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Sixth Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 08/12/2022 - 13:17
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There is an urgent need for Pacific governments, together with civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, to address the multiple challenges of climate change, energy, health, food and finance through regional cooperation & global solidary

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G/39/2022
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Suva, Fiji
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The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), together with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), organised the Sixth Pacific Forumon Sustainable Development (PFSD) with the theme “Reflections on SDGs in the Pacific amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and pathways towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels and achieving the 2050 Strategy”.

The 2022 PFSD was held on the 6th and 7th December at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, Fiji and brought together representatives from government, the Private Sector and CSOs to take stock of the progress by Pacific countries in achieving the SDGs, particularly SDGs 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

There was recognition that some SDG areas required development of policies and guidelines, with more effort needed to implement these policies, once formulated. This requires targeted public services, coordination across sectoral agencies, financial resources, tailored technology, and solution focused options and instruments to implement national development priorities in line with the SDG ambitions in the Pacific. It was underscored that regional cooperation remained vital to foster innovation and build the resilience of the food-energy-finance sectors to future shocks.

The PFSD also discussed the critical importance of development partnerships to meet the ambitions of the post-SAMOA pathway, the new global plan of action for SIDS which will be adopted in 2024.

The importance of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, the Pacific Leaders’ vision to shape the region to secure long-term wellbeing and prosperity, was acknowledged.

The need for the Pacific to focus on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) was highlighted, particularly since most Pacific small island developing States (SIDS) were falling behind, as development of these services was not keeping pace with the region’s population growth. The PFSD stressed the need to invest in renewable energy transition technologies given the region’s dependence on imported expensive fossil fuels, the cause of climate change and the impacts of which were devastating for Pacific SIDS.

While discussing SDG 11, participants heard that local governance and urban management remained critical priorities for implementing the SDGs. Additionally, the Pacific’s geography required increased focus on access, affordability and reliability of transport and communications.

The PFSD also reflected on the preparation and submission of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), prepared by countries to update the other members of the UN on the progress they were making in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Tuvalu submitted its VNR earlier this year and Fiji is expected to submit its VNR next year. Throughout the discussions, the importance of data was again emphasized with new approaches for support to Pacific SIDS advocated.

The contributions of the Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Academia and Pacific Youth Council in the PFSD complements the views of the governments, enhancing the outcomes document to include a whole of society perspective.

The outcomes of this sixth PFSD will contribute to the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD) that will meet in Bangkok in March 2022 and then will go to the High-Level Political Forum that in New York, in July 2022.

--- Media Release Ends ---

Notes:

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region. The Commission promotes cooperation among its 53 member States and 9 associate members in pursuit of solutions to sustainable development challenges. ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. The ESCAP secretariat supports inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the region by generating action-oriented knowledge, and by providing technical assistance and capacity-building services in support of national development objectives, regional agreements and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 coming into effect on 1st January 2016, for a period of 15 years until 2030. There are 17 SDGs. These are SDG1 (No Poverty); SDG2 (Zero Hunger); SDG3 (Good Health and Wellbeing); SDG4 (Quality Education); SDG5 (Gender Equality); SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation); SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy); SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure); SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities); SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities); SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production); SDG13 (Climate Action); SDG14 (Life below Water); SDG15 (Life on Land); SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions); and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/sixth-pacific-forum-sustainable-development-pfsd-2022
https://repository.unescap.org/handle/20.500.12870/5161

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New UN report reveals cracks in region's health sector investments

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 13:42
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G/38/2022
Origin Location
Bangkok
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical cracks in health sector investments in Asia and the Pacific, with the sector’s foreign direct investments (FDI) dropping by 45 per cent from 2019 to 2020 and continuing to decline to 34 per cent in the first three quarters of 2022.

Recently released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Trends 2022/2023 further highlights that the pharmaceutical industry attracted the highest amount of FDI ($32 billion) between 2008 to 2021 – significantly more than investments in the medical devices ($20 billion), biotechnology ($17 billion) and healthcare ($10.8 billion) subsectors.

The United States was the largest investor in the, making up 35 per cent of all health-related greenfield investments (2008 – 2021), followed by Switzerland, Japan, Germany and France. China ($33 billion) was the largest receiver in the same period, followed by India ($14 billion), Singapore ($9 billion) and Malaysia ($5 billion).

