Executive Secretary calls for greater environmental investment in mission to Japan

1 Aug 2019

From 27 to 31 January, ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana traveled to Japan to participate in the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific. Ms. Alisjahbana was a keynote speaker at the Forum, where she highlighted the slow pace of the region’s progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urged for greater environmental stewardship across the region. To address these challenges, she noted that, the journey toward sustainable development is possible through enhancing existing efforts. “Strengthening the means of implementation may be the key to reversing the negative trend of SDG progress in the region,” she remarked in her address.

At a session on localizing the SDGs, the Executive Secretary cited the transformative potential of collaborating with local stakeholders and mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development into municipal frameworks. “It is a way of achieving the SDGs through bottom-up action, where local governments and communities assume a fundamental role on the achievement of the Global Goals,” she said. She also reiterated prioritizing urban resilience and a circular economy approach to ensure people-centric, long-term viability of Asia-Pacific cities. Through the forthcoming Mayors Academy on Sustainable Development in October, Ms. Alisjahbana stressed ESCAP’s work supporting a cadre of local policymakers implement and assess progress toward the SDGs at the local level.

On the sidelines of the Forum, Ms. Alsijahbana held bilateral meetings with key government representatives.

In a meeting with H.E. Masatoshi Ishida, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, the Executive Secretary emphasized the role Japan has played in hosting the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) and supporting the region develop quality statistics. They affirmed mutual commitment to SDG monitoring through rigorous data and capacity-building programmes.

Ms. Alisjahbana met with H.E. Satoru Morishita, Vice Minister for Global Environmental Affairs. In the meeting, she recognized Japanese leadership in sustainable urban development, particularly through its pioneering work promoting a circular economy, resource efficiency and innovative marine litter monitoring technology.

With Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Executive Secretary expressed that the success of regional cooperation in mitigating climate-related disasters was owed to Japanese expertise and support for ESCAP’s disaster risk reduction activities, including the Multi-donor Tsunami Trust Fund.

Ms. Alisjahbana met with H.E. Norikazu Suzuki, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs to build upon Japan and ESCAP’s shared vision for a disaster-resilient region. During the discussion, Ms. Alisjahbana underscored Japan’s role in spearheading innovative space applications to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events. She also noted Japan’s crucial support for regional coordination through implementing the Asia-Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018–2030), adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.