Public-Private Partnerships and Financing for Infrastructure Development

Your Excellency, Mr. Chang Byoungwan, Honorable Minister of Planning and
Budget, Government of the Republic of Korea,

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I echo the words of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in extending my own warm greetings to all of you.

And I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea for the wonderful arrangements for this Conference and for the warm hospitality extended to all delegations and to me
For this, as well as for honouring us with your presence today, Your Excellency, Mr. Chang Byoungwan, Minister of Planning and Budget, please accept our sincere appreciation.

I should also like to extend our gratitude to all the officials and staff at the Ministry of Planning and Budget, at the Korea Development Institute and other institutions for their hard work and dedication in preparing for this important Conference.

Clearly your efforts have paid off. I am pleased to see that we have assembled such a distinguished group of participants --- ministers, senior government officials and business leaders --- to focus on public-private partnership
for infrastructure development.

We are here today to focus on public-private partnership to develop adequate infrastructure for transport, energy, water and health services. We are here today to explore ways in which public-private partnerships can best serve the
interests of the region and its poorest people.

For although the Asia-Pacific region is one of the world’s most dynamic in generating wealth, it is also home to more that half of the worlds’ extreme poor – more than 640 million. We also have more than two-thirds of the world’s malnourished children. And this is a region where more than a quarter of a million women die each year as a result of events as natural as pregnancy and childbirth.

If we look behind those numbers what do we see? We see poor rural communities cut off by bad roads that may be impassable
new and even more fertile fusion of the two, and bring together accountable governance with corporate social responsibility built on mutual trust.

ESCAP is ready to play its full part in this endeavour – not just through our efforts within the secretariat, but as a regional hub for a meeting of minds and the shaping of strategies. Whether through our physical space or though a virtual community for the electronic exchange of ideas, ESCAP is the place where the region’s governments and enterprises can come together to create innovative solutions to difficult problems, and to develop a more integrated economic and social framework that can drive the region forward.

With the range of expertise here, I am sure that this Conference will be another landmark in the region’s development. I wish you fruitful deliberations. I also look forward to hearing your conclusions and proposals – and in particular your suggestions on ways in which ESCAP can play its full part in facilitating these partnerships to advance inclusive and sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Asia-Pacific.

Thank you.