Many countries in the region such as Sri Lanka, Brunei, Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Thailand have invested in the health sector as a core policy objective. However, certain key challenges continue to exist such as the limited capacity of countries to attract the quantity and quality of investment needed due to poor regional and domestic investment ecosystems, poor infrastructure and related services, as well as the lack of capital, technology and skills.

“Regional cooperation and political commitment to openness for investment will be crucial to helping economies build back better and harness the potential of FDI,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Trends 2022/2023 feature four briefs as part of an annual series produced by ESCAP to support policymakers in developing short-to-medium term plans to mitigate adverse impacts from emerging risks and uncertainties in the global and regional economies.

This year’s briefs also draw attention to the fact that the  region continues to be the largest contributor of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), accounting for about half worldwide. These PTAs have become bigger, deeper, more digital and increasingly supportive of sustainable development, with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) exemplifying these trends.

Meanwhile, regional merchandise trade growth will be limited in 2022 following a global demand slowdown in the second half of this year. ESCAP forecasts merchandise trade to total $19 trillion, with real exports expected to grow by 3 per cent while imports will contract by 0.3 per cent. Inflationary pressures have also dominated in 2022 with varying impacts across the region. Assuming that inflation will be effectively curbed during the next year, regional merchandise trade is expected to continue growing modestly in 2023 with 1.6 per cent growth in real exports and 0.7 per cent in real imports.

Asia and the Pacific services exports and imports are expected to grow above the global average at 8.7 per cent and 9.8 per cent, respectively, in 2022, supported by a vigorous travel sector, heightened demand for ICT services and a less constrained transport sector. However, for 2023, ESCAP estimates the value of these sectors to grow slightly below this year’s performance, at 7.5 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

Greenfield investments in the region have remained resilient, growing by 6 per cent in 2022 despite the global geopolitical and economic pressure. For the first time, India outpaced China and became the largest destination and source of greenfield FDI ($60 billion of inward FDI and $35 billion in outward FDI). 

Read the four APTIT briefs here: https://www.unescap.org/knowledge-products-series/APTIT

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Forum underscores urgency for climate action, strengthening resilience and regional cooperation to get South and South-West Asia back on track

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 07/12/2022 - 13:27
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G/37/2022
Origin Location
Islamabad
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With South and South-West Asia being highly vulnerable to climate-induced disasters, there is a critical need to accelerate climate action and inclusive disaster risk reduction with regional and international support. Just energy transition and digital inclusion are also necessary and urgent steps to get back on track towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

These were among the key action areas noted by high-level officials and delegates at the sixth South and South-West Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals organized this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the Government of Pakistan and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Delegates also noted with concern that at the current slow pace, South and South-West Asia may only achieve the Sustainable Development Goals decades after the original 2030 goalpost. Despite significant reductions in income poverty, the subregion still has the highest multi-dimensional poverty ratio among all subregions, at almost 30 per cent. Meanwhile, the subregion is also regressing on three Goals, namely, Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), and Goal 13 (climate action).

Opening the Forum, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana drew attention to the multiple crises Governments in the subregion are currently juggling with while endeavoring to build back better. She underscored, “The Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remain as relevant as ever, especially as challenges become greater and more complex than before.”  

Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Federal Minister Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Government of Pakistan further highlighted, “As the world undergoes unusual times, innovative forms of knowledge exchange, technology transfer, emergency response and the recovery of livelihood and economies among the nations in the global South, particularly South and South-West-Asia, are of immense importance than ever.”

“As nations and the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms such as the Forum are useful to identity and devise collective regional action to address the various caveats that weigh down on our SDG progress,” added Shehan Semasinghe, Minister of State for Finance, Sri Lanka.

This sentiment was echoed by Fathimath Niuma, Deputy Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, Maldives, who shared that, “With just eight years left, let us acknowledge that regional and subregional collaboration is vital for South Asia to overcome the effects of COVID-19 and make an actionable difference in achieving our Sustainable Development Goals.”

Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation also observed that, “Enhanced regional connectivity in terms of transport, digital and people-to-people connectivity will substantially improve our chances of achieving the 2030 Agenda.”

