The Asia-Pacific region has experienced the fastest economic growth in history, with millions being lifted out of poverty. But this growth has come at a price: environmental degradation, economic uncertainty, and widening gaps between rich and poor, cities and urban areas. Hard-won achievements and future progress are now under threat. A shift to a sustainable development path will help to protect important gains and to ensure the future that we want.
World leaders at the landmark 2012 Rio+20 summit, renewed commitment to sustainable development and an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations. As a the period of the Millennium Development Goals comes to a close in 2015 and as a new post-2015 Development Agenda is conceived, Rio+20 outcomes offer Asia and the Pacific unmatched opportunities to accelerate MDG achievement in our big final push to 2015, and to work towards “balanced integration” of the three dimensions of sustainable development.
People and planet must be at the centre of our efforts to build an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future. Success in achieving sustainable development calls for a new development model, based on structural changes to promote equality, inclusiveness and resilience. This must be a transformative agenda, to align economic growth with sustainable development objectives, moving away from conventional development paradigms based on trade-offs between the three pillars of sustainable development. Our new development paradigm must instead harmonize economic, social and environmental priorities, it must stress partnerships, and generate shared and sustained prosperity.
ESCAP is the most inclusive Asia-Pacific intergovernmental platform for member states to share ideas and effective development strategies, and plays an important role in the institutional framework for sustainable development. The secretariat is supporting global processes initiated at Rio de Janeiro (such as the development of the sustainable development goals), and coordinating with other regional commissions as it does so. The Executive Secretary is leading the Regional Coordination Mechanism of the United Nations system to support a coherent response as we continue to work with the wider United Nations system and other partners to build regional consensus, undertake evidence-based policy analysis and formulation, build capacity, exchange best practices and lessons learned, and facilitate regional integration and cooperation in support of member countries.