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Global Community Gathers to Tackle Development Challenges at South-South Expo

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 15/09/2022 - 09:11
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Government Ministers, UN Practitioners and Experts Spotlight Southern-Grown Solutions and Partnership Opportunities at the 11th GSSD Expo held for the First Time in the Asia-Pacific Region

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G/28/2022
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Bangkok
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ESCAP News
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The eleventh edition of the United Nations Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo), concluded Wednesday at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok. More than 30 UN agencies, 150 governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and academia showcased Southern-grown partnerships and solutions toward sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Secretary-General António Guterres reminded Expo participants that “South-South and triangular cooperation are critical for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption, address the global health crisis, including COVID-19 recovery.”

“The Expo is a concrete response to the strong commitment made by the UN Secretary-General and the UNDP Administrator to help the Global South realize its shared aspirations of knowledge and experience sharing to tackle complex and cross-cutting challenges and emergencies,” said Renaud Meyer, UNDP Resident Representative to Thailand, representing the Administrator at the opening of the Expo.

Taking place from 12 to 14 September, the GSSD Expo 2022 was co-organized by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). For the first time the Expo was convened in an innovative hybrid green format allowing the innovative forms of Southern-led knowledge sharing, and pandemic response and recovery showcased onsite to be shared far and wide in real-time.

Over 4000 South-South and triangular cooperation stakeholders participated in GSSD Expo activities both onsite and virtually, and more than 1.5 million were reached via social media.

Mr. Wattanawit Gajaseni, Deputy-Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) said that, “to fortify South-South and triangular cooperation, it requires enhanced institutional capacities and an enabling ecosystem at home, innovative resource mobilization and increased multi-stakeholder engagement and better coordination.” He also emphasized “the critical role of relevant UN bodies and agencies and the strong political will, leadership and a sense of ownership of the Global South.”

“Over the last few days, we were able to benefit from the wisdom and experiences of an excellent mix of experts, which included the South-South cooperation policymakers and practitioners,” said Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, in her closing message. She added that many efforts are already underway within the UN system as well to leverage South-South and triangular cooperation in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The success of this Expo is due to the contributions and partnership of all stakeholders. Together, we have identified challenges and opportunities,” said Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, UNOSSC Head of Delegation, in her closing remarks. She reminded participants that moving forward to carry on the success of the Expo, “our sense of solidarity must always be genuine and our efforts must be demand driven.”

The eleventh edition of the United Nations Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo)

Photo credit: ESCAP/Louise Lavaud

In one of the many examples of success highlighted at the Expo, Mr. Anir Chowdhury, of the “a2i – Innovate for All” Program of the Government of Bangladesh, shared how over the last 10 years a2i has saved citizens of Bangladesh over 12 billion work days through delivering affordable and reliable public services digitally. This experience and all other solutions shared at the Expo, along with summaries of all GSSD Expo sessions will be available on the South-South Galaxy as well as the GSSD Expo webpage as they become available.

Programme: https://virtual-expo.southsouth-galaxy.org/en/event-programme

For interview requests email: [email protected]

Trello board: https://trello.com/b/5BiIJWHc/gssd-expo-2022

ESCAP Flickr Photos: https://trello.com/b/5BiIJWHc/gssd-expo-2022

Media Contacts:

TICA: Adisak Jantatum, [email protected], [email protected] with copy to [email protected]

ESCAP: Kavita Sukanandan, [email protected] with copy to [email protected]

UNOSSC: Mithre J. Sandrasagra, [email protected] with copy to [email protected]

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Global Community Gathers to Tackle Development Challenges at South-South Expo

Photo credit: ESCAP/Caio Perim

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New report highlights increased disaster risks for the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Tue, 13/09/2022 - 15:27
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G/27/2022
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Bangkok
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A subregional edition of the Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2022: Pathways for Adaptation and Resilience in the Pacific has revealed that every increment of a degree between 1.5°C and 2°C translates into increased risks of tropical cyclones in the Pacific small island developing States (SIDS) with expanded geographical coverage and increasing intensity, followed by floods and droughts. These increased climate risks will have multidimensional impacts on people, their livelihoods, and the Pacific economies.

