Regional partnerships and strong leadership critical to post-2015 development agenda

ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, Pattaya (Photo Credit: Siriwat Theerawong)

Strong leadership at all levels of government and inclusive regional partnerships with civil society, the private sector and the United Nations system were highlighted as key to delivering on an ambitious and transformative post 2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the closing of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.

Convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and co-hosted by the Royal Thai Government, the Forum held from 19 to 21 May in Pattaya, Thailand marked the inaugural regional meeting under the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) - the preeminent United Nations global body providing political leadership and guidance on sustainable development.

As the United Nations transitions from a development agenda driven by the MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs) to a post-2015 development agenda anchored by sustainability, the Forum outcomes will serve as a key input into the global HLPF negotiations to ensure regional priorities and perspectives are reflected there.

“The outcomes of the Forum will define the sustainable development priorities and architecture of regional strategy to pursue SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar affirmed at the Forum.

Over the past three days, regional priorities and perspectives on the United Nations post-2015 development agenda, and a pathway towards a transformative development agenda with sustainability at its core, were shared by ministers and high-level representatives from across the region, along with civil society, United Nations and private sector organizations.

The importance of effective governance, securing adequate financing, sharing technological innovations and developing global partnerships were among the key priority drivers of transformation identified at the Forum, supported by strongnational, regional and international institutional foundations for effective implementation. A focus on disaster risk reduction, sustainable consumption and production and the unique challenges and opportunities associated with an ageing population and the ‘youth bulge’ in the region, also stood out as regionally specific priorities.

“Shaping the post-2015 development agenda is both a challenging and sobering responsibility, and an unmatched opportunity to change lives, livelihoods and lifestyles, ” Dr. Akhtar stressed, also emphasizing that the Asia and the Pacific region is well known for taking up this responsibility and for “successfully changing the destiny of its people.”

Outcomes from the meeting will be delivered at the second session of the global High Level Political Forum, to be convened at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in July 2014.