Asia-Pacific countries to launch 70th regional development policy forum

Phase II of 70th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific convened from 4 August to 8 August 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand under the theme of "Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity".

Asia-Pacific countries will convene in Bangkok this week for the annual policy session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), focusing on the role of regional connectivity in supporting economic growth and development, particularly through the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental.

Senior government officials from over 40 member countries and associate member countries will meet at the 70th session from 4 to 6 August ahead of the Commission’s high-level ministerial segment from 7 to 8 August to be attended by Heads of State and senior ministers.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security, Timor-Leste, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, the Prime Minister of Bhutan H.E. Tshering Tobgay, H.E. Lord Tu'ivakano, Prime Minister of Tonga and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow will address the opening of the ministerial segment. More than 30 ministers from Asia and the Pacific are expected to participate in the ministerial segment.

Ministers from Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Pakistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands and Tonga will be among key speakers at panel discussions during the high-level session this week, focusing on steering the region towards equitable, environment-friendly and resilient growth.

The ESCAP session is being held against the backdrop of high public debt levels and declining international development assistance, which has affected Asia-Pacific growth and contributed to rising income inequality, both within and between countries in the region.

A Ministerial Round Table on the theme of the 70th session, “Regional connectivity for shared prosperity”, on the opening day of the ministerial segment will focus on transport, ICT and energy connectivity and multi-sectoral and cross-border cooperation.

At a media launch on 6 August, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar will present the key findings of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2014, the flagship publication of ESCAP outlining the latest macroeconomic projections and policy advice for the region.

On the second day of the ministerial segment, Asia-Pacific government leaders and policymakers will join a panel discussion on sustainable development and development finance to suggest policy options for addressing existing and emerging vulnerabilities.

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Key events during the week, including all panel discussions, will be webcast live at http://www.unescap.org/commission/webcast

The ministerial segment will be webcast in four languages (English, Chinese, French and Russian)

The Commission session can also be followed on social media using the hash tag #CS70.

For more information about the Commission session visit: http://www.unescap.org/commission