The report, which builds on the latest scientific evidence by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was launched yesterday at an event hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Pacific Subregional Office and the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO).   

This report is among the first to present resilience-based analytics and recommendations to operationalize the strategic pathways on climate change and disasters outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent adopted in July 2022.

The launch event also served as a platform to better understand the needs of integrating climate change adaptation and resilience into development plans, share experiences on promoting climate change adaptation strategies, and discuss ways to strengthen regional and subregional cooperation to address climate change challenges.

At the opening, UNRC ai and UNDP Pacific Representative Levan Bouadze, remarked, “Tailored resilience-based, sub-regional analysis, like our Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2022: Pathways for Adaptation and Resilience in the Pacific that is being launched today, is exactly what the UN should be developing for Pacific Island countries.”

“Innovative tools and technologies are the critical means, from next generation risk analytics to geo-spatial modeling and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP Kaveh Zahedi. He further highlighted the Asia-Pacific Risk and Resilience Portal, launched by ESCAP last year, as a user-friendly one stop shop for policymakers to access a vast array of scientific data and information and tools to make risk informed policy decisions. 

Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Dr. Filimon Manoni highlighted, “Focusing on some key adaptation priorities can help build resilience in the Pacific. These include strengthening early warning systems, making water resources more resilient, making new infrastructure resilient, protecting mangroves and improving dryland agriculture crop production. These five measures will provide the highest cost-benefit ratio in terms of building resilience to tropical cyclones and other hazards.”

The event also raised the importance of an inclusive and multidimensional approach to translate transboundary hazards into risk-informed recommendations for resilience building efforts in the Pacific. The outcome of the event will provide substantive insight and key takeaways to the upcoming high-level meetings, namely the Inaugural Meeting of Pacific Ministerial responsible for Disaster Risk Management on 14-15 September 2022 in Nadi, Fiji, the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 19-22 September 2022 in Brisbane, Australia, and COP 27 in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The event was attended by member States, PIFS, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies, as well as UN system and other key stakeholders from the Pacific.

For more information:  https://www.unescap.org/Launch-Asia-Pacific-Disaster-Report-2022-for-ESCAP-Sub-regions

 

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New report highlights increased disaster risks for the Pacific

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and United Nations ESCAP partner to strengthen resilience in the world of climate change

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Mon, 12/09/2022 - 16:21
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News Number
G/26/2022
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Bangkok
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The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have formalized a partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding to promote building resilience in the world of climate change.

Climate change is affecting every aspect of human life in all corners of the world. Traditional knowledge and weather patterns are no longer dependable with natural disasters and abnormal temperatures increasing in both frequency and intensity. As the ongoing unprecedented flood in Pakistan shows, we need all hands-on deck to be prepared for the uncertainty and colossal scale of damage from the impact of climate change.

In this way, the MoU between ESCAP, the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region, and the IFRC, the world’s largest humanitarian network with a view to prevent and alleviate human suffering, comes at an opportune time when regional and organizational cooperation is very much needed. The two organizations have numerous areas for collaboration, including but not limited to climate action, disaster risk management, and building inclusive and resilient communities.

“It’s time to capitalize on the untapped potential of regional and subregional cooperation to address the region’s shared vulnerabilities and risks that are more critical at 1.5 to 2 degrees warming,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. She further underscored, “If we are unable to contain the warming of the planet, the world will need to prepare for a new normal of “disasters on steroids.”

“When we join forces, we are more powerful than when we work alone. Together we combine the strength of Governments with our global humanitarian network which includes our expertise, data, tools, knowledge, and human resources. This combination is very powerful to address the global challenges we face– especially the sharp increase in climate related disasters that can only be solved together,” affirmed Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.  

