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.
To achieve the vision of energy integration we need to build trust, commitment and political capital between countries. ESCAP is utilising its intergovernmental platforms as part of the efforts to advance regional integration in pursuit of this vision.
With its grass-roots proximity, its potential to act as a watch-dog to enhance accountability and offer effective delivery of services, we count on civil society’s capacities and effective partnership to ensure that “no one is left behind”.
The midterm review of implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action in Asia and the Pacific, conducted by ESCAP and organized in partnership with the Government of Cambodia, confirms the good progress made by Asia-Pacific least developed countries (LDCs). The good news is that of the 12 LDCs in our region, seven have met or are in process of meeting the graduation criteria, and others such as Bangladesh, Lao PDR and Myanmar, are very likely to meet the conditions for graduation for the first time at the 2018 triennial review.
Sustainable development has the potential to bring about a fundamental change in the world of business and finance. The challenge now is to seize this potential to ensure that capital allocation towards sustainable growth and development happens at the scale and speed needed in the Asia-Pacific region.
UNEA provides a great opportunity to deliberate on the critical topic of women and the environment at a time when we are faced with a widespread economic slowdown, social tensions in different parts of the world and environmental stress on a global scale.