Over the long-term, the ASEAN-India strategic partnership, an integral element of ESCAP’s regional cooperation and integration strategy, will promote prosperity and sustainable development for the Asia-Pacific region. A full-scale ASEAN-India alliance would offer benefits not only to the participating countries, but to the entire region. I would like to share with you some observations on the dynamics and prospects for this partnership.
Let me begin by thanking H.E. Mr. Kairat Umarov, the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan, for organising this event. I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about ESCAP’s work in North and Central Asia. Through our headquarters in Bangkok, as well as our office in Almaty, we support nine members of the Commission in this sub-region in their work to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We will continue to support regional cooperation and integration which was rightly recognised as one of the most effective ways to accelerate progress towards the SDGs by this year’s Commission. Indeed, improving the Agenda 2030’s means of implementation remains our priority. With this in mind, we have revitalized partnerships with regional UN development agencies, regional development banks and think tanks. We’re determined to tap their expertise to effectively deliver on a central part of our mandate: regional follow up and review.
The United Nations’ regional commissions have a clear mandate to assist their Member States in integrating the different dimensions of sustainable development, providing technical support for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and supporting the intergovernmental agreements needed for real progress. ESCAP will use this mandate to deliver on our commitment to sustainable energy, to ensure global commitments are transformed into tangible regional sustainable energy strategies to power greener, more inclusive economies that respect the needs of future generations. I look forward to hearing your debates on these important topics.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, together with market, infrastructure and technology advancements have great potential to shape a future powered by clean, sustainable energy. Energy supply enhancements are needed to address existing deficits and meet the needs of over 1.4 billion without energy access. Reducing dependence on fossil fuel sources is urgent as the carbon budget to keep the world within 2 degrees of warming is dwindling. Energy is the key contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for almost three quarters of the global total.
Energy access will require integrated responses that combine local development and income generation with provision of energy. Innovative financing and business models are needed to draw the private sector in to the task of rural energy provision. More effective energy efficiency policy frameworks are needed to address market failures, information gaps and encourage the adoption of efficient technologies, particularly in developing countries.
Governments can strengthen infrastructure investment in the region by proper planning and coordination across relevant ministries. Complementary policy measures should be undertaken, supported by stronger institutional governance for project execution, respect for property rights and the rule of law to ensure the benefits of infrastructure are shared by all. Infrastructure development frameworks for policy design and implementation are important for this purpose - bringing various sectors together. Overall, ESCAP is mandated to provide a regional platform to bolster infrastructure development and maintenance capacity in CSNs, with the active participation of emerging regional, subregional and national initiatives.