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and United Nations ESCAP partner to strengthen resilience in the world of climate change

Photo credit: IFRC/Calum Stokes; ESCAP/Louise Lavaud

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Building New Collaborative Global Partnerships for Sustainable COVID-19 Recovery

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Mon, 12/09/2022 - 15:31
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Eleventh Global United Nations South-South Development Expo Opens in Bangkok

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G/25/2022
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Bangkok
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The eleventh edition of the United Nations Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo), an event highlighting Southern innovations in tackling crosscutting challenges, opened in Bangkok with a resounding call for leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing other challenges toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Taking place from 12 to 14 September, the GSSD Expo 2022 is co-organised by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

“The world is at a critical time. The pandemic, the climate crisis, the longstanding and new conflicts, economic inequalities and rising inflation are jeopardizing many of the development gains we have struggled for decades to achieve,” said H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the General Assembly in his opening message to the GSSD Expo. “Without the Global South’s comprehensive recovery, we cannot get back on track to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will need their energy, ingenuity, and cooperative spirit.”

“South-South and cooperation are critical for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption, address the global health crisis, including COVID-19 recovery, and achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. “South-South and triangular cooperation must play an ever-increasing role in resolving our common challenges.”

H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, opened the conference by pointing out that “We, as global community, must pull together if we aspire to a more livable and prosperous world thus fulfilling our promise of leaving no one behind… The GSSD Expo 2022 provides a valuable forum for us to exchange new ideas, share adaptable solutions, reinforce existing networks and explore new partnerships for development cooperation.”

In her opening speech, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP underscored that, “South-South cooperation has gained increased importance in accelerating sustainable development. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have achieved remarkable socio-economic development and technological progress. Many are now providing technical assistance and development finance; and sharing innovative approaches to assist other countries of the South to advance sustainable development.”

“This is a moment to highlight how South-South and triangular cooperation continue to power solutions to some of the world’s most persistent development challenges,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. “At the United Nations Development Programme, South-South and triangular cooperation are embedded in our development support across the globe.”

Since its inception in 2008, the GSSD Expo has actively showcased and promoted best practices from hundreds of partner countries, United Nations agencies, private sector enterprises and civil society organizations. Past Expos have taken place in New York, Washington DC, Geneva, Rome, Vienna, Nairobi, Dubai, and Antalya.

More than 50 booths make up the Expo exhibition, which is being shared in a virtual format as well.  One of the most significant exhibitions over several Expos showcases the work of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Facility for poverty and hunger alleviation (IBSA Fund). This year, senior officials from the three countries participated in the launch of the IBSA exhibition.

IBSA exhibition

Photo credit: ESCAP/Caio Goncalves Carvalho F Perim

“We are happy to leverage digital technology to organize this expo in a hybrid mode with expansive participation and connect partners globally and across the UN system through South-South and triangular cooperation,” said Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, UNOSSC Head of Delegation.

For more information and to register: https://virtual-expo.southsouth-galaxy.org

Programme and weblinks: https://virtual-expo.southsouth-galaxy.org/en/event-programme

For interview requests email: [email protected]

Trello board: https://trello.com/b/5BiIJWHc/gssd-expo-2022

 

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Building New Collaborative Global Partnerships for Sustainable COVID-19 Recovery

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Half of region’s workforce poor or on brink of poverty, finds new UN report

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Tue, 06/09/2022 - 15:25
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G/24/2022
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Bangkok
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The working-age population of Asia and the Pacific is under pressure; denied decent work opportunities and highly vulnerable to systemic shocks such as pandemics or economic downturns, finds a new report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The report was released at the seventh session of the Committee on Social Development, which opened today and brings together high-level government officials and other stakeholders to discuss regional strategies for building a healthy, protected and productive workforce.

“Our region spends less than half of the global average on social protection. Almost 60 per cent of the population has no social protection coverage against normal life events such as pregnancy, child-raising, sickness, disability, unemployment or simply getting old,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

According to the 2022 Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: The Workforce We Need, although progress has been made since 2015, the region’s workforce remains ill-equipped to respond to the ongoing and emerging mega trends of climate change, ageing societies and digitalization. Two-thirds of the workforce or 1.4 billion people are employed informally and as a result, half are surviving on less than $5.50 a day.

Such vulnerability has far-reaching consequences. Asia and the Pacific’s labour productivity has fallen below the global average and sustainable livelihoods remain out of reach for millions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of affordable health care and social protection contributed to pushing 243 million people into poverty.

Over the next three days, the bi-annual Committee will also review policies and good practices to further strengthen social protection, the situation of older persons, and disability-inclusive development in the region.

