugural address. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, gave his statement after being elected as Chair of the 71st Commission Session.
The Ministerial Roundtable on the Theme Study of the 71st Commission Session: Balancing the three dimensions of sustainable development: from integration to implementation followed, where representatives from across the region discussed the importance of exploring the intersections of the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social – in building a sustainable future.
The afternoon brought the launch of the final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Making it happen: Technology, finance and statistics for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, which was prepared in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Following this, Dr. Akhtar opened the United Nations Conference Centre’s new Accessibility Centre. This project was made possible with the support of the Republic of Korea. The Centre features electric wheelchairs, desktop magnifiers, screen readers, portable players for Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY), hearing aids, bone conduction headsets, eye trackers and a range of other assistive devices.
Next, member States took to the floor to reflect on the themes and policy issues of the day during the first round of country statements.
Wrapping up the day, the Government of Bangladesh hosted a side event on Blue Economy for Sustainable Use of Marine Resources and Inclusive Growth that discussed the importance of the judicious use of oceans for a sustainable future.
The Commission takes place annually to set the programme of work of ESCAP for the coming year. This year the meeting will focus on the integration and implementation of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Read our overview of what is planned for the rest of the week, or the detailed programme for more information.
If you cannot join us here in Bangkok, check out our webcasted sessions on our YouTube page or on our photos of the day. For regular updates on #CS71 follow us @UNESCAP, or see the full discussion on our Storify page.