The Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a concrete and forward-looking commitment to the more just and sustainable future we want for women and men, girls and boys, in every country of our region. We stand together today as guarantors of the rights and opportunities which vest in every woman and every girl – as equal, valuable and valued partners in shaping the future prosperity and destiny of Asia and the Pacific.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are both fundamental human rights issues and necessary conditions for development for all people. This Conference is a unique opportunity to recommit Asia and the Pacific to the goal of gender equality and the means of accelerating the realization of human rights and opportunities for all women and men, girls and boys.
Regional partnerships have to be at the core of the unfinished Asia-Pacific connectivity agenda - riding the wave of enhanced connectivity, the time is now right and ripe for innovative and sustainable solutions to lead our region to a more prosperous and resilient future.
To harness the opportunities and benefits of trade and investment, we must rethink our strategies and boost efforts as we adopt a new and enhanced Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries for the decade 2014-2024. We must seek out freer market access whilst providing solutions to supply side constraints, for Asian LLDCs to achieve strong, sustained and inclusive trade-led growth.
There is no inevitability between being landlocked and being underdeveloped. Low levels of trade integration offer scope for exploiting regional and subregional complementarities that remain untapped, due to gaps in hard and soft connecting infrastructure. With large-scale investments and prioritization in policy planning, landlocked countries can match and even outperform the achievements of many coastal economies.
Plenary Statement by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations & Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at the Second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in Vienna, Austria.