Governments can strengthen infrastructure investment in the region by proper planning and coordination across relevant ministries. Complementary policy measures should be undertaken, supported by stronger institutional governance for project execution, respect for property rights and the rule of law to ensure the benefits of infrastructure are shared by all. Infrastructure development frameworks for policy design and implementation are important for this purpose - bringing various sectors together. Overall, ESCAP is mandated to provide a regional platform to bolster infrastructure development and maintenance capacity in CSNs, with the active participation of emerging regional, subregional and national initiatives.
The UN’s regional commissions are well positioned to assist in developing regional approaches to manage climate induced migration. To this end, we have undertaken research, facilitated dialogue and supported Member States in developing integrated solutions and better capacities to address future migration challenges.
To support greater financial inclusion, we are planning several major activities that include inter-regional sharing of best practice, in particular with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as with other regional partners. These will also include research on SME financing and capacity building of member States.
Regional commissions have enhanced consultations and analytical work to promote the Addis Agenda. Most comprehensive is the annual ESCAP high-level FfD dialogue. This has institutionalized focused consultations since 2014. ESCAP has also established a group of 18 eminent public finance experts to advise and support advocacy for tax and public expenditure reforms.
There is an urgent need for better governance and effective fiscal management to promote growth, social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability across the Asia-Pacific region. A multilateral approach is needed to deepen regional economic integration and increase regional demand, intraregional trade and connectivity. Alongside an increased focus on social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability, action in these areas will be crucial to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I am looking forward to hearing the views of our distinguished panelists on these issues.
Following other recent joint efforts between Fiji and ESCAP, and reflected in the many supportive comments from leaders during the last couple of days, has the makings of a ‘genuine and durable partnership’ in line with the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda.
The Asia-Pacific region has been leading the world in economic growth for many years. Our dynamism has been sustained by investments in physical and human capital and by exploiting the opportunities created by globalization. This economic growth created millions of jobs in manufacturing and services sectors. It helped lift many out of poverty and generated resources used to increase socially minded investments to protect the most vulnerable. The region’s economic growth has reduced the number of people living in extreme poverty on $1.90 per day, which declined from 30 per cent to 10 per cent between 2000 and 2013.
The 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 9 focuses on promoting investment in sustainable infrastructure, the benefits of which are uncontested. Upgrading old and building new infrastructure increases productivity, growth, competitiveness, and if done intelligently, supports social development. In the short term, building new infrastructure can boost demand and employment through construction work. In the longer term, it helps to keep growth sustainable. The academic consensus in this field is overwhelming. Infrastructure, growth and poverty reduction go hand in hand.
Unprecedented success has transformed people’s lives and shifted the world’s center of economic gravity eastward. We are taking the lead in finding global solutions to global problems. To quote President Xi Jinping, “In a world of growing interdependency and challenges, no country can tackle the challenges, the world's problems, on its own,"