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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

18 October 2021


Mr. Pierre Jacquet, President, Global Development Network (GDN)

Mr. Howard White, Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Collaboration

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join you at the Global Development Conference 2021I would like to thank the Global Development Network and the Campbell Collaboration for the kind invitation.

The ‘leave-no-one-behind’ ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has challenged policymakers and practitioners to understand the complexity of sustainable development and the interlinkages between human well-being and prosperity, resiliency and environmental sustainability, especially at the outset of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

The implementation of the 2030 agenda for all also requires development policies committed to addressing the current development challenges and needs of all and evidence-based official data and statistics that are responsive to the policy demands at global, regional, and national levels.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has entered into the second year, countries are still grappling with a surge of cases due to new variants, adding up to a total number of close to 60 million cases to date in the Asia-Pacific region alone, not to mention its devastating socio-economic impacts. The economic blow of the virus wiped out 81 million jobs across the Asia Pacific last year.  It is slowing progress towards achieving sustainable development goals.

The pandemic has also revealed chronic development fault lines — harmful impacts on the most vulnerable, rising inequality and extreme poverty.  At the same time, it has exacerbated the pre-existing risks and vulnerabilities and created new forms of development challenges due to a lack of resilience and investments in people and the planet.

Countries need to transform into an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy to address three sets of development policy challenges to building back better, namely:

  • Widened inequality gaps that threaten social cohesion and stability;
  • Structural disruptions caused by the pandemic and post-pandemic transformations; and
  • The impact of digitalization on economic opportunity and human capital formation.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to the pandemic, many countries continue to experience unprecedented natural disasters due to climate change and the increase in extreme temperature fluctuations.

By the end of 2020, the Asia-Pacific region was responsible for more than half the global greenhouse gas emissions. It will critically impact the global efforts to mitigate anthropogenic climate change and keep global temperatures within 1.5.  

We are at imminent risk of hitting that 1.5 degrees in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts and pursuing the most ambitious path through sustainable economic models.

We must focus on three core areas of inclusiveness, resilience, and sustainability for the post-pandemic recovery and beyond:

  1. Building more inclusive societies by promoting an employment-led recovery and closing social protection coverage gaps;
  2. Building more resilient economies by ensuring countries prepared for climate-disaster-health emergencies and creating more resilient regional supply chains; and
  3. Building a more sustainable environment by incorporating environmental sustainability into business investment processes and accelerating green-blue public investment, including clean energy and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Digitalization, innovative technologies - fundamental to support these core areas - must be mainstreamed, and sufficient financial resources must be secured while tackling the climate crisis.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Post-pandemic recovery not only poses challenges but offers opportunities for countries to recover better together.

The multifaceted nature of the development challenges means that data and statistics have a vital role to play, and transformative solutions are backed by evidence.

This Conference provides a timely opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss priority policy areas and share lessons and insights on new development strategies and evidence-based solutions.

Through policy choices and priorities, countries are able to implement innovative strategies and solutions to recover from ongoing crises, build resilient economies and ensure that no person or country is left behind.

ESCAP supports national statistical systems with economic, environmental and social statistics and accounting following the vision and priority areas. Through the improved use of data and statistics, ESCAP enables stakeholders to build inclusive, resilient and sustainable societies.

ESCAP’s analytical and capacity development work supports member States in strengthening the evidence-based policymaking. For example, using data-science-based evidence, cities policymakers are enabled to make planning decisions that effectively tackle air pollution for resilient and sustainable urbanization and economic development.

We stand ready to further support policymakers with innovative and interactive tools to design and implement inclusive and resilient socioeconomic measures that reach relevant population groups and make informed decisions based on data and evidence.

I wish you a very successful Conference. Thank you very much.

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