Transforming our energy system is mission-critical for achieving sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. There are many opportunities to rethink how we generate, share and consume energy to support growth, social progress and environmental protection. Regional cooperation is the key to unlocking many of these opportunities, which is why the Commission is so committed to working with you in this area.
Energy is an issue of growing importance for our region. Not only is it directly addressed in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on sustainable energy for all, but it impacts on many of the other Goals as well. Energy is critical for revitalizing regional economic growth, which has slowed down in recent years; it is essential for eradicating poverty; and it underpins the health and well-being of the people of our region.
There was a clear call for ESCAP to support efforts for regional cooperation on implementing the SDGs, and you have decided that the APFSD will be, for years to come, the regional platform to share experiences and to strengthen implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on strong national ownership along with rigorous and systematic follow-up and review, using national indicators aligned with the global indicators, will be the cornerstone of sustainable development success.
As cities seek to find solutions to persistent and emerging issues, regional forums such as the APFSD offer opportunities to share innovative policies and initiatives, facilitate knowledge-sharing, as well as strengthening North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation. This also supports SDG 17, on the means of implementation and the global partnerships required for sustainable development, bridging the gap between global commitments and local implementation.
There are a number of Asia-Pacific megatrends that must be harnessed to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda: urbanization, economic and trade integration, rising incomes, changing patterns of production and consumption, as well as the development of cross-border infrastructure, all of which must be aligned with and support sustainable development.
Over the past 15 years, our region has made good progress on many fronts. Yet, many significant challenges remain. More than 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty, economic and social disparities are widening and growth remains inefficient and wasteful. Our region is also exposed to vulnerabilities linked to environmental factors.
Asia and the Pacific has the need, commitment, potential, track record and leadership to drive implementation of the SDGs. Our endeavours are aimed to support the dialogue of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) to be convened during the ECOSOC session in New York in July under the theme “Ensuring that no one is left behind.”
The Addis Agenda is a global compact that establishes a strong, broad-based framework to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda, backed by concrete policy actions and supported by a range of means of implementation, such as finance, trade and investment, as well as science, technology and innovation. With your support, this inaugural follow-up session has been structured to reflect on the Addis Agenda’s implementation priorities in Asia and the Pacific.
Poverty eradication is at the core of sustainable development and cannot be achieved without addressing all forms of rising inequalities. The challenges of social development are multidimensional and require multidimensional solutions. Social development is therefore a necessary condition for “ensuring that no one is left behind” , but to do so, we must harness the powerful nexus between poverty reduction, equality and social stability.