UNESCAP News Services
Date: 25 May 2011
Press Release No: L/29/2011
19-25 May 2011
Dr. Noeleen Heyzer,
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and
Executive Secretary of ESCAP
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
As the sixty-seventh Commission session draws to a close, may I first, express my deep appreciation to all of you, for the progress and achievements that have come about during this remarkable session.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, for inaugurating the Commission session.
My special thanks also go to His Excellency Mr. Jigme Thinley, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan, His Excellency Mr. Enkhbold Miyegombo, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, and His Excellency, Mr. Lotoala Metia, Tuvalu, Acting Chair of the 66th Session of the Commission for their presence at the inaugural session.
I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the two Committees of the Whole and to the working group on draft resolutions, who deserve our special thanks for successfully completing their very difficult duties. My heartfelt thanks also go to the Chair and to all the Vice Chairpersons of the Ministerial segment for guiding our discussions so effectively.
Distinguished delegates, your actions and interventions have made this session an especially critical forum for the consideration of vital issues of the region. Your participation underscores the important role that the United Nations can affect in assisting member States in agreeing to shared-strategies for overcoming regional issues and challenges.
I would also like to note the unprecedented and senior level of representation with which the member States sought to participate and interact with each other in this 67th Commission Session.
The agenda and the priorities that you have established over the past three days in Bangkok will set the way forward for the ESCAP Secretariat in implementing your critical and innovative policy directions. I would now like to highlight some of the key outcomes of this commission session.
Thank you for your deep appreciation of ESCAP’s macroeconomic policy work which provides vital analysis of the challenges encountered as the region recovers from the global financial and economic crisis of 2009. I note the wide-spread recognition of the usefulness of ESCAP’s analysis, especially the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011.
I recognize your request that ESCAP continue to provide cutting-edge analyses of development challenges for your use in formulating national policy and in achieving inclusive and sustainable development.
The Secretariat will continue to assist member States in providing a coordinated voice to global economic policy forums, including our robust engagement within the G20 meetings, processes and outcomes.
I was gratified by your attention to ESCAP’s close support for the region’s Least Developed Countries in the formulation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing countries through the Ulaanbaatar Declaration. The LDCs, the landlocked nations and the small island states of Asia-Pacific benefit most from a region working closer together to build productive capacity and connectivity to take advantage of growing trade and investment – the critical economic drivers for these countries.
ESCAP’s connectivity agenda has benefited from the guidance of delegations seeking to better define the transport infrastructure issues critical to bringing the region’s people closer together. Connectivity is a high priority for the Pacific island states, and the Secretariat was encouraged to provide further support to inter-island shipping to facilitate trade and economic opportunity. Your connectivity agenda will drive the Ministerial Conference on Transport in Bangkok in November 2011.
In this Session, through your resolution on the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, member States have underscored the importance of a Green Growth agenda as a development approach that promotes sustainable economic growth and enhances energy efficiency. I further note your resolution directing ESCAP to seek consensus on enhancing energy security through regional cooperation, in particular through the organization of a ministerial level Asia-Pacific Energy Forum in 2013.
This Session has broken new ground in strengthening political commitment to advancing the social dimension of development. Your considered discussion on the theme topic of social protection policies and your subsequent adoption of a resolution reflects the strong leadership of the Commission in promoting the social foundations of inclusive and sustainable development. Further, discussions at this Session resulted in the adoption of resolutions on critical social development issues facing the region.
I was gratified to note that the countries of our region are progressively moving towards more comprehensive social protection systems that would guarantee a minimum level of security for all citizens and provide the basis for the promise of social protection for all. Together we are shaping a new economic and social order to ensure a better and more secure future for the people of Asia-Pacific.
The region’s development efforts require evidence-based policies and processes. Your adoption of resolutions on the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics, and on the improvement of economic statistics demonstrates the commitment of ESCAP countries to strengthen their national statistical systems, for the betterment of our people.
Your ideas and actions at this Session resulting in these outcomes are critical steps forward in moving the inclusive and sustainable development agenda for Asia Pacific.
I would, once again, like to express my deep gratitude for the extraordinary support and encouragement I have received from member states, including at the highest level, over the past year, as I have gone about my task of repositioning ESCAP. Your support for the Mid-term Review will strengthen a reform process already underway, gaining new efficiencies and effectiveness for your Secretariat. I am committed to making ESCAP, the regional arm of the UN, a powerful regional hub that drives inclusive and sustainable development in our region and that supports our Member States to implement your agenda over the coming months.
On behalf of the ESCAP secretariat, I thank you for your participation in this session, I wish you a safe journey home and I look forward to working with you in the year ahead. I also wish to thank and appreciate my staff and in particular our interpreters and Conference Services staff; their hard work makes possible our substantive deliberations.
I thank the UN family working under the Regional Coordination Mechanism and the many persons who created the various exhibits during our Commission Session.
Our achievements at this Session constitute a call to action.
On behalf of the people of Asia and the Pacific, let us move our region forward, with our focus on the three pillars of inclusive and sustainable development working together; our prosperity shared, our social gains secured, and the gifts of the earth valued.
I thank you.
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Headquartered in Bangkok, United Nations ESCAP is the largest of the UN's five Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP works to promote sustainable and inclusive economic and social progress. More information on ESCAP is available at www.unescap.org