“The pandemic has made it clear that no one is safe unless everyone is safe. Solving socio-economic problems entails working together, sharing responsibilities and distributing costs and burdens fairly and equitably,” said Ariunzaya Ayush, Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Mongolia, who was elected as Chair of the Committee.

“We stand ready to work with other member States and stakeholders to bridge the remaining gaps in order to better protect and empower the vulnerable so that they could enjoy a safe and dignified life in the society,” said Chuti Krairiksh, Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand.

On the sidelines of the Committee, ESCAP launched the Social Protection Online Toolbox (SPOT) to support countries in their efforts to broadening social protection. The platform hosts a data-driven Social Protection Simulator, e-learning courses on inclusive social protection, advocacy materials as well as research and policy papers.

An innovative tool, the Simulator draws on national household income and expenditure surveys to support policymakers in designing non-contributory child, disability and old-age benefits in 19 countries, and enables users to estimate the cost of expanding social coverage in their countries.

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

Read the Social Outlook report: https://www.unescap.org/kp/2022/workforce-we-need-social-outlook-asia-and-pacific

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/CSocDev7 

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Half of region’s workforce poor or on brink of poverty, finds new UN report

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Forum charts Asia-Pacific agenda for next generation of trade facilitation

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 31/08/2022 - 13:17
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G/23/2022
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Bangkok
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The 10th Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum was held in Singapore with a strong focus on how next-generation trade facilitation measures, supported by innovative technologies, can make trade not only more efficient but also more inclusive, resilient and environmentally sustainable.

More than 220 participants from 42 countries are participating this week in the Forum organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore.

An economic and trading powerhouse in the past few decades, the Asia-Pacific region is showing signs of uneven recovery and ongoing difficulties aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple other crises. The challenges of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals have also intensified due to rising inequalities in areas such as health, education and work.

“Next-generation trade facilitation, especially trade digitalization, could open great opportunities for the region, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises and smaller rural holders. However, these opportunities and potential benefits are yet to be fully concretized,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said at the opening.

Increasing resilience is another key aspect of sustainable trade facilitation: less than half of the countries in the region have mechanisms and strategies to cope with future crises, according to results from the fourth global United Nations Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.

Although the regional average implementation rate has now grown to 65 per cent, the UN Survey also reveals that implementation of trade facilitation measures targeted at groups with special needs, such as SMEs or women traders, is lacking. It calls for trade facilitation implementation to better address the challenges faced by vulnerable groups and sectors that are key to poverty reduction, such as agriculture.

“Digital transformation in trade and trade facilitation promises huge gains, including more inclusive and sustainable benefits. In order to harness technologies and realize the potential benefits, we all need to forge ahead with reforms for digitalization and policy harmonization in trade facilitation and bridge the digital divide for SMEs' access to trade and trade finance,” said Albert Park, Chief Economist and Director General, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank.

“Today, governments and businesses recognise the need for greater use of technology to improve and facilitate trade. With digitalisation, we can make trade processes and transactions more agile and flexible, and enhance business resilience. Besides raising the level of efficiency in international trade, digital trade facilitation can also aid economic recovery, and boost trade resilience amongst countries. However, much more must be done for digital trade facilitation to become more pervasive, and the norm in the long run,” said Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore .

The Forum underscored the importance of accelerating trade digitalization and the move to paperless trade. In addition to a 13 per cent reduction in trade costs, achieving paperless trade would be equivalent to planting 400 million trees.

To this end, Forum delegates further encouraged ratification of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, which has the potential to step up paperless trade development, while harmonizing and building upon a number of bilateral and subregional instruments already developed.

A new online repository of cross-border paperless trade initiatives and solutions was launched during the Forum, with ESCAP and the International Chamber of Commerce calling on public and private services providers to submit their best practices.

This year, four initiatives were awarded APTFF Trade Facilitation Innovation Awards. The winners were China Customs, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Korea Trade Network and TradeWaltz Inc. 

