What's Ahead @ ESCAP: 16-31 August 2014

14 June, 2011- Mae Salong, Thailand - H'mong hill tribes: 18% of adults, or 771 million people, are illiterate, two-thirds of whom are women. (UNESCO, 2005) Photo Credit: Kibae Park/UN Photo

A summary of upcoming events, seminars and other activities throughout ESCAP for 16-31 August 2014.

Committee on Social Development, Third Session, 18-20 August 2014, Bangkok

Ministers and representatives from over 23 ESCAP countries will gather in Bangkok for the Third Session of the ESCAP Committee on Social Development from 18 to 20 August. The Committee aims to identify priority social development trends and challenges in Asia and the Pacific for the development agenda beyond 2015 and to serve as a preparatory body for the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review, which will be convened by ESCAP in cooperation with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) in Bangkok from 10 to 14 November 2014. Other expected results include endorsing main elements of the draft outcome document for the above-mentioned Conference, and to endorse the secretariat’s programmatic focus and planned outputs in the field of social development for the biennium 2016-2017. A side event and an exhibition featuring key trends and issues on inequality have been planned for this occasion.

Studying Sustainable Agriculture in Practice: Smallholders on Tour in Nepal, 18-23 August 2014, Kathmandu

The Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA) in close partnership with the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) facilitated a second study tour for smallholder representatives in Cambodia from 4-9 August. Participants including lead farmers, NGO extension workers as well as government officials from four South-East Asian countries (Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Cambodia) joined this educational visit to Cambodia – held as part of the Network for Knowledge Transfer on Sustainable Agricultural Technologies and Improved Market Linkages in South and Southeast Asia SATNET Asia project. The participants who had been invited based on their lead role in their respective communities were exposed to good practices and technologies in the areas of system of rice intensification (SRI), organic rice and vegetable production and certification, and rice mill cooperatives. They took part in site visits to the Tramkork District in Takeo Province and Roleaphear District in Kampong Chhnang Province as well as in Phnom Penh. Lively interaction throughout the week indicated that they greatly benefited from CEDAC’s experience in promoting sustainable agricultural technologies, community mobilization and enabling market linkages. Participants plan to introduce many of the approaches in their own communities.

The third study tour will be conducted in Nepal in collaboration with International Development Enterprises (IDE) from 18 to 23 August. During the visit, participants from five South Asian countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan) will have the opportunity to visit various sites that showcase good practices in Integrated Pest Management, climate resilient agriculture, and post-harvest issues which are of high relevance to the region. Two more SATNET study tours for smallholder value chain actors are planned in the coming weeks, in India and Thailand.

Second Group Training Course in Improving Capability in Producing Official Statistics Relating to MDGs Indicators (ICPOS-2), 18 August-19 December 2014, Chiba, Japan

The United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will conduct the core phase of the Second Group Training Course in Improving Capability in Producing Official Statistics Relating to MDGs Indicators (ICPOS-2) at its premises in Chiba, Japan from 18 August to 19 December. The course is designed for junior- to middle- level government statisticians who have been working at least five years in national statistical offices or government offices engaged in statistical work. Participants from 12 countries are expected to attend including: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Viet Nam.

This course covers basic theories and skills for production of MDG-related official statistics and monitoring indicators. Under the guidance of the course training team, participants acquire knowledge and improve their skills through a mix of lectures, participant presentations and group discussions, working-with-data sessions and field visits. As a key feature of the learning strategy of the course, participants will design, manage and implement a sample survey project and present and disseminate their results. The core phase was preceded by the Preparatory e-Learning Course on Basic Statistics conducted from 28 July to 10 August 2014. The objective of the e-learning course was to ensure that participants of ICPOS-2 were better prepared for the four-month on-site phase at SIAP.

National Public-Private Partnership Forum, 19-20 August, 2014, Thimphu

Recognizing the challenges of financing infrastructure development, ESCAP is implementing a United Nations development account project over the period 2014-2015 that aims to support less developed countries in further involving the private sector in infrastructure development, particularly using the public-private partnership (PPP) mechanism. As part of the project, a national workshop is being organized to support the government of Bhutan in identifying the current obstacles for PPP development in the country and to suggest actions for addressing these obstacles. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to improve the understanding and knowledge of senior policy makers and government officials about public-private partnerships such as what PPPs can and cannot do and the risks retained by the Government in PPP projects.

