Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the ESCAP Energy Committee. I would like personally thank all the member States who have supported ESCAP to institutionalise and operationalise this Energy Committee. This Committee actually sets the stage for member States to promote enhanced regional cooperation that holds promise to enhance prospects for sustainable energy development.
Welcome to ESCAP, the regional home of the United Nations in the Asia-Pacific, for the first public-private sector energy policy dialogue where we will deliberate on how the private sector and policymakers can work together to accelerate the energy transition.
As leaders of the national statistical systems in the ESCAP region, you can certainly attest to the unprecedented level of emphasis placed on data and statistics in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving the 2030 Agenda will require high-quality data which is accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location. However, as you are all aware, of the 230 unique indicators in the global SDG framework, we only have data on less than 100 indicators. Even more worrisome, due to limited country coverage and availability of data over time, regional trends can only be estimated for 60 of the 230 SDG indicators. Our work is of course cut out in this context.
I wish to thank the Chairperson and Vice Chairpersons for steering our deliberations towards a successful conclusion and all of the delegates for sharing their experiences, views and expectations on the future shape of transport development in our region. I would also like to thank the Rapporteur for his constructive role in the production of the report.
The signing of this Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport along the Asian Highway Network by the Governments of China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation serves to illustrate the high-level dedication to improving connectivity among these countries.
2016 has been an important and productive year for ESCAP. In line with our work programme and the global drive, we supported the commencement of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with very proactive support and guidance from member States. Our focus has also been on enhancing regional cooperation and supporting countries to integrate transboundary initiatives that aim to revive regional trade and economic growth. This year ESCAP also supported a range of global conferences which laid down the future frameworks for sustainable development. These included among others the Habitat III outcome document as well as the Marrakech declaration. These principal documents will guide our work in the future.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for, among others fundamental transformations in the way our societies produce and consume goods and services. To guide this transformation, governments must develop policies, plans, and programmes to holistically address manifold issues ranging from poverty, hunger, health, inequality, education and decent work, to energy, water, infrastructure, ecosystems and sustainable consumption and production. The success of these policies and plans will depend on financing, technologies, innovative capacities and partnerships.
Youth make up a significant percentage of Asia and the Pacific’s population. There are approximately 700 million youths in our region, which accounts for about 60 per cent of the global youth population. It is very important that we regularly get together at events like this, “Youth at the Heart of the 2030 Agenda: The Case for Space”, to discuss issues that affect you. The theme of this event speaks for itself and how significant youth are to the future of our region. I would like to welcome you here today.
As an engine of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, international trade is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And as we are embarking on SDG implementation, this is a very important endeavor. However, as this year’s report demonstrates, recent trends and the prospects for trade do not seem promising. While volatility and uncertainty have been pervasive in trade performance since the peak of the global financial crisis in 2009, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced a significant contraction in both imports and exports in 2015.