CS73: Senior Officials Segment - Agenda item 6: Review of the implementation of resolution 71/1

Delivered during deliberation of Agenda item 6 of the Senior Officials Segment of the 73rd Commission Session in Bangkok, Thailand.

Madam Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

As you may recall, at its seventy-first session, the Commission adopted resolution 71/1 on restructuring its conference structure to be fit for the evolving post-2015 development agenda.

Resolution 71/1 was the culmination of discussions by the Commission over its two previous sessions on how best to position itself to meet the new challenges in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of the post-2015 development agenda, which was widely-anticipated to be adopted by the General Assembly in the fall of 2015.

Through resolution 71/1 the Commission, among other things, decided to (i) establish a Committee on Energy; (ii) reconstitute the Committee on Information and Communications Technology as the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation, meeting biennially; as well as (iii) reconstitute the Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Development as the Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development, meeting biennially.

In resolution 71/1 the Commission also decided to conduct a review of the reforms initiated through that resolution at its seventy-third session and requested me to submit a report, which would serve as a basis for that review, on the implementation of these reforms and include recommendations on further adjustments to the conference structure, as necessary.

The changes to the Strategic Framework and programme budget emanating from the resolution were endorsed to the Fifth Committee in November 2015 and the Committee on Programmes and Coordination (CPC) in May 2016.

Documents before the Commission

You have before you now two documents, E/ESCAP/73/36 and E/ESCAP/73/36/Corr.1, that encapsulate the work of the secretariat in that regard.

I will not review all that is covered in those two documents in great detail, as ideas and proposals contained in them have been well deliberated and sharpened by your representatives in the ACPR platform. Over the last several weeks, member States have also been engaged in consultations on a draft resolution that would incorporate some of the recommended adjustments proposed in the report.

I would like to, however, outline some of the achievements that the secretariat has already achieved in implementing the outcomes of the resolution, since the approval of the Strategic Framework by the CPC. The Committee on Energy successfully held its first session in January 2017. Many delegations were led at the ministerial level. The Committee discussed several key issues of importance to energy connectivity, energy access and energy sustainability. The report of the Committee was presented under Agenda Item 3(j), which was reviewed by you earlier today.

The secretariat also successfully organized the first session of the reconstituted Committee on Information and Communications Technology as the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation. The Committee explored the synergies between these two closely inter-related issues and discussed benefits related to coordination and coherence in ICT and STI policies. The report of the Committee was presented under both Agenda Item 3(b) and 3(e), which was reviewed by you earlier today.

We will hold the first session of the reconstituted Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development in the second half of 2017. However, the secretariat has done extensive work on the issue of financing for development, focusing particularly on domestic resource mobilization, infrastructure development, and financial inclusion. One of the crucial areas of work that we need to continue to strengthen is ensuring that the poor of Asia and the Pacific benefit from formal financial markets.

Recommendations/Adjustments

The changes that our member States have made to the conference structure are working quite well. However, as with any reform initiative, some adjustments are required. Some of these adjustments are procedural in nature.

For example, a few of the adjustments reflect the outcome of deliberations by the Commission’s subsidiary bodies, including incorporation of the terms of reference of the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development as adopted by the Forum.

The other adjustments are more organizational in nature such as allowing some flexibility to member States and the secretariat in the distribution and number of days of intergovernmental meetings, in order to balance a more streamlined calendar of meetings, and responsiveness of the secretariat to member States’ intergovernmental deliberations needs.

The Commission, throughout its existence, has continually looked to remain at the forefront of our region’s development needs. It has always taken stock of its effectiveness and relevance, and made the adjustments necessary for it to remain the pre-eminent regional intergovernmental platform.

I look forward to hearing your comments on the proposals and of course, to your eventual agreement on a draft resolution.

I thank you.