More than 450 officials and key stakeholders from 10 countries participated in the Forum and further shared their recommendations on how to accelerate the progress towards SDG6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG17 (partnerships for the Goals).

Organized annually as one of the five subregional preparatory meetings for the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and the global UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the SDG Forum facilitates dialogue and deliberations among government officials, stakeholder groups and development partners. It also provides a unique platform for peer learning and knowledge sharing on subregional efforts, for understanding subregional priorities and for identifying opportunities for regional cooperation.  

This year’s session is being held in conjunction with SDPI’s 25th Sustainable Development Conference, and will be closed by Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan, tomorrow.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/sixth-south-and-south-west-asia-forum-sustainable-development-goals

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Asia-Pacific countries renew commitment to ramp up climate action, protect the planet

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 01/12/2022 - 17:02
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G/36/2022
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Bangkok
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Ministers and high-level officials today renewed commitments from Asia-Pacific countries to boost regional cooperation in climate action, sustainable urban development, the protection of ecosystems and oceans, and implementing environmental rights principles; all critical elements to achieve the common goal of a healthy environment

The ministerial declaration on “Protecting our planet through regional cooperation and solidarity in Asia and the Pacific” was endorsed at the close of the seventh session of the Committee on Environment and Development convened this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The declaration also includes a regional action programme on air pollution to build momentum for stronger science-based and policy-oriented cooperation to improve air quality management, including through better air quality standards, open data sharing, exchange of best practices and capacity building.

“The challenges are serious, but I believe that the Asia-Pacific region has great potential to show leadership in building a sustainable future by building on our strong scientific and technological capacity,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

Discussions at the high-level meeting also focused on the future of our ocean, integrating recommendations made during the Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean celebrated on 30 November, as well as on One Health, and the importance of a regional framework for environmental access rights.

“I wish to recognize that the delegates all acknowledged the critical role that regional cooperation plays in solving complex environmental challenges, and we need to act in unison through multilateralism,” said Amenatave V. Yauvoli, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Fiji to ESCAP and Chair of the senior officials segment.

Several partnership events shed light on new environmental initiatives based on cooperation and solidarity, ranging from a new air quality management framework and the promotion of a regional approach to respond to climate-related mobility in the Pacific to integrated climate action for low-carbon and resilient cities.

ESCAP also launched its flagship report on the state of the environment in Asia and the Pacific, which highlights three critical environmental challenges and identifies opportunities for concrete regional action.

Asia and the Pacific accounts for over 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, having increased by about 20 per cent between 2010 and 2022. The region also sees the most rapid and serious decline in biodiversity-related ecosystem services, is responsible for 81 per cent of global ocean plastics and nearly 90 per cent of its population regularly breathe air considered by the WHO to be unsafe. This is compounded by rapid urbanization trends, with over half of its population living in cities and urban areas. 

Only 24 countries in the region recognize the right to a healthy environment in their constitutional provisions and 17 countries still do not have any constitutional or legal recognition of this right. Furthermore, despite a series of announcements from countries to reach net zero emissions by mid-century, current ambitions as set out in nationally determined contributions fall short of what is needed to reach the Paris Agreement targets.

The bi-annual Committee was attended by Say Samal, Minister of Environment of Cambodia; Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Fisheries of Fiji; Bat-Ulzii Bat-Erdene, Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia; and Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa; along with several other senior officials and stakeholders.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/ced7

Access multimedia content: https://trello.com/b/JeiBJGG2/envcom7

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UN forum to focus on green and inclusive transport development in Asia and the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 13:22
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G/35/2022
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Bangkok
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A United Nations regional forum opened today with a sharp focus on how to enhance transport connectivity in Asia and the Pacific and make it greener and inclusive, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises.

“Our estimates show that under business as usual, Asia and the Pacific will experience a drastic increase in carbon dioxide emissions, up to 87 per cent in some parts of our region. But the situation can change drastically if governments implement policy measures that encourage changes in the behavior of transport users, uptake of cleaner energy and vehicle technologies, digitalization to improve transport efficiency, and infrastructure investment to help meet environmental and social development goals,” Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said in her opening remarks to the seventh session of the Committee on Transport.

