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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

17 February 2024

ES ESCAP

Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and a warm welcome to the Asia-Pacific Peoples’ Forum on Sustainable Development.

I would like to express my appreciation to the Asia-Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM) for organizing this forum and recognize the key supporting role of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

I also take the opportunity to congratulate Ms. Olga Djanaeva, Mr. Ajay Kumar Jha and Ms. Joy Hernandez as new Chairs of the AP-RCEM Secretariat.

The efforts and dedication of colleagues at AP-RCEM have led to stronger coordination amongst constituencies, assuring that the perspectives of all the subregions of Asia and the Pacific are considered in regional and global intergovernmental processes.

Dear Participants,

Just a couple of days ago, ESCAP launched its annual SDG Progress Report. This report highlights that at the current pace, our region will continue to face challenges in achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and that progress remains uneven across the Goals. While this is not news to us, it is worrying to see that we are lagging at least 32 years behind schedule.

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda has been uneven across different segments of the population, highlighting disparities based on sex, urbanization, education level, age and income.

Multiple major global shocks have challenged our international institutions in recent years. It is imperative that we stand united around our shared values and objectives and embrace a whole-of-society approach to governance.

The Summit of the Future which will take place in September represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen cooperation and address gaps in global governance, reaffirming our commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advance a revitalized multilateral system that is better suited to improve people’s lives and well-being. 

Civil society organizations can add some extra energy to the pre-Summit process and step in to advise UN Member States on what they can achieve. I therefore encourage you to use your national, regional and global networks to focus more global attention on the Pact for the Future and raise awareness of its importance.

As you know, the United Nations has identified six transformative entry points which will amplify all of our efforts across multiple Goals: food systems; energy access and affordability; digital connectivity; education; jobs; and social protection; as well as addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

These entry points are especially important for females as women and girls over 15 years of age face higher levels of food insecurity and encounter challenges gaining access to education, employment and essential services that support lifelong learning.

They exhibit lower rates of primary and secondary education completion, literacy and participation in education and training. In addition, women, especially those with lower education levels, are more likely to have limited Internet access, contributing to a digital divide.

Dear Participants,

As you make key policy recommendations to the UN development system and as major stakeholders in support of SDG implementation, I would like to draw your attention especially to the need for social protection.

Clearly, integrated policy planning for inclusive and adaptive social protection to leave no one behind is critical to cope with multiple shocks. Here, you can actively engage in advocacy, data-driven initiatives, community involvement and capacity building.

It is important to advocate for inclusive social protection policies, raising awareness among policymakers and the public about the importance of leaving no one behind.

You can also facilitate community engagement to ensure that social protection policies are responsive to local contexts, considering cultural nuances and the unique challenges faced by different communities.

You also play an important role in building the capacity of local communities to understand, access and benefit from social protection programmes, and to ensure that the perspectives of marginalized groups are integrated.

It is also important that you collaborate with governments to establish robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact of social protection policies on different segments of society.

And that you foster partnerships with governments and international organizations to create a collaborative approach to designing and implementing social protection measures.

I look forward to your active participation in next week’s APFSD and substantive contribution to the Forum. Civil society’s inputs to the APFSD will inform the deliberations of member States in preparation for the Summit.

I am confident the APFSD will offer a platform for meaningful exchange among all stakeholders and will facilitate regional dialogue on solutions to accelerate SDG implementation.

I wish you fruitful discussions over the next two days.

Thank you very much.

 

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