Third Meeting of Clusters at Corridor Level for Transport Corridor Almaty-Bishkek-Dushanbe, 21 to 22 August 2014, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

ESCAP will organize the third Meeting of Clusters at Corridor Level for Transport Corridor Almaty-Bishkek-Dushanbe in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from 21 to 22 August 2014. The meeting will be attended by transit transport clusters of the three countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) participating in a project on capacity building for control authorities and transport operators to improve efficiency of cross-border transport in landlocked and transit developing countries. The clusters are comprised of key stakeholders, including representatives of government authorities and the transport industry. The meeting is to discuss ways to implement the action plan for clusters at corridor level, which was adopted by the clusters at the previous meeting held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 29 May 2014.

Civil Society Forum on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, 26-27 August 2014, Bangkok

Civil society plays a critical role in raising awareness of the importance of birth and civil registration amongst populations, advocating for efficient CRVS systems to decision-makers, increasing the responsiveness and accountability of responsible stakeholders, and in ensuring universal and timely civil registration. Considering this importance, a Civil Society Forum is being organized on 26 and 27 August by ESCAP, Plan International and World Vision, for relevant civil society and non-governmental organizations from the Asian and Pacific region to share their perspectives on the draft outcome documents of the upcoming Ministerial Conference in November and discuss the role of civil society in implementing the outcomes. It is expected that civil society will reach consensus on a statement to be delivered at the Ministerial Conference and recommendations for future involvement of civil society.

Expert Group Meeting on Developing the APEF Energy Data & Policy Information Portal, 26-27 August 2014, Bangkok

The Expert Group Meeting on Developing the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) Energy Data & Policy Information Portal will be held in Bangkok from 26-27 August 2014, Bangkok, Thailand. With a vision of a sustainable energy future, member States requested that the secretariat (through the APEF 2013 outcomes) facilitate the dissemination of information and the exchange of best practices, and undertake a periodic review of the progress made. The APEF Data & Information Portal will respond to these mandates by offering centralized and user-friendly access to data and policy information, providing the foundation for research and analysis on regional energy and policy challenges and trends. Points drawn from this meeting’s dialogue will provide the secretariat with further direction for the portal’s development to ensure a highly relevant and well-designed knowledge tool.

Launch of Knowledge-sharing Platform on Ageing, 27 August 2014, Seoul

North-East Asia is experiencing population ageing at the fastest speed in human history, with the countries holding world records for the longest life expectancy and the lowest fertility rates. The current demographic trend requires transformation of policies to be inclusive by engaging more of the elderly population, as well as expanding social services for them. In this connection, the new online platform by ESCAP’s Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia (ENEA) aims to facilitate strengthening collective knowledge on policies, programmes and innovative initiatives that contribute to creating age friendly societies in the subregion. The website launch will be held in Seoul on 27 August during the Northeast Asian Ageing Research Council Conference.

Country Launch of ESCAP's Flagship Report & Northeast Asia Economic Forum, 28-29 August 2014, Seoul

The annual 23rd Northeast Asia Economic Forum (NEAEF), co-organized by the East and North-East Asia Office of ESCAP (ENEA), will take place from 28 to 29 August in Seoul. The Forum covers a broad range of topics pertinent to the Northeast Asian economic cooperation and development, including regional integration, energy security, cross-border infrastructure development and multilateral financial institutions. Around 40 academics, government officials and representatives from international and civil society organizations will participate in the two-day event, where ESCAP-ENEA will also support its 9th Young Leaders Program by giving a lecture on trade facilitation, connectivity and environment in Northeast Asia on 26 August 2014. The country launch of ESCAP’s flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2014 will be also be held in conjunction with the Forum on 28 August 2014.

Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, 28-29 August 2014, Bangkok

To pave the way for a successful outcome of the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific, to take place from 24 to 28 November 2014, a Regional Preparatory Meeting is being held in Bangkok on 28 and 29 August. The Regional Preparatory Meeting, organized by ESCAP in collaboration with UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, UNFPA, WHO, ADB and Plan International, will bring together senior government representatives and members of the Regional Steering Group on CRVS. It will identify key emerging issues related to CRVS and conduct a first review of the draft outcome documents of the Ministerial Conference: the Ministerial Declaration and a Regional Action Framework.

United Nations Observances