Government officials, representatives of international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders will take stock of the current status of regional transport and discuss strategic issues of transport development and the formulation of regional policies to advance sustainable, safe, resilient and low-carbon transport in the region. 

“As the world faces the unprecedented challenges from the ongoing climate crisis, the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemics and other regional and global challenges, we urgently need collective determination and cooperation to accelerate the implementation of SDGs. Thailand shares the critical ambition to overcome those challenges and has been committed to achieving sustainable transport development,” said Chayatan Phromsorn, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport of Thailand, delivering a statement on behalf of Saksayam Chidchob, Minister of Transport.

Considering the pandemic and other disruptive events, preserving and enhancing land and maritime transport connectivity must go hand-in-hand with addressing the environmental and social dimensions of freight transport activities and bridging the widening connectivity gaps in Asia and the Pacific. With that in mind, the Committee will deliberate on enhancing sustainability, resilience and efficiency of freight transport along the regional transport network, including the Asian Highway Network, the Trans-Asian Railway Network and Dry Ports. The Committee will also discuss regional approaches to sustainable, multimodal freight transport and to connecting to global supply chains through land and shipping corridors. To maximize the contribution of freight transport to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee will consider the guiding principles on sustainable freight transport in Asia and the Pacific.

According to ESCAP studies, there is a strong need to accelerate the transition of the transport sector to be more environmentally sustainable; in the Asia-Pacific region, movement of freight and people accounted for more than half of total oil consumption in 2019 and contributed to nearly 14 per cent of total CO2 emissions.

Delegates are expected to support the establishment of a regional cooperation mechanism on low-carbon transport as mandated by the Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific (2022–2026), as well as the Asia-Pacific initiative on electric mobility to accelerate transition to electric mobility for public transport in the region and reduce transport-related emissions.

The Committee is also set to review progress in achieving the goal of the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-2030) to reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries by at least 50 per cent between 2021 and 2030 and endorse the Regional Plan of Action for Asia and the Pacific for the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety.

In addition, the Committee will deliberate on measures that will support socially inclusive planning and design of transport services, infrastructure and systems, workforce diversity and a just transition to sustainable transport, that can measurably contribute to reducing poverty and inequality in the region

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/committee-transport-seventh-session

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UN forum looks to support Central Asian economies buffeted by continued pandemic and geopolitical crisis

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 16/11/2022 - 15:00
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G/34/2022
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Almaty
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Representatives of Central Asian countries are in Kazakhstan this week to discuss how to work closely together to grow their economies, which have been buffeted by the continued COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical crisis, in a sustained, greener manner while also taking advantage of advances in technology.

The 2022 SPECA Economic Forum is meeting from 16 to 17 November in Almaty with high-level participants from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

SPECA stands for the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia, which aims to support landlocked developing countries with their integration into the world economy and provides a platform for cross-border cooperation on a wide range of issues, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. SPECA is jointly supported by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

In her opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, said the recent COVID-19 pandemic reversed much of the progress made by SPECA countries “as it brought economies to a standstill and pushed many people back into poverty.” Geopolitical crises have also contributed to “high inflation, [a] fall in remittances as well as shipping and transport disruptions,” she added. “The adverse impacts of climate change could furthermore have long-term repercussions on development in Central Asia.”

Among the key issues for the Forum, which is meeting under the theme “Greener and Safer Future,” is assisting the countries with transforming their economic structure, transitioning to sustainable energy and adopting more digital technologies, while ensuring the full participation of women in society.

“We envisage the SPECA programme as a catalyst in boosting regional cooperation,” said Alibek Kuantyrov, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan, at the opening session. “This meeting is held in a period of economic uncertainty. The global pandemic and security shocks have shaped the world into a new reality. It is essential for the countries of our region to adjust their economic agenda in order to extract maximum profit. Therefore, we have to consistently realize the full potential of cooperation within the framework of SPECA.”

For her part, Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, said, “Digitalization of international trade, transport and border crossing operations is key to allowing Central Asian countries to reap all the benefits of their integration in European and Asian markets.

“UNECE projects on transparency and traceability of cotton supply chains, support to the implementation of the SPECA Principles of Sustainable Trade, and policy dialogues on the circular economy contribute to help SPECA countries shift towards sustainable trade and a circular economy,” she added.

