Closing Statement at the 7th Commission session

Honourable Chair,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants,

Allow me to begin by thanking all of you for your engagement in this 75th Commission session over the past week. Your countries’ active participation, the numerous side events you organised and sponsored, and the exhibitions displayed throughout this conference centre have made for a vibrant Commission.
I welcome this energised gathering which provided a stimulating environment for our countries to come together, share success stories and build multilateral solutions for sustainable development. I am grateful to you for making this happen, and for the financial support which has been pledged to help us take our work forward – including additional support for our regional institutes.

Your conclusion of targeted resolutions which will help guide ESCAP’s future work will support this process. These are firmly anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provide good foundations on which to build. Many are aligned with the priorities I set out at the opening session and essential to achieving a transformed and resilient society in Asia and the Pacific.

  • To strengthen connectivity, you agreed to advance the implementation of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway through regional cooperation.
  • As part of the effort to combat environmental degradation and pollution, you agreed to strengthen regional cooperation to overcome the transboundary challenge of air pollution.
  • You have moved to build on our well-established regional cooperation to stop disaster risk outpacing resilience, and agreed resolutions focused on implementing the Ulaanbaatar Declaration of the 2018 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and on using space applications for sustainable development.
  • To ensure we seize the opportunity new technologies offer to accelerate progress to transformed and resilient societies, you have acted to advance science, technology and innovation and strengthen cooperation in this area.

I welcome all these resolutions. To deliver against these priorities, and others set by the 2030 Agenda, our ability to work effectively at the subregional and regional level is critical. I am therefore pleased we were able to hold the first ever dialogue with all major subregional groups present in one session. I hope this will be a first step towards more systematically identifying common priorities to complement each other’s work and to facilitate best practice exchange between subregions.

The resolution you have agreed focused on advancing partnerships within and across regions also supports this objective. UN ESCAP was able to sign memoranda of understanding with the International Solar Alliance, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and the Multi Global Navigation Satellite System Asia – as well as a Statement of Cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. These are valuable frameworks for us to deepen and broaden analytical work, intergovernmental cooperation and capacity building to support our member States better.

Your country statements on the theme topic of empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, provided excellent best practice on which to draw. The resolution you have agreed focused on implementing the declaration on navigating policy with data to leave no one behind should further help underpin our effort to shape inclusive social and economic development.

The discussions we had during the Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing Countries were dynamic. We heard concrete examples of how structural transformation has been successfully supported. Countries with Special Needs remain a priority for ESCAP. I am looking forward to building on the resolution focused on Implementing the Outcome of the Euro-Asian Regional Midterm Review of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked and Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024.

Finally, I was pleased you were able to agree a resolution strengthening the link between national, regional and global follow up and review processes of the 2030 Agenda. I have taken careful note of your desire to strengthen the link between the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and the high-level political forum. I am committed to ensuring our region’s efforts are recognised, best practice showcased, and our voice clearly heard at the global level.

To conclude, may I thank the Commission Bureau and our Chair who has so deftly handled proceedings this week, and our gracious hosts - the Royal Thai Government. May I also thank the ESCAP secretariat staff. They have worked tirelessly to make your 75th Commission session a success. I am grateful to them for their dedication and commitment.

Thank you all once again. I wish you a safe journey home.