The ethic of service above self and the ethos of upliftment are at the heart of both Nelson Mandela Day and the work of the United Nations in every region of the world - none more so than right here in Asia and the Pacific.
The recent global financial crisis once again drew the international community’s attention to the need for economic and financial stability, to support higher and sustainable economic growth. Financing sustainable development demands of us to look beyond trade-offs and enhance synergies among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development for the future we want.
Development requirements have, thus far, been under-served by the Asia-Pacific financial system. Investments in sustainable development could cost as much as $2.5 trillion per year just to close the region’s infrastructure gaps, provide universal access to social protection, health, and education, and implement measures to mitigate climate change. This represents, however, only a fraction of the vast savings held in the region, which should be mobilized to finance sustainable development.
China is already leading the way on regional economic growth, trade, transport and many other areas. It has also taken ever greater steps to lead on issues such as environmentalstewardship and social welfare systems. As we move into the post-2015 development agenda, and begin to firmly address the shared challenges of our region, we are also looking to China to champion the cause of greater regional connectivity, integration and cooperation for the mutual benefit of all the people of Asia and the Pacific.
The first phase of the seventieth session will focus on the ESCAP’s strategic framework for the biennium 2016-2017. This framework lays out the vision and priorities for ESCAP’s work, and offers a multi-dimensional strategy for assisting countries. The intention is to deepen our engagement on regional integration and cooperation, and to further promote sustainable development within ESCAP’s core mandate.
The secretariat will spare no effort to implement, in the most efficient and timely manner possible, the decisions that the Commission has made at this first phase of the 70th session. In this regard, we look forward to the holding of the second phase of the Commission session from 4 to 8 August, here at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok.
I would like to set the scene for this session by highlighting the key priorities which will underpin ESCAP’s current and future strategic frameworks, and associated programmes of work. Since my assumption of duties at ESCAP, the secretariat has been engaged in a process of deep reflection, particularly in assessing our strengths as well as areas requiring improvement to make ESCAP a more effective organization to serve you, our member States.
The first Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development is a key part of the global processes to solicit the views and the voices of all stakeholders on sustainable development, and to ensure strong ownership of the architecture and goals in the next phase of global development. The process is unprecedented, and all-encompassing relative to how we developed the MDGs, and the perspectives which you offer will be shared with the High level Political Forum to be convened during the ECOSOC session in July this year.