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.
Welcome to the opening of the ESCAP’s 2016 SDG Week. A lot of effort have been undertake by my colleagues to put together such an extensive programme of activities related to SDG implementation, so I would like to thank everybody for their hard work and preparations and look forward to the forthcoming week.
Welcome to the 2016 Asia-Pacific Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This year our Commemoration is part of ESCAP’s SDG Week; an acknowledgement that we cannot make headway in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without addressing gender inequality and violence against women and girls. We must build on the momentum from the adoption of this ambitious agenda to create safe and inclusive societies for our women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region.
Transport – which connects people to economic opportunities, health services, and much more – can make or break our capacity to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Efforts to harness the potential contribution of the sector to sustainable development must ensure that transport is accessible, affordable, efficient, financially sustainable, environmentally friendly, and safe.
Roads are the oldest and most popularly used mode of transport, responsible for catalyzing human civilization and supporting economic and social development globally. Its convenience and flexibility has allowed road transport to provide door-to-door delivery of goods and services as well as door-to-terminal of maritime, air and railway passengers and goods.
This year’s Forum is a valuable opportunity for SPECA countries to take stock of and share perspectives on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires not only national leadership and action, but also strengthened regional and subregional cooperation to enhance national implementation capacities. To this end, engaging with ESCAP SPECA can help share knowledge, experience, and best practice on SDG implementation across the region.
Under China’s 2016 G20 Presidency, the Green Finance Study Group emphasised the importance of enabling policies to better mobilize private capital for green investment. Green finance in the Asia-Pacific region has been flourishing, driven by regulatory requirements, incentives and voluntary initiatives.
Today, the Asia-Pacific region is at the forefront of the climate change impact. Climate change risks damaging its development prospects and throwing millions of people in the region back into poverty. Future losses for the region are large. Estimates show that for eighteen countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the ratio of losses to social spending will exceed 10 per cent per year, and in some countries losses will be much higher. Out of 19 million new displacements associated with disasters in 2015, 84 per cent occurred in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Asia-Pacific region has a stake in implementing the Paris Agreement. Annual average emissions in the region have been growing at over 4 per cent over the last two decades, higher than any other region. Continued high economic growth, population growth and urbanization are expected to keep the region on a high-emissions pathway.
Strong policy frameworks, integrated strategies and green technologies adopted by China are raising the bar for sustainable low-carbon development. China is forging a path for others in the region and around the world to follow. Its actions and outcomes are having a major impact on the global climate change landscape.