Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in its 9th year is the most comprehensive platform to bring all stakeholders and over 20 UN agencies in the region together.
The Forum provides a unique opportunity to mobilize regional actions to regain momentum for the implementation of SDGs as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have reported since 2020 — as the first Regional Commission — on the collective results of the regional United Nations Development System (UNDS) and gathered feedback from member States at the APFSD.
By launching the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report and the Asia-Pacific SDG Partnership Report jointly with ADB and UNDP annually at the Forum, we track SDGs Progress while highlighting policies and solutions to ensure that no one - and no country - is left behind.
Please allow me to highlight a few strategic priorities and key initiatives for 2022 in our region:
We must continue to focus on leaving no one behind while scaling up comprehensive social protection and universal health care systems that secure vaccines for all.
ESCAP has been working with the UNDS to translate the commitments from the “Action Plan to Strengthen Regional Cooperation on Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific” into national actions in several countries such as Mongolia and the Philippines.
We are integrating climate actions into national COVID-19 recovery strategies.
Developing national SDG 7 roadmaps, energy transition strategy, carbon pricing mechanisms, and tackling air pollution is gathering momentum from Indonesia to Fiji.
Our work is helping to build a holistic disaster-climate-health nexus and pilot oceans accounts to harness a green-blue recovery.
The Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific (2022–2026) is an important step forward in strengthening transport connectivity.
Our work on climate-smart trade, including model provisions for trade in times of crisis, ensures that goods and services move safely across borders during a pandemic.
We focus our work on accelerating digitalization and leveraging financing in line with the 2030 Agenda.
Inclusive financing instruments, such as debt-for-climate swaps in the Pacific and sustainability bonds in the LDCs, will be our key initiatives going forward.
By aligning our work with the UNDS, we have strengthened our country level support including our support to over 30 countries in their VNRs since 2018.
ESCAP Resolution 77/1, “Building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific,” guides the secretariat in preparing the key initiatives through regional and subregional cooperation frameworks in 2022.
In 2021, our other intergovernmental platforms further emphasized the importance of integrating trade, energy, disaster risk reduction, finance and civil registration systems into the post-COVID 19 national policy priorities.
This year marks ESCAP’s seventy-fifth-anniversary. The upcoming 78th ESCAP Commission session will be a landmark occasion to redouble our commitments in putting people- and planet-centred regional cooperation at the heart of Our Common Agenda.
I look forward to receiving further guidance as we move forward together.