In line with this year’s High Level Political Forum theme, APFSD will focus on “Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a changing Asia-Pacific”. Our region, to its credit, has had a fair degree of success in reducing poverty. However, the deep rooted and multi-dimensional causes of poverty have prevented more distinct and sizeable achievements.
The road to the SDGs is challenging but achievable. The region is steadily making inroads in institutionalizing the SDGs in development and sectoral plans. Continued strong leadership, oversight, sharing of knowledge and best practices and UN system collaboration will help countries embrace integrated strategies to confront the multidimensional facets of poverty: deprivation, discrimination and marginalization, enabling the opportunity for prosperity for all.
Accelerating the transformation of official statistics to advance implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals requires not only concrete and tangible national actions but also complementary, collaborative, and cooperative partnership initiatives, based on a common understanding of the needs of countries.
It has been an honour to work for the UN’s largest Commission and a team that has shown its ability to change. I hope that you will continue to provide the same level of strong support for ESCAP for the incoming Executive Secretary. In the meantime the deputy executive secretaries and the directors will continue the important work ESCAP undertakes.
China’s role in the global context has grown in terms of its output, trade and now its voice and leadership in sustainable and inclusive development, as well as its resolve to pursue low carbon pathways. A further paradigm shift is anticipated in the role and influence of China, as it delivers on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by leveraging on its successful infrastructure capabilities and the capital strengths of new financing vehicles such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), New Development Bank (NDB) and the Silk Road.
Asian LLDCs face a number of critical barriers to both trade and transport connectivity. The 12 Asian LLDCs account for 0.7 per cent of global exports, while the entire Asia-Pacific region’s exports account for 40 per cent of the global total. The low share of global exports by LLDCs is a result of their lack of export diversification. For example the leading export sector in 6 Asian LLDCS is either hydrocarbon or minerals. As a result, LLDCs have had limited participation in Global Value Chains, or GVCs. Meanwhile, depending on the industry and measurement methods, the share of GVC-related trade stands at between 20 per cent and 60 per cent in the total trade of the Asia-Pacific.
ECO has been a long standing partner in development for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, or ESCAP. All ECO members are also ESCAP members and are engaged in broader policy and normative debates of regional cooperation and integration.
Welcome to the 13th session of the Asia-Pacific Business Forum hosted by the Government of Bangladesh and the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh. The ESCAP Business Advisory Council and its Sustainable Business Network need to be acknowledged for their steadfast support to his Forum along with ADB, CitiBank, IFC and the many other cooperating agencies for their contributions.
On behalf of the Executive Secretary, It gives me much pleasure to bring to a close this inaugural session of the ESCAP Committee on Energy. Having listened to your deliberations and heard your ideas, responses and recommendations on how we as a unified region can address our energy challenges, I have much confidence in the future of regional energy cooperation and look forward to working on the programmes, initiatives and plans of action that we will develop together in support of the energy transition.