Excellency, Mr. José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste,
Excellency, Mr. Patrice Emery Trovoada, Prime Minister of São Tomé and Principe,
Excellency, Dr. Min Bhadur Shrestha, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission of Nepal,
Excellency, Mr. Jermiah Manele, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands,
Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Mr. Henry Puna, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat,
UN Resident Coordinators, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Although many least developed countries in Asia and the Pacific have undergone structural transformation, they remain largely structurally underdeveloped, with agriculture being the main source of income for most. Fostering structural transformation in these economies is critical for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
With several LDCs scheduled to graduate in the next five years, countries must step-up efforts to formulate concrete structural transformation policies and incorporate them into their national development plans.
Structural transformation will be critical to sustain growth and to prepare LDCs for sustainable and irreversible graduation.
ESCAP is currently implementing a targeted initiative to strengthen the capacity of LDCs, in particular Nepal, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, to achieve the SDGs through structural transformation and regional cooperation.
Towards this, I would also like to express my gratitude to our counterparts in the governments and UN country teams for their support in implementing the project activities.
We look forward to continuing this partnership, and I would like to reiterate our commitment towards supporting our member States, particularly the LDCs, which are among the most vulnerable countries.
I look forward to hearing insights from our panelists today on the steps they are taking to structurally transform their economies, and on obstacles that they are facing, the policy measures formulated to address them and the support that international organizations can provide.
Thank you very much.