The Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a concrete and forward-looking commitment to the more just and sustainable future we want for women and men, girls and boys, in every country of our region. We stand together today as guarantors of the rights and opportunities which vest in every woman and every girl – as equal, valuable and valued partners in shaping the future prosperity and destiny of Asia and the Pacific.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are both fundamental human rights issues and necessary conditions for development for all people. This Conference is a unique opportunity to recommit Asia and the Pacific to the goal of gender equality and the means of accelerating the realization of human rights and opportunities for all women and men, girls and boys.
Regional partnerships have to be at the core of the unfinished Asia-Pacific connectivity agenda - riding the wave of enhanced connectivity, the time is now right and ripe for innovative and sustainable solutions to lead our region to a more prosperous and resilient future.
To harness the opportunities and benefits of trade and investment, we must rethink our strategies and boost efforts as we adopt a new and enhanced Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries for the decade 2014-2024. We must seek out freer market access whilst providing solutions to supply side constraints, for Asian LLDCs to achieve strong, sustained and inclusive trade-led growth.
There is no inevitability between being landlocked and being underdeveloped. Low levels of trade integration offer scope for exploiting regional and subregional complementarities that remain untapped, due to gaps in hard and soft connecting infrastructure. With large-scale investments and prioritization in policy planning, landlocked countries can match and even outperform the achievements of many coastal economies.
Plenary Statement by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations & Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at the Second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in Vienna, Austria.
Today we celebrate young people and their capacity to embody the values of volunteerism, while reaffirming our commitment to a better future for them and our future generations. A dynamic youth agenda is vital to ensure the success of post-2015 sustainable development. Volunteerism can lead the way; it can build capacity and enhance understanding of how all people matter.
It is an honor and a pleasure to join you today to celebrate the 69th United Nations Day in Seoul. I also want to use this opportunity to offer our warm congratulations to the Republic of Korea on the 60th anniversary of its membership of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The Republic of Korea’s development history during its 60 years with ESCAP has been an incredible journey, which deserves special recognition and celebration.
To achieve sustainable development, regional economic cooperation and integration, as well as regional connectivity and the key development other priorities of Asia and the Pacific, we must transform the Commission and the secretariat so they are both “fit for purpose.”
There was a noticeable shift in focus from the time of the Barbados Programme of Action to the Mauritius Strategy, which moved the SIDS development dialogue towards implementation. With the outcome of Rio+20, and now the SAMOA Pathway, there is another shift taking place – towards real action. The SAMOA Pathway spells out some key roles for the regional commissions in support of sustainable development in the Pacific, and we will respond with vigor and concrete actions.