Asia must face up to the 21st century, Dr. José Ramos-Horta tells United Nations lecture

Former President of Timor-Leste delivers Distinguished Persons Lecture as part of key regional meeting.

Asia faces challenges preventing it from fully rising but the region can and should tackle these and face the 21st century, says H.E. Dr. José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau.

The former President of Timor-Leste, described by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary Dr. Noeleen Heyzer as “one of the great leaders, freedom-fighters, and peace-makers of our time,” made the comments during his Distinguished Person’s Lecture, part of the Ministerial Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific, held at ESCAP from 17 to 20 December.

“We have now seen the fruits of successful sub-regional economic integration,” Dr Ramos-Horta said. “These require vision, strategic thinking and planning, patience and negotiation to build consensus, identifying weaknesses and strengths, searching for complementarities within countries, harnessing resources.

“Our challenges are overwhelming but we can overcome these challenges by pooling resources and exploring solutions in partnerships without exclusions.

“We have resources to alleviate and finally eradicate poverty. We master science and technology,” Dr. Ramos-Horta added. “We possess know-how to lead the search of global answers to the challenge of climate change and the need for sustainable increase in food production.”