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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

30 September 2022


Excellency, Mr. Loknath Sharma, Minister of Economic Affairs of Bhutan,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

In closing this very important Ministerial Conference on RECI or Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration, I would like first of all to thank the Honorable Ministers, panelists and country delegations for their valuable insights contributions and active participation during this Ministerial and also given the very challenging situation, the evolving global socio-economic landscape.

I would also like to thank our partner, our co-organizer, and co-host the Asian Development Bank for their strong partnership.

The discussions at this conference were set against the backdrop of multiple, overlapping challenges that our region faces and how regional cooperation can support resilience to future shocks and challenges.

Crisis and resilience are closely interlinked, and the need for greater regional cooperation has never been greater.

Countries in Asia and the Pacific are grappling with building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, the socio-economic consequences of geopolitical challenges and the devastating impacts of long-term challenge of climate change.

Coordinated and concerted efforts actions to improve among others, information sharing, enhance market integration and seamless connectivity, and build an inclusive digital future will better enable countries to strengthen their resilience not only now but as well to better prepare countries and to mitigate future shocks.

Discussions during the conference have highlighted that RECI, if guided by the 2030 Agenda, has immense potential to enhance the region’s resilience and promote inclusive and sustainable development.

For example, regional cooperation efforts to improve openness, enhance business certainty and reduce trade frictions can improve the availability and accessibility of essential products and minimize disruptions to global supply chains in times of crisis for example, essential health products in this regard.

At the same time, cross-border digital trade and support for micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises and women’s economic empowerment can make trade and investment more inclusive and diversified and thus more resilient.

Harnessing the synergies between energy, digital and transport connectivity can address persisting connectivity shortages while enhancing resilience and supporting responses to climate change.

RECI can also contribute to reducing rising inequalities in the region by offering new opportunities to marginalized countries and people, especially if digital divides are overcome.

To this end, understanding and responding to the digital transformation is essential to ensuring that it does not become another driver of deep inequality in our economies.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

RECI can be a powerful force for socio-economic development and inclusive growth in our region. ESCAP has a long-standing mandate to promote this agenda.

We are committed to working with all of you, our member States and partner organizations such as the Asian Development Bank to take the recommendations received, move forward, and build a more integrated and connected region where no one as well as no country is left behind.

Thank you very much for your active contribution and participation.

Thank you very much.


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