Excellency Mr. Abzal Abdikarimov, Vice-Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan,
Excellencies, distinguished participants, colleagues, friends
I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the Government of Kazakhstan, also all member States from North and Central Asia, our partners and civil society organizations for supporting this important event.
The Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2022 revealsthat North and Central Asia is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Widening disparities have been recorded in the subregion further amid COVID-19. Inequality persists in access to education, that is one issue with significant differences in achievements in reading and mathematics between rural and urban populations and between populations of different socioeconomic statuses.
Now, as countries gradually recovering from the socioeconics impact of the pandemic, recent developments have shown that the crises is far from over. We understand that ongoing long term impact of climate change and now the past few months also all this situation conditions have been further exacerbated by this the ongoing geopolitical crises, and impact on energy, food, therefore inflation, reduction of remittance incomes, and disruptions in supply chain just to name a few.
Therefore, we gather here together in this forum in which the Forum provides a unique platform, a unique opportunity for exchanges between government and a broad range of stakeholders on SDG progress in the subregion and concerted actions to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We need to regain the momentum, we need to accelerate further, implementation of SDGs
We need to formulatepolicies across the three pillars basic pillar of environment, social and economic pillars to safeguard the SDGs.
Allow me to take this opportunity to highlight some policy issues for your further deliberations in this Forum.
First, the issue of water which is to improve water use efficiency and water quality. Countries in North and Central Asia need to look into the high proportion of freshwater extraction to water ecosystem regeneration rates to ensure the sustainability of water resources as well as water security.
Second, to strengthen transboundary collaboration in renewable energy development as well as connectivity. Since countries have different potential, capacities and public flows for renewable energy sources, and given their similar focus on developing sustainable and clean energy, therefore, cooperation in the renewable energy initiatives is extremely important.
Third, to promote green and inclusive infrastructure, innovation as well as industries. Countries need to invest further in digital infrastructure, building up the skills, especially digital skillsincludingindustry related skills providing targeted support to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises, and to the promotion of the latest technologies to further trade and transport. Multistakeholder cooperation is essential to achieve this goal and to align national strategies with the objective ofa low- or zero-carbon economy that serves better. Because of all this climate change challenges.
Fourth, to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals at the national as well as local level including cities and municipal levels. Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) can help cities and municipalities identify sustainable and inclusive development pathways that are data-driven and reflect the needs are the priorities of the cities, communities and the people.
Fifth, to mainstream gender as well as human rights consideration in all of the policies in which we need to mainstream all this especially gender because our population, women how to garner the potential of women. So, in this context also actually if I may add the youth or the young generation.
Going forward and all this throughout all this initiatives endeavour we stand ready not only ESCAP but the whole UN systems, we stands ready to work with governments and all stakeholders in furthering, in regaining the momentum of SDGs. We very much welcome this regular engagement with and among all stakeholders in North and Central Asia, in which we hope we could further the SDG implementation.
I am looking forward to listening to your deliberation and your recommendations on the subregional priorities in North and Central Asia.