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,"
ESCAP’s Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing Countries has been the key platform for our intergovernmental dialogue. These countries, referred to as the Countries with Special Needs (CSNs), are among the most vulnerable in the world and continue to face challenges to inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The Commission, throughout its existence, has continually looked to remain at the forefront of our region’s development needs. It has always taken stock of its effectiveness and relevance, and made the adjustments necessary for it to remain the pre-eminent regional intergovernmental platform.
The proposed programme of work incorporates feedback from the Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives and from member States. The Department of Management has further reviewed it to ensure coherence with the work conducted by other offices of the Secretariat and other regional commissions. The General Assembly, through resolution 71/6, also mandated a new expected accomplishment to further realize efficiencies in travel costs for the Organization, and this has been added under executive direction and management.
With this mandate and the encouragement provided by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, our regional commission has significantly enhanced its expertise and support for member States on financing for development related issues. ESCAP’s regional dialogue series, its analytical knowledge products and its capacity development activities are increasingly being recognized and used by member States and partner institutions.
Welcome to the seventy-third session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of ESCAP and the second year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The secretariat has worked with member States to reform ESCAP and make it “fit-for-purpose” to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
BRI represents a long-term transcontinental plan for enhanced global connectivity and integration. It has potential to further position the Asia-Pacific as an epicenter of growth, trade, innovation and low carbon development. Mainstreaming sustainable development will help BRI promote seamless and integrated connectivity, deepen market integration while enhancing financial cooperation and climate resilience to collectively mitigate vulnerabilities.
Over the past 15 years, there has been considerable global progress to reduce poverty and uplift the living conditions of people. Smooth and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda calls for managing the undercurrents and risks associated with globalization. This includes, among other things promoting multilateralism as an anchor of global governance to regain the momentum of growth and trade, while offering the required international and public finance and directing private finance - both critical to shoulder the bill of the SDGs.