ESCAP and Russia announce joint efforts to address development challenges

Russia makes financial contribution to ESCAP technical cooperation projects

The Russian Federation agreed to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to promote inclusive and sustainable development in the region, providing a voluntary contribution of $1.2 million annually during the period 2009 -2010 to support key technical cooperation activities of ESCAP.

This partnership was announced today at a ceremony at ESCAP in Bangkok between Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Andrey Nedosekov, Deputy Transport Minister of the Russian Federation.

Under the agreement, the Russian contribution will be used for technical cooperation projects to develop capacities and improve development in environment, energy, regional transport connectivity, disaster risk reduction, statistics and migration. The geographical focus of the projects includes the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, in particular Central Asian States, and countries in East and Northeast Asia.

On environment, ESCAP and the Russian Federation will develop cooperation mechanisms for nature conservation in transboundary areas in Northeast Asia. In Central and Northeast Asia, capacities will be enhanced in the use of eco-efficiency concepts including policy options in support of sustainable urban infrastructure development.

In the area of energy cooperation, the Russian contribution will support the implementation of the Baku Initiative on Energy Efficiency and Conservation, the implementation of the five-year strategy for the Intergovernmental Collaborative Mechanism on Energy Cooperation in North-East Asia, and the establishment of the Trans-Asia Energy System for sustainable development.

On transport, the focus of the partnership will be on the operationalization of the Trans-Asian Railway Network in Northeast and Central Asia, including demonstration runs of container trains and data collection on international intermodal movements; the development of dry ports along the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks; and the implementation of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, and national road safety programmes to achieve agreed safety goals and targets.

ESCAP and the Russian Federation also agreed to work on the effective use of information and communication technology in population census operations as part of the efforts to increase capacities in Central Asia to provide data required for measuring progress towards achieving internationally agreed goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

In the field of disaster risk reduction, the contribution will strengthen capacities to forecast extreme weather events in Asia, including enhanced regional cooperation on sharing information. National capacities will also be built for better migration management, including the development and promotion of effective policies on migrant remittances.

The ceremony was also attended by Yevgeny V. Afanasiev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Thailand and Permanent Representative to ESCAP, and Gennady Gatilov, Director of the Department of International Organizations of the Russian Foreign Ministry.