Daily Roundup

Catch up on the 72nd Commission Session with our daily roundup of photos, stories, videos and more.

Commission Day Five: Summary

The 72nd Commission session has closed with the adoption of 12 resolutions.

The resolutions covered, among other areas, strengthening regional cooperation for transport connectivity; promoting conservation and sustainable use of the oceans seas and marine resources and; combatting sand and dust storms; fostering regional cooperation and partnerships to respond to climate change challenges; advancing disaster related statistics for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; committing to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda; harnessing science technology and innovation for sustainable development; and the framework agreement on facilitation of cross-border paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific.

The last day opened with a side event on ‘Transforming Adversity into Disaster & Climate Resilience’ hosted by the Government of Fiji. Experts from Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand and the World Bank shared lessons learnt from post-disaster recovery efforts in the region, which emphasized how crucial it is for governments to integrate disaster and climate resilience into the overall context of sustainable development.

At the ministerial panel on the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2016, ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar highlighted that economic and productivity growth have declined in Asia-Pacific and there is a need to uplift economic trends to support achievement of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Agenda. “To bolster economic growth and successfully pursue the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments will need to rebalance and strengthen efforts to stimulate domestic and regional demand,” said Dr. Akhtar.

Over the past two days, delegates have also taken the floor to share their respective country statements and views on policy issues and key challenges towards achieving inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the region.

The country statements have highlighted, in particular, national frameworks and strategies on sustainable development; the importance of building climate resilience and adopting climate adaptation measures; efforts to create more inclusive programmes on science, technology and innovation; and the need to foster greater regional and global partnerships in all areas.

In her closing remarks, the Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar highlighted that ESCAP member States have worked intensively to lay the foundation for the next 15 years of the delivery on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Akhtar closed the session with a quote from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “To do better we must do differently. The 2030 Agenda compels us to look beyond national boundaries and short term interests and act in solidarity for long term.”

“We have witnessed first-hand this week the importance of doing things differently in Asia and the Pacific,” said Dr. Akhtar. “To succeed in delivering on the promises of the most ambitious development blueprint ever adopted, we need to harness positive synergies. Real action requires the commitment, involvement and leadership of every development player – to ensure that the inter-generational interests of all our people and our planet take precedence.”

If you missed the 72nd Commission session proceedings over the last five days, you can view the closing video and webcasts on our Youtube page, #CS72 posts via Twitter and Facebook, and Photos of the Day below.

Video of the Commission

Photos of the Day

72nd Commission Session: Day 5

Commission Day Four: Summary

The fourth day of CS72 opened with the Special Body on Least Developed Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing Countries. High-level officials from Tuvalu, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Fiji, Lao PDR and Azerbaijan spoke on their unique experiences, challenges and country-specific strategies for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, taking into account respective levels of development and existing capacity.

The Ministerial Roundtable on the Theme Study of the 72nd Commission session: Harnessing science, technology and innovation for inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, provided a platform for member States’ insights on how the region can develop concrete and sustainable innovation and technology sharing opportunities to bridge development gaps. The Report shows that although the Asia-Pacific region accounts for almost 43 per cent of the global research and development expenditure, 95 per cent of researchers are based in only five countries.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Akhtar highlighted the tremendous potential of STI to achieve sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. “Investment in STI needs to be the backbone of productivity led economic recovery and sustainable development,” she said.

“To revive growth in productivity, we must commit jointly our efforts in STI, particularly in developing a highly skilled labour force. The good news for all of us is our region is already at the frontier of this, and is home to some of the most dynamic and innovative economies in the world,” said Dr. Akhtar, noting that many member States are global leaders in innovative business environments, socially inclusive initiatives and complex scientific research.

Three side events were also held today. The Government of China hosted a panel discussion on ‘The Belt and Road Initiative: From Vision to Action’, where Assistant Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Qian Hongshan and Dr. Akhtar underlined that the aims of the Belt and Road Initiative are very much in line with ESCAP's mission to promote regional cooperation for socioeconomic development in a sustainable manner. The Belt and Road initiative was also the focus of a side event hosted by the Government of Mongolia, where Asian landlocked countries shared their national development trajectories and explored options in adjusting their development strategies to maximize potential benefits and mitigate risks.

The side event on ‘Building Regional Tsunami Awareness’, hosted by the Government of Japan, highlighted the need to raise awareness at all levels on the impact of tsunamis, and further enhance preparedness efforts. H.E. Mr. Masakazu Hamachi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, further underlined the importance of regional tsunami awareness in reducing human and economic losses.

Read our overview or the detailed programme of what is planned for the week. If you cannot join us in Bangkok, you can view the live webcasts on Youtube and Photos of the Day below. For live updates on #CS72, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Photos of the Day

72nd Commission Session: Day 4

Commission Day Three: Summary

The third day of the Commission session continued with the Working Group on Draft Resolutions, followed by a special event hosted by the Government of China on this year’s G20 Summit to be held in Hangzhou in September. Chinese Ambassador H.E. Mr Ning Fukui highlighted that the theme of this year’s summit is ‘Innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy,’ and the summit will focus on providing policy support and recommendations to help least developed countries realize the Sustainable Development Goals.

ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar underlined that China has integrated the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into its national development strategies, emphasizing innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.

“China’s emphasis on regional connectivity initiatives will go a long way to harness regional infrastructure development. The recently-signed China-ESCAP letter of Intent on the Belt and Road Initiative is indicative of the potential of this long-term endeavour for strengthening Asia’s interconnectivity and extending it beyond its borders,” said Dr. Akhtar.

The ministerial segment of the 72nd Commission session opened with a flag parade of ESCAP’s 53 member States and 9 associate members, and the Prime Minister of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr Qohir Rasulzoda was elected as the Chair of this year’s session.

In a written message to the 72nd Commission session, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended ESCAP on its impressive work in supporting governments through strategic policy advice and innovative capacity building, adding that the regional response to the 2030 Agenda must match the scope of the challenge.

Executive Secretary Dr. Akhtar also delivered her policy statement stressing that strong political commitment, action and well-functioning coordination mechanisms, fully supported by the countries of Asia and the Pacific, will be critical to ensure that “no one is left behind.”

“Comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires partnerships and deployment of new solutions between countries and across subregions,” said Dr. Akhtar. “The 2030 Agenda calls for fundamental policy rethinking, and shifts in action, for which pacing and sequencing of national initiatives will be critical.”

The ministerial opening was followed by a High-Level Dialogue on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration. Moderated by Dr. Akhtar, the panel comprised of ministers and experts from Fiji, Tajikistan, Tuvalu, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Iran. The panelists recognized the opportunities and challenges to achieving the 2030 Agenda such as building climate resilience, South-South cooperation, forging partnerships in the fields of science, technology and innovation, as well as deepening regional integration.

Read our overview or the detailed programme of what is planned for the week. If you cannot join us in Bangkok, you can view the live webcasts on Youtube and Photos of the Day below. For live updates on #CS72, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Voices of the Commission

Photos of the Day

72nd Commission Session: Day 3

Commission Day Two: Summary

The senior officials segment continued today with the Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing Countries. The Working Group on Draft Resolutions also began its deliberations.

In an opening statement at the Special Body this morning, ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar highlighted that countries with special needs, which represent the majority of ESCAP’s membership, face a number of common and divergent challenges given their geographical diversity and a variety of specific structural vulnerabilities.

“How the countries with special needs strategize their forward-looking plans has game-changing potential. This needs to be based on a combination of both a review of progress in their respective global programmes of action and their plans to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said.

Dr. Akhtar emphasized that ESCAP has been working intensively to assist countries with special needs to overcome these challenges througK I h capacity building; improving implementation and monitoring of trade and foreign direct investment liberalization; and new initiatives to complement country efforts in the areas of disaster risk reduction, energy, connectivity and social development, among others.

Dr. Akhtar also announced that seven of the region’s 12 least developed countries have met the criteria for graduation at the latest triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy. Furthermore, ESCAP’s Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2016 shows that three other least developed countries, namely Bangladesh, Lao PDR and Myanmar, are close to meeting the condition for graduation.

In the afternoon, a side event hosted by the Government of Bangladesh in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and ESCAP, further explored strategies to promote South-South and triangular cooperation to address key areas that accelerate financial inclusion for least developed countries, and policymakers from Bangladesh, Kiribati, Cambodia and Australia shared their national experiences in developing financial inclusion strategies.

Read our overview or the detailed programme of what is planned for the week. If you cannot join us in Bangkok, you can view the live webcasts on Youtube and Photos of the Day below. For live updates on #CS72, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Photos of the Day

72nd Commission Session: Day 2

Commission Day One: Summary

The senior officials segment of the 72nd session of ESCAP opened today in Bangkok. United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar delivered an opening speech to delegates from ESCAP member States and associate members, highlighting that the Asia-Pacific region has never been better-equipped to tackle existing and emerging development challenges than it is today.

“With the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals we have the blueprint for the future we want,” said Dr. Akhtar. “We also have the resources that we need to implement the goals. What is still missing are the action steps to unlock these resources and to meet the targets that have been set, in every subregion and in every country.” Dr. Akhtar further listed three key elements that would facilitate the progress of sustainable development, namely prioritized and strategic Sustainable Development Goals implementation, regional economic cooperation and integration, and enhanced partnerships for better implementation.

The remainder of the day focused on sessions of the Committee of the Whole, reviewing the work of ESCAP over the last 12 months in areas including: macroeconomic policy; poverty reduction and inclusive development; trade and investment; subregional activities for development; environment and development; information and communications technology, and disaster risk reduction; social development; statistics and management issues.

The annual Commission session sets ESCAP’s work programme for the coming year. This year, the meeting will continue to promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through a balanced integration approach that stresses the importance of economic, environmental and social aspects of growth. The theme of this year’s session is the contribution of science, technology and innovation to achieving sustainable development.

Read our overview or the detailed programme of what is planned for the week. If you cannot join us in Bangkok, you can view the live webcasts on Youtube and Photos of the Day below. For live updates on #CS72, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Voices of the Commission

Photos of the Day

72nd Commission Session: Day 1