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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

09 December 2022


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Nation-Building Institute International (NBII) for inviting me to deliver remarks at this very important conference.

Asia and the Pacific has made a significant recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the region will continue to face unprecedented effects of climate change and geopolitical tensions and the continued impact of war in Ukraine.

These compounding effects of the crises and tensions on people and countries have unveiled the fragility of our interconnected world.

We are meeting here at the time of multidimensional crisis,  hindering the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and amplifying social tensions in many developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Development challenges that countries face, particularly inequality and environmental sustainability, require transformational policy measures and cooperation at the country, regional and global levels.

They are too large and too complex to be addressed by one country and their governments alone.

Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

May I take this opportunity to highlight three priority areas for your further attention.

First, there are new opportunities and solutions through digital transformation.

The pandemic has accelerated the move towards a digital ecosystem and digital economy.

The quickened pace was greatly boosted in large part by the pandemic. Consequently, digital technologies have rapidly taken over more aspects of our daily lives and, for example, given women entrepreneurs more level playing fields and empowerment to conduct their businesses and attain new skills online.

We encourage countries to further develop the digital skills and literacy of their people to harness the positive aspects of this transformation, especially for women, girls and people in vulnerable situations.

Second, we need whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches in all countries.

It is essential to ensure that no one is left behind in our effort to build nations by involving all stakeholders, including the youth, women, the private sector, civil society and the parliaments.

Partnership with them is very critical, as their engagement can bring greater innovative approaches and solutions that empower people to participate in nation-building and accelerate positive social and environmental outcomes.

We must ensure that the strengthening of partnerships and cooperation is based on the principles of consultation and consensus, equality, partnership and mutual respect.

Third, there are possibilities for greater regional and global cooperation, including through South-South as well as South-South triangular cooperation models, to recover and rebuild our nations.

Regional cooperation can address transboundary issues in a more holistic, integrated and comprehensive manner. It strengthens policies, accelerates actions and generates best practices that can be shared and replicated across the region. Regional organizations and institutions, such as Nation-Building Institute International , have a vital role to play.

South-South cooperation as well as South-South triangular cooperation is and must remain an integral part of global multilateralism, complementing but not replacing North-South development assistance. It has a natural role in supporting transboundary objectives, such as enhancing connectivity, trade and our collective climate actions.

At this year’s Commission session, the leaders in our region has adopted the Bangkok Declaration, which displayed the region’s renewed commitment to further promoting multilateralism and strengthening cooperation.

Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

We need to strengthen our collective efforts to find multilateral solutions, weather geopolitical storms and get the SDGs back on track. 

Through digital transformation, a whole-of-society approach and increased cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, countries can make enormous progress reaping the benefits of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery.

ESCAP, together with our UN family as well as development partners, stands ready to support countries in harnessing multilateral efforts to help reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

I wish you every success.

Thank you very much.

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