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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

29 March 2019

Excellency, Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Thailand,
Distinguished Participants,

Welcome to the 3rd High-Level Brainstorming Dialogue on Enhancing Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

This regular dialogue is a core part of the ASEAN-ESCAP Complementarities Initiative between our two organisations. It has greatly benefited from Thailand’s longstanding support and is aligned with Thailand’s ASEAN chairmanship focused on “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. I am delighted to see so many partners here, as we meet in the margins of the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable development. 

Over the years, this brainstorming dialogue has gone from strength to strength.

The first dialogue led to a joint Complementarities Report. Its five cross-cutting priority areas for action continue to shape much of our work. At ESCAP, we have focused on areas identified in the ASEAN-UN plan of action. I am pleased to report we are making good progress. 

- Building on past work with ASEAN on energy interconnection, ESCAP continues to promote regional energy connectivity and accessibility.

- We are supporting ASEAN’s efforts to prepare a regional plan of action for implementation of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Ageing.

- As part of the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action, ESCAP is working to improve the understanding and scientific assessment of slow-onset disasters, such as drought, to build resilience and a culture of prevention.

- To facilitate technical cooperation on smart cities and sustainable urbanization strategies we are working to support the ASEAN Smart Cities Network.

ESCAP also supports its member States by providing region-wide data and statistics on SDG progress. For the SDG cluster that is being discussed at this year’s Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, we can say that ASEAN countries have made good progress towards ending poverty (goal 1) and affordable and clean energy (goal 7). However, the sub-region is struggling on some of the other goals, such as reducing inequality (goal 10) or climate action (goal 13). The trend needs to be reversed to achieve 2030 targets.

For the Complementarities Initiative to promote collaborative action to achieve both the SDGs and ASEAN’s Vision 2025, the Complementarities Report called for a Roadmap to reduce overlaps and promote synergies across priority areas. 

Here Thailand has led the way and prepared a discussion paper of this Roadmap. It suggests excellent initiatives, including:

the establishment of the ASEAN Resource Panel which would go beyond merely conducting analysis and actively engage policymakers and relevant stakeholders in translating results into policy; and

an initiative focused on the greening of Small and Medium Enterprises.

These are proposals which ESCAP stands ready to support. I look forward to hearing the outcome of your discussions today but also about how others have been following up on the Complementarities Report. 

Let me once again extend my thanks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat for their stewardship of the Complementarities Initiative. 

I wish you a successful meeting.

Thank you.

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