The Forum will be followed by the 17th session of the SPECA Governing Council. An “Almaty Declaration” is expected to be adopted, containing much of the outcomes and recommendations from the Forum.

For more information please visit: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/2022-speca-economic-forum-greener-and-safer-future

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Digital ministers agree on shaping common digital future for Asia and the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 10/11/2022 - 16:00
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G/33/2022
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Seoul
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As the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the adoption of new technologies ­- “a digital big bang” -­ ministers from around Asia and the Pacific today agreed to strengthen cooperation in promoting connectivity and a transformation towards a safe and inclusive digital society in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly among those countries lagging most behind.

The First Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference, organized by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) of the Republic of Korea with the support of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), concluded also with support for implementation of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway Action Plan 2022-2026 as one of the useful platforms that could strengthen digital cooperation.

“‘Digital by default’ became our new norm through overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic…people had to interact with the rest of the world digitally or not at all,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary ESCAP. “Unfortunately, this also widened and deepened the digital divide both within and among countries, and since digital dividends were not equally distributed, it reinforced economic inequalities.”

In his opening address, Lee Jong-Ho, Minister of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea, emphasized “the potential of innovation in all fields – including politics, economy, society and culture – by combining hyper-connected networks, artificial intelligence and data.” In addition, he expressed the willingness of the Republic of Korea to contribute its in-depth experiences and policy practices for transforming to new digital paradigms and working towards regional prosperity.

The ministerial conference also included additional events. On 9 November the Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Forum was held to reflect the views of various actors on digital transformation and innovation, including senior representatives from global ICT/platform companies such as Samsung Electronics, Amazon Web Services, KT, Coupang, GSMA, NAVER Corp, Sergek group. Meanwhile, delegates are scheduled to visit the second office of NAVER on 11 November, the world's first robot-friendly building, to witness and experience “tech convergence buildings” that combine new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and cloud computing.

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Asia-Pacific countries commit to intensify collaboration in using space applications for sustainable development

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 26/10/2022 - 15:32
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G/32/2022
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Jakarta
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Ministers and heads of national space agencies today endorsed the Jakarta Ministerial Declaration on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific at the close of a high-level meeting co-organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government of Indonesia.

The Declaration shows the strong commitment of countries to using innovative space applications to address outstanding and emerging development challenges of persistent poverty, food security, threats to global health, and increasing vulnerability to disasters, climate change and environmental degradation.

“Without a doubt, this Declaration will not only sustain the momentum of increasing integration of space and geospatial information applications in support of sustainable development, but also reach countries in special situations to ensure that everyone in our region captures the benefits of space science, technology and its applications,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

Space applications provide multiple solutions for socioeconomic development. The cooperation between countries in the region has greatly broadened over the years, going beyond disaster response to all thematic priority areas for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Countries have implemented over 600 activities contributing to 156 out of the 188 actions identified in the 2018 Asia-Pacific Plan of Action on Space Applications for Sustainable Development.

To this end, delegates at the fourth Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific agreed to accelerate Phase II of the Plan of Action under the guiding theme “Space+ for our Earth and Future,” comprising four core elements:

  1. leveraging innovative digital applications;
  2. engaging end users, including the private sector and youth;
  3. managing data and information more effectively; and
  4. enhancing partnerships with national, regional and global stakeholders.

"Through the fourth Ministerial Conference, BRIN fully supports the Asia Pacific Action Plan on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2018–2030) both in terms of research and innovation, as well as in terms of formulating policy recommendations related to use of space," said Laksana Tri Handoko, Chair of the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia (BRIN).

At the Conference, ESCAP also launched its compendium on Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in South-East Asia 2022, which documents more than 60 good practices in the subregion. Alongside well-established space applications in drought monitoring and early warning, South-East Asian countries have diversified its use of space technology into areas such as spatial mapping of poverty, tracking of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and evidence-based accounting of land, renewable energy and other natural resources.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/fourth-ministerial-conference-space-applications-sustainable-development-asia-and  

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/Space4SDGs  

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Governments adopt landmark Jakarta Declaration underscoring rights-based approach to disability-inclusive development in Asia and the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 21/10/2022 - 16:41
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G/31/2022
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Bangkok
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Asian and Pacific countries today reaffirmed their commitment to disability-inclusive development, including through advancing meaningful participation of some 700 million persons with disabilities in the region.

