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).
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.
To achieve the vision of long-term energy security, we need to build trust, commitment and foster collaboration between countries. Our region’s progress in enhancing energy security can proceed in harmony with sustainable development, climate change mitigation and shared prosperity.
ESCAP, together with other international and bilateral agencies, will work closely with member States to enhance national policies and develop regional strategies to meet SDG target 7.1. We welcome the impetus provided by the G20 Action Plan and stand ready to work with G20 members and the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to achieve shared goals.
While much progress has been made to assign priority to energy access, and multiple partnerships have evolved to support public sector efforts, in any long journey it is the last mile that is hardest of all. In our quest to leave no one behind, the challenges to close the remaining gaps must not be underestimated.
Innovative and appropriately-structured financing and business models, suitable for specific national contexts, are critical to extend energy accessibility. Achieving scale and replicability of energy access depends on government policy-setting and the ability to attract the right level and mix of investments, as well as on the viability of business models driven by creative and innovative solutions that have effective risk management.
The drive for universal energy access, which is so critical for wellbeing, equity and dignity of people, will receive fresh impetus not only from coordinated action on Goal 7, but through policies that will facilitate balancing the trade-offs between economic, social and environmental priorities to ensure that energy resource use and intensity are well managed.
The inclusive, resilient and prosperous future we want, for all the people of Asia and the Pacific, demands that we place sustainability at the heart of the development agenda beyond 2015. This requires an unstinting regional commitment to a coherent and well-articulated conceptual framework which promotes balanced and integrated development of the three dimensions of sustainability — economic, social and environmental – to ensure shared prosperity within the Earth’s carrying capacities. Such a framework needs to be supported by policies, incentives and institutional coordination mechanisms.