There is an urgent need across the region to promote more balanced models of growth. At present, too many people are living in cities without access to adequate shelter, security of tenure, affordable health care or social protection. For the most vulnerable, all disparities impact their well-being exponentially. To create a more prosperous and inclusive urban future, policymakers must urgently close social divides and this calls for a renewed urban social policy agenda.
To achieve the vision of long-term energy security, we need to build trust, commitment and foster collaboration between countries. Our region’s progress in enhancing energy security can proceed in harmony with sustainable development, climate change mitigation and shared prosperity.
ESCAP, together with other international and bilateral agencies, will work closely with member States to enhance national policies and develop regional strategies to meet SDG target 7.1. We welcome the impetus provided by the G20 Action Plan and stand ready to work with G20 members and the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to achieve shared goals.
While much progress has been made to assign priority to energy access, and multiple partnerships have evolved to support public sector efforts, in any long journey it is the last mile that is hardest of all. In our quest to leave no one behind, the challenges to close the remaining gaps must not be underestimated.
Innovative and appropriately-structured financing and business models, suitable for specific national contexts, are critical to extend energy accessibility. Achieving scale and replicability of energy access depends on government policy-setting and the ability to attract the right level and mix of investments, as well as on the viability of business models driven by creative and innovative solutions that have effective risk management.
The drive for universal energy access, which is so critical for wellbeing, equity and dignity of people, will receive fresh impetus not only from coordinated action on Goal 7, but through policies that will facilitate balancing the trade-offs between economic, social and environmental priorities to ensure that energy resource use and intensity are well managed.
The inclusive, resilient and prosperous future we want, for all the people of Asia and the Pacific, demands that we place sustainability at the heart of the development agenda beyond 2015. This requires an unstinting regional commitment to a coherent and well-articulated conceptual framework which promotes balanced and integrated development of the three dimensions of sustainability — economic, social and environmental – to ensure shared prosperity within the Earth’s carrying capacities. Such a framework needs to be supported by policies, incentives and institutional coordination mechanisms.
The fundamental promise of the 2030 Agenda is development that leaves no one behind. ICTs are acknowledged as a powerful tool with the potential to foster equality and inclusiveness. We must leverage these technologies to help those with limited voice, limited opportunities and limited access to education, health and basic services.
The speed and scope of urbanisation in Asia and the Pacific is unprecedented: the region’s urban population grew by 630 million over the past fifteen years , and by 2018 more than half the population of the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be urban. With urban growth outpacing population growth, by 2050 urban areas will be home to nearly two out of every three people living in our region.
Graduation is a major milestone in the lives of all students. It marks your transition from academia to a world which is full of opportunities and temptations, but which is also competitive and demanding. Your success will depend on the choices you make, your conduct, as well as how well you harness your skills and abilities to deal with challenges and cope with risks.