ESCAP will continue working to its fullest capacity on multiple fronts to ensure that the region is well equipped to meet the challenges of the SDGs and that developing countries, especially the countries with special needs, are given the support they need to reach their development potential.
Realignment of public policy frameworks alone cannot drive the transition to sustainable development. The private sector, through forging transformative alliances and challenging conventional thinking can translate the sustainable development process, embodied in the SDGs, from promises on paper to meaningful changes on the ground.
In 1951 the United Nations issued its first stamps. Today, I have the great privilege to present to you a new stamp sheet, issued by the United Nations Postal Administration, commemorating this special exhibition and promoting the work of the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific.
Given the global economic challenges and slowdown, more supportive global partnerships for finance, trade and investment will be critical given CSN trade accounts for barely 0.9% of the total regional trade. ESCAP through its regional connectivity and trade facilitation programs will be focused on supporting the CSNs to improve their trade prospects which are critical for growth and trade revival.
In order to achieve sustainable results there has to be a decisive shift in governments and the private sector, from “governing for business as usual” to “governing for transformation.” To enable this shift, countries require effective multilateral platforms, regional networks and efficient governance structures to intermediate finance and technology with appropriate “transformation capabilities and capacities” to intermediate these resources for marginalized group. Change management, coalition building and stakeholder engagement to leverage private sector will be critical to achieve sustainable results.
Regional commissions are committed to support countries in special situations. Our collective pledge in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to ensure that “no-one is left behind”, which requires the global community to pay particular attention to least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
To fully deliver on the vision of Agenda 2030 and “leave no one behind”, effective mobilization of resources is needed and can be supported by regional cooperation, innovation and inclusive approaches to finance. ESCAP, as the primary intergovernmental and policy coordination platform for the Asia-Pacific region, will continue to support our member States in building their capacities for this purpose.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to some of the world’s most advanced national statistical institutions. On the other hand, the statistical systems in many of our least developed, landlocked developing and small island developing States are struggling to provide the basic statistical information needed for developmental decision-making.
The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) is a key regional intergovernmental platform convened by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) for the last three years, which has now been institutionalized as an annual forum offering space for effective and constructive experience-sharing; identification of regional trends; assessment of progress across countries in adoption of national sustainability strategies; institutional coordination and implementation of SDGs; as well as sharing best practices, lessons learned, associated experience, policies and knowledge.
There is an urgent need across the region to promote more balanced models of growth. At present, too many people are living in cities without access to adequate shelter, security of tenure, affordable health care or social protection. For the most vulnerable, all disparities impact their well-being exponentially. To create a more prosperous and inclusive urban future, policymakers must urgently close social divides and this calls for a renewed urban social policy agenda.