Established in 2009, the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum is the leading regional platform for the exchange of good practices and knowledge on trade facilitation.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/asia-pacific-trade-facilitation-forum-2022

Photos from the event are available here

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Forum charts Asia-Pacific agenda for next generation of trade facilitation

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UN calls for more inclusive and fair digital transformation in Asia and the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Tue, 30/08/2022 - 11:55
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G/22/2022
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Bangkok
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The rapid, widespread adoption of digital technology, spurred in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its economic and societal ramifications are the key focus of deliberations at a United Nations forum this week.

The Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology, and Innovation, which opened today, is set to examine how this digital transformation has brought a number of benefits and opportunities for people, governments and businesses, but also has further widened the digital divide both between and within countries in the region, opening new development gaps and reinforcing a vicious cycle of socio-economic inequalities. 

“The United Nations has referred to the digital divide as the new face of inequality. That is why digital inclusion must be at the heart of digital transformation and accompanying digital policies and regulations if the promise to ‘leave no one behind’ is to be met,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

This “digital big bang” brought about by the pandemic has compressed normal periods of societal adoption of digital technologies from years to months or even weeks, as digital technology has steadily taken over more aspects of people’s lives. Digital inclusion and resilient digital networks across the region have become the foundation for governments and the private sector to effectively mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic.

According to the Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Report 2022, released today by ESCAP, the region is now the most digitally divided in the world, with more than two billion people who do not have access to digital technologies.

However, many government and business services are now “digital by default,” thus the urgent need to develop new development paradigms, policy and regulatory frameworks in a more flexible, adaptive, and corroborative way.

At the heart of such new paradigms is the digital transformation process, where people are not just consumers but also creators of previously unheard-of products and services, thus accelerating the transformation of value systems and socio-economic structures.

The three-day Committee is expected to endorse the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway action plan for 2022-2026, which consists of a set of coherent actions aimed at bridging the digital divide and accelerating digital transformation for an inclusive digital society.

Additionally, the Committee is preparing for the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development, to be held on 26 October in Jakarta. It is also expected to express support for the Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference 2022, organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea in cooperation with ESCAP, under the theme “Shaping Our Common Future,” from 9 to 10 November 2022 in Seoul as an important means of promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships on digital transformation in Asia and the Pacific.

Key dignitaries speaking at this year’s Committee include Ivan John E. Uy, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines; Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand; Mohamed Shareef, State Minister of  Environment, Climate Change and Technology of the Maldives; Gevorg Mantashyan, First Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry of Armenia; Askar Zhambakin, Vice Minister of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan; and Amandeep Singh Gill, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/committee-information-and-communications-technology-science-technology-and-innovation

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/ICTSTI2022

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Business leaders pledge support for new Asia-Pacific Green Deal

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 26/08/2022 - 17:29
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G/21/2022
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Bangkok
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Recognizing the role that the private sector can play in scaling up climate action, government and business leaders from across the region have declared their support for an Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business.

The declaration was adopted at the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2022 today, co-hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN).

The Green Deal for Business encourages companies to go greener, to work to decarbonize both their own operations as well as those of their supply chains, change towards a more circular economy to minimize waste, and to build smart, water-efficient and climate-resilient cities.

Highlighting the urgent need to redouble efforts to regain the momentum to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana called for coordinated efforts by governments and the private sector.

“The crisis has shown that the region needs to invest in its health infrastructure, address the digital divide and improve trade, transport and energy connectivity,” said Alisjahbana, adding that inflationary pressures and a surge in prices of agricultural commodities and energy are challenging post-pandemic recovery efforts, particularly in developing countries, where high food and energy prices could push many into poverty.

George Lam, Chair of ESBN and President of the Hong Kong-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Foundation,  said: “From the COVID-19 pandemic, we must build back better, together and that means investing in smarter, greener solutions to further develop the Green Economy. I urge businesses to wholeheartedly adopt and implement the new Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business through taking specific actions towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

Delegates at this year’s Forum also explored how business innovation, new technologies and new industries could be harnessed in pursuit of a new green economy.

“The digital economy will be important for green policies,” said Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance of Thailand, adding that the digital transformation can significantly reduce internal and external costs, and promote green innovation such as smart city development.

“We need to bring onboard the private sector to deal with climate change in a meaningful way. Without the private sector significantly reducing emissions, we will not meet any of the global climate plans. The private sector is also ultimately the source of most solutions - it’s the private sector that can innovate, create green products and finance green investments,” said John Denton, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce.

