Excellencies, Distinguished Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to welcome you to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
ESCAP and ECO have 28 years of productive collaboration on knowledge, capacity building and supporting policy dialogue in Asia at the regional and subregional level.
Over the years, our partnership has helped to strengthen regional economic cooperation and regional connectivity, powered trade and foreign direct investment, and helped build more resilient, equal and sustainable societies.
There is a strong demand for enhancing cooperation between various development organizations throughout Asia and the Pacific. As countries in our region continue to flourish and become more closely connected to each other and with other parts of the world, this demand will grow.
A partnership between ESCAP and ECO could play a major role in this regard. With its overlapping membership in both South and Central Asia, they could potentially connect the two subregions as well as connect Asia with Europe.
The renewed MOU between ESCAP and ECO updates and revises the 1993 agreement, taking into account the latest regional and global developments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Modalities for cooperation and type of activities include:
- Joint research and publication of reports;
- Engagement in knowledge platforms, including those under the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies for Central Asia (SPECA);
- Capacity building support to policymakers, analysts and other relevant stakeholder groups in North and Central Asia; and
- Development of databases, analytical tools and other online decision support tools for policy makers in Asia-Pacific developing countries.
Through this MoU, ESCAP reaffirms its ongoing strategic partnership with ECO in implementing the ambitious 2030 Agenda, promoting regional cooperation to close the inequality gap in Asia and the Pacific, and helping our countries to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In doing so, we will continue to maximize our comparative advantages that complement each other’s work, especially in areas of sustainable development and SDGs; trade policy, trade facilitation and connectivity for regional integration; transport infrastructure and transit transport facilitation; energy; and disaster risk reduction through building resilience.
Our partnership is particularly relevant in these challenging times, during which the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unpreceded health and socioeconomic crisis.
We are committed to assisting countries in our region to build resilient, inclusive and sustainable societies and meet the 2030 Agenda.
Thank you very much.