Asia-Pacific countries outline priorities for economic, social and environmental well-being

Macroeconomic: ESCAP work for Asia-Pacific
Macroeconomic: ESCAP work for Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific government, civil society and private sector representatives ended three days of discussions at a United Nations forum here today laying out regional priorities for the future they want for the region with the well-being of people, planet and the economy at its core.

Over 170 participants representing 35 governments as well as 41 civil society and private sector organizations took part in The Asian and Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting on Rio+20 Outcomes to review regional priorities in implementing the global sustainable development vision endorsed by world leaders at the landmark June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

“With the economic rise of Asia and the Pacific, we have an unprecedented opportunity to show that the region is both able and willing to take a lead in contributing solutions to the challenge of creating a more economically stable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable and inclusive world, in line with the Rio+20 outcome,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Noeleen Heyzer told the meeting.

“Realizing the future we want requires economic, social and environmental concerns to be integrated in all policymaking, at all levels, and with the close involvement of all key stakeholders … to arrive at truly sustainable development pathways that can meet the needs of both present and future generations,” the ESCAP Executive Secretary said.

Organized by ESCAP in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Regional Implementation Meeting also reviewed regional priorities for sustainable development goals as mandated by Rio+20.

Over three days, discussions focused on key challenges and opportunities for ensuring more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development in the region, and the role of the United Nations and other stakeholders in that regard. The meeting called for urgent attention to poverty reduction; climate change and related impacts; sovereign debt; and to address shortcomings in gender equality, health and food insecurity.

The meeting discussed priority areas and guiding principles for giving shape to the SDGs, and ways to ensure universal access to cleaner technologies and mobilize additional funding from both domestic and foreign sources for sustainable development in the region.

Asia-Pacific civil society and other stakeholders’ proposals for inclusion in a sustainable development agenda ranged from the need for decent work opportunities and social protection to human rights, gender equality, environmental and social justice.

A side event “Sustainable Development of Asia-Pacific SIDS” highlighted the role of sustainable and equitable management of ocean resources in poverty reduction in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The regional perspectives expressed in the meeting will be communicated to global processes established to take Rio+20 outcomes forward.