Gender inequality is a distinct, pervasive and cross-cutting barrier to equitable, inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. Gender-specific obstacles disproportionately limit access to education, healthcare, financial markets, and productive employment opportunities for women and girls.
The 70th session of the Commission has been a great success. In spite of challenging circumstances, which required us to conduct the session in two phases, we have seen wide-ranging deliberations and real progress made on understandings about critical development priorities.
Women, men and children in every corner of our region look to their leaders for a better future. No country can meet those needs alone. The foundation of the United Nations success is that we do better together. This is why I will use my first Policy Statement today to make the case for your support for an even stronger ESCAP. I will start by outlining the scope of our regional challenges and opportunities, and then talk about the changes we are making to the Commission to better support your development priorities.
The ESCAP Survey of Surveys provides an analytical narrative of the transformation of the region, from one plagued by pervasive hunger and deprivation, to the Asian miracle which has lifted billions of people out of extreme poverty. It tells how the region shifted from being at the periphery to became the centre of gravity for the world economy.
There must be consistency and coherence between the G20 development agenda and the emerging UN Sustainable Development Agenda. This is critical for a number of reasons, but most of all because the emerging sustainable development goals will be universally applicable, and the global partnership focusing on key means of implementation of the SDGs will require unwavering G20 support. The attention and support of G20 Leaders for the sustainable development agenda will therefore be critical.
We share a common duty of care – in our official, institutional and personal capacities to ensure that the next global development agenda builds on our past experiences, and delivers on its mandate of building the future we want for all the people.
Like the wider United Nations and its other regional commissions, we have to be “fit for purpose” to help this region build on its successes, and to support it in its implementation of the emerging post-2015 sustainable development agenda, while carrying forward the work on regional priorities and programs.
We must harness the energies, resources and expertise of Rising Asia-Pacific. No other region is better-placed to wipe out extreme poverty, eliminate hunger, eradicate disease, or has shown greater resilience to multiple external shocks. No other generation of leaders has borne greater responsibility for the future of our people and our planet.