The groundbreaking Jakarta Declaration on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2023-2032 also features a novel gender-responsive life cycle approach to disability inclusion in the region. It was adopted at the conclusion of a high-level intergovernmental meeting - convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and hosted by the Government of Indonesia - to review the progress made in the past 10 years, share good practices and forge consensus on new strategic directions.

Noting the region’s leadership and strong foundation in disability inclusion over the past three decades, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana called upon governments to further strengthen existing partnerships and cultivate new ones with the private sector, organizations of persons with disabilities and others to create a whole-of-society approach.

“Our policies should be developed and implemented with the full and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities. In fact, this principle should underpin all of our work in disability inclusive development. Let us give new life and meaning to the phrase ‘nothing about us without us,’” said Alisjahbana.

“Our consensus today demonstrates our recognition of the criticality of disability-inclusive development. It also reiterates member States’ commitment to ensuring the meaningful participation of women and men with diverse disabilities in order to leave no one behind in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Tri Rismaharini, the Minister of Social Affairs of Indonesia, closing the session.

Despite policy advances in the region, however, persons with disabilities continue to face significant barriers in society – often faring worse in the labour market, being less likely to receive education and remaining underrepresented in political processes compared to their peers without disabilities.

The three-day meeting saw Ministers, officials and stakeholder group representatives from 41 countries delve into innovative strategies for the region to remove such barriers while responding to emerging challenges, such as population ageing, digital transformation and climate change.

Several key priorities for the region were also explored such as enhancing disability-specific social protection schemes, strengthening decent work and entrepreneurship opportunities, providing inclusive education for all learners with disabilities, ensuring disability inclusive disaster risk reduction and resilience measures, and improving the reliability of disability-disaggregated data.

As of June 2021, 47 of the 53 ESCAP member States had ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Jakarta Declaration aims to further implementation of the Incheon Strategy – the world’s first set of disability-specific regional development goals adopted in 2012.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/high-level-intergovernmental-meeting-final-review-asian-and-pacific-decade-persons

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/HLIGMD  

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UN forum draws attention to ongoing crises further hindering SDG progress in North and Central Asia

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 06/10/2022 - 16:10
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G/30/2022
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Bangkok
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The Sixth North and Central Asia Multistakeholder Forum on Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals opened today with delegates underscoring the need to work on formulating policies across the environment, social and economic sectors to safeguard the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Recent developments show that the period of crises is far from over. COVID-19 recovery efforts in North and Central Asia have been hampered by geopolitical crisis, followed by higher energy prices, inflations, reduction of remittance incomes, and shipping and transport disruptions,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) opening the forum.

North and Central Asia is currently not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Widening disparities have been recorded in the subregion amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Inequality persists in access to education, while regressing trends have also been observed for several environmental-related Goals.

“Today, we face a variety of regional challenges that, by addressing them, could bring us closer to achieving the SDGs by 2030. Therefore, we must joint our efforts to develop more effective policies and practical solutions for the benefit of each Central Asian country,” - said Abzal Abdikarimov, Vice-Minister of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

More than 270 officials and other stakeholders from 34 countries are taking part in the Forum to share their views and provide recommendations on how to accelerate the progress towards SDG6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG17 (partnerships for the Goals).

Gwi Yeop Son, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, UN Development Coordination Office shared: “Countries cannot work in isolation to deal with the challenges they face. Reinforcing connections matters. Connections between countries, in terms of transport, trade and energy infrastructure play important role. Partnerships between groups of countries around the world have demonstrated that greater integration is the road to prosperity”.

During thematic sessions, participants are expected to develop concrete recommendations on, among others, strengthening transboundary cooperation for ecologically sound management of freshwater resources; further investments in research and development, digital transformation and technology-based solutions to foster innovation; as well as addressing the current trend of population growth to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Inputs from this year’s subregional meeting will also feed into the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) and global High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2023.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/sixth-north-and-central-asian-multistakeholder-forum-implementation-sustainable

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UN forum draws attention to ongoing crises further hindering SDG progress in North and Central Asia

Photo credit: ESCAP/SONCA/Ainur Dyussyubekova

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