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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

26 March 2021

Excellency Madam Mereseini Rakuita Vuniwaqa, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development,


Distinguished delegates, Dear participants,

Today we close the Eighth Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development after four days of listening and building shared understanding on  COVID-19 pandemic and how it has set back implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

But I leave here optimistic on the pathways to bringing Sustainable Development Goals back on track.

The Forum demonstrated clearly that our region is fully committed to engaging all stakeholders, member States, youth, civil society and the private sectors to lay the groundwork for policy innovations and solutions.

In short, reaffirming our faith on the critical role of inclusive multilateralism.

Your engagement has been instrumental in making the discussions vibrant and solutions oriented.

Please allow me to highlight a few salient points that were discussed during the course of this Forum.

The annual SDG Partnership Report 2021, prepared jointly with ADB and UNDP, highlighted that we must commit to avoiding a risk of a K-shaped recovery.

We do this through accelerating digitalisation in areas such as e-commerce, online learning and digital payments. 

By leveraging digital connectivity, decision makers can enable equitable digitalization in strengthening the Asia-Pacific region's sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization of 9 roundtables to assess progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, organized through our multi-agency partnership, produced a clear set of actionable policy recommendations to secure a green and resilient recovery.

Even though, there are significant vulnerabilities, especially in the countries with special needs, I am pleased to note that Governments have focused on keeping people at the centre of this recovery plan.

These insightful policy actions, underpinned by policy experiences and best practices, can further ensure recovery process swift and effective at the regional, subregional and national levels.  

The policy discussions also highlighted that member States are innovating and that the Voluntary National Review (VNRs) process is evolving.

Cities are developing their Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs).

The Forum provided a unique opportunity to link the national, regional and global dimensions of the 2030 Agenda through the UN’s system-wide results in our region.

It was evident that the reform of the UN Development System has borne fruit.

The UN team in Asia and the Pacific is better placed to support our member States in overcoming new and emerging development challenges.

It was heartening to see that member States expressed appreciation of our integrated support and scaling up solutions through the Regional Collaborative Platform and Issue-based Coalitions. 

Allow me to recognize the commitment and leadership of our Chair and Vice-Chairs in steering the Forum to its successful conclusion.

ESCAP, indeed the entire UN family, stands ready to work with all stakeholders in taking forward the 2030 Agenda in this region.   

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to every member of the secretariat team for their hard work and professionalism in making this event a great success and meaningful for all our partners.    

Thank you very much.

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