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum has been held annually since 2004 and invites governments, businesses, civil society and academics from all over the region to dialogue and identify innovative solutions and recommendations for the private sector to better contribute to greener and more sustainable development.

This year’s APBF urges businesses across Asia-Pacific region to sign up to the Green Deal for Business Declaration to demonstrate that businesses must take a leading role in the green transformation towards a low carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable new economy.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/asia-pacific-business-forum-2022#

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/APBF2022

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Business leaders pledge support for new Asia-Pacific Green Deal

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Finance Forum for Asia and the Pacific calls for local and regional approach to unleashing blended finance

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 26/08/2022 - 10:55
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G/20/2022
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Bangkok
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The second of the ‘Regional Finance Forums’ – convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the incoming Egyptian Presidency of COP27 and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions for COP26 and COP27 — has concluded in Bangkok.

Hosted at the headquarters of ESCAP, it continues a series of Forums launched last month which focus on implementation and delivering urgent near-term action as well as accelerating progress to catalyse forward-looking opportunities.

High-Level Champion for Egypt, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, said: “we need a holistic approach to the SDG 13, climate action, but we should not forget that, we are living in a complex world. As we focus on implementing the Paris Agreement, the interdependencies on food security, energy access, and financing efforts become evident. In this, regionalizing and localising our efforts to accelerate the deployment of blended finance with government, the public and private sector is key.”

The Forum discussed ten core climate projects across Asia and the Pacific — including financing Nationally Determined Contributions, public-private partnerships on infrastructure, financing green grids and mobilizing green financing through capital markets — totalling $41.1 billion in investment towards building climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

For example, the session on unlocking climate finance for green grid investments informed stakeholders about the need for and role of a public-private-partnership mobilization of climate finance in energy transmission, such as the Green Grids Initiative, launched at COP26.

At the closing plenary, Armida Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP said: “The potential of evolving climate finance especially enabling environments for capital markets and green bonds is an important stepping stone and cannot be a one off effort to be built across a series forums for regional and global collaboration.”

High-Level Champion for Egypt, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, reflected on the outcome of the forum by highlighting: “We need to take this holistic approach which was represented in projects presented, while they were thematically focused, we can see the impacts are SDG focused resulting in alignment of the Paris Agreement and SDGs.”

One of the key questions on delegates’ minds at the Forum concerned the decreased reliability of debt financing and opening the way for partnerships through investments, grants, and $100 billion to be fulfilled through a transparent and global assessment of climate action involving all actors including business leaders, regional capitals and youth groups.

The projects for Asia and the Pacific will provide input into a compendium of initiatives to be presented to the United Nations Secretary-General at COP27.

The next Forums will take place in:

    Santiago, Chile (1-2 September) – A forum on climate finance and the energy transition, covering Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Beirut, Lebanon (15 September) – A one-day regional forum on climate finance needs and investment opportunities in Arab States.

    Geneva, Switzerland (20 September) – High-Level Roundtable on ‘enhancing sustainable management and financing for the critical raw materials required for low-carbon transitions’

For media inquiries, please, contact Matthew Phillips [email protected]

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UN regional forum on statistics explores data governance issues

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Tue, 23/08/2022 - 21:37
News type
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G/19/2022
Origin Location
Bangkok
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ESCAP News
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Heads of national statistical offices, statisticians and other experts from across the region are meeting this week at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to discuss establishing sound data governance mechanisms that respond to a new data-driven era.

“With increased availability and use of data come increased risks, including the need for data privacy and the need to maintain trust in data,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana opening the eighth session of the Committee on Statistics today.

She further called upon national statistical offices to work in new ways, transitioning from data producers into data stewards leading whole-of-government approaches.

Spurred by new technologies, data generated worldwide has grown exponentially in recent years and it is fast becoming an essential resource for digital economies. The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the urgent need for more granular, timely and reliable statistics and data for governments to make informed decisions to support their citizens.

Alongside the increased supply and demand for data, new tools and methodologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing the landscape for producing statistics.

“As statistical offices embrace new data sources and new technologies, there is a need for strong legal