ESCAP Executive Secretary Meets Top Chinese Leaders on First Official Visit

Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), visited China from 17 to 23 January 2008. It was Ms. Heyzer's first official visit to China since taking office.

Ms. Heyzer's discussions with the Chinese authorities focused on five key areas: the new strategic direction of ESCAP; means of strengthening the UN Development Pillar, including through regional and subregional approaches; China's participation in the sixty-fourth session of the Commission; China's contribution to the China-ESCAP Cooperation Programme; and modalities for strengthening the work of the United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery, a Beijing-based regional institution of ESCAP.

Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, State Councillor (Vice-Premier rank), expressed China's strong support for the new strategic direction of ESCAP in strengthening regional cooperation, to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Asia-Pacific.
Ms. Heyzer also met with Ms. Gu Xiulian, Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and President of the All-China Women's Federation, and Mr. Liu Jieyi, Assistant Foreign Minister.

While in China, Ms. Heyzer visited Shanghai, the birthplace of ESCAP - before it moved to Bangkok in 1949. Ms. Heyzer also headed into the interior, visiting the Three-Gorges Resettlement Programme and observing first hand China's efforts to balance economic development with social and environment concerns.

Ms. Heyzer's also met with the UN Country Team in China to discuss synergies that could be strengthened in support of UN system-wide cooperation.

Another highlight was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ESCAP and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on the occasion of Ms. Heyzer's meeting with Mr. Bolat Kabdylkhamitovich Galiev, Secretary-General of SCO.