Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to deliver remarks to the UN Biodiversity Conference with the theme of “Ecological Civilization-Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”
This theme is important for Asia and the Pacific, which is home to some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, including the most biodiversity-rich ocean.
Yet, the region sees a high rate of decline in biodiversity, leading to the world’s largest number of threatened species.
Almost one-quarter of the global burden of diseases linked to environmental change will arise from 14 Southeast and East Asian countries alone.
Ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss impact the health, livelihoods and well-being of our people. Nature’s health is our health. The biodiversity crisis is also a crisis of food security, climate, and health.
Addressing such interlinked challenges requires coordinated action and integrated approaches.
Our member States emphasized this in the Ministerial Declaration “Protecting our Planet through Regional Cooperation and Solidarity in Asia and the Pacific” that was adopted two weeks ago at our Committee on Environment and Development.
The Declaration recognizes that a sustainable, resilient, and more equal Asia-Pacific region depends on determined action to reverse the current trends of environmental degradation.
It further mobilizes commitments of our region on climate action, ecosystem protection, including our oceans, and principles of environmental rights.
Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, ESCAP will support our region to enhance joint efforts to protect and safeguard the health of ecosystems, including the marine ecosystem, with the “One-Health” approach, managing relations between the health of humans and animals and the functions of ecosystems.
We will also support countries to advance on conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions and address the interlinkage of the marine ecosystem and climate change.
Noting that the regional level is a vital bridge to the global and national levels, I am pleased to reconfirm ESCAP’s commitment to work collaboratively with other regional commissions and other development partners to deliver on our commitments to the implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and other biodiversity-related agreements.
Thank you very much.