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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

03 June 2021

ESCAP

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,  

It is my pleasure to speak at the Business Dialogue EAEU–ASEAN panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still triggering a large scale socio-economic crisis across all corners of the world.

We are witnessing a significant reversal of progress achieved in the Sustainable Development Goals over the last five years, especially among the vulnerable countries and groups.

However, the crisis has also offered new opportunities across countries.

We are seeing increased momentum in inter-regional and intra-regional cooperation, which is driving access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to stop transmission and fatalities from the pandemic.

I welcome your stepped up support, but we must do more, and faster.  

Recover better together will truly reaffirm the triumph of multilateralism, while ensuring inclusive economic growth, resilient value chain and connectivity, and sustainable future for all.

Excellencies,

In April, at the annual session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, leaders and senior ministers highlighted the importance of a four-point regional development agenda to support governments through broadening social protection, investing in a sustained recovery, strengthening connectivity and supply chains; and mending our broken relationship with nature.

Looking ahead, we can identify several economic and business  opportunities while building the regional cooperation framework required for shaping our common future together.

May I take this opportunity to highlight three policy priorities for your considerations and further guidance.

First, let us continue to coordinate regional and subregional approaches to sustain international trade and ensure the continuity of transport links.

By streamlining customs and other institutional procedures through contactless and paperless trade, especially across the Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries, cross-border connectivity can help make supply chains more resilient, and spur economic growth and job creation.

Second, we must accelerate digitalization. 

COVID-19 recovery packages and financial relief measures can further step up investment in digital technology and infrastructure development, especially from 2G/3G straight into 5G or even near-future 6G networks, to enable structural economic transformation.

Third, there is a need to focus on greening the recovery. 

Socio-economic recovery must be in tune with raising our ambitions in dealing with the climate crisis along with our climate finance commitment. Governments should encourage policies that promote industries that are low-carbon, resource efficient and compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

Excellencies,

Today, fostering subregional and inter-regional cooperation offers unparalled opportunities for member States in the EAEU and ASEAN to reorient policymaking in strategic directions.

By facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge sharing among inter-regional and intra-regional approaches and stakeholders, the dialogue between EAEU-ASEAN policymakers stand to gain considerably.

At ESCAP, we are fully committed more than ever to leveraging the expertise and comparative advantages of existing regional organizations in promoting inclusive and networked multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific region.

In closing, I count on your commitment and leadership.

We must work together for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for all our citizens.

I wish you a very successful Forum 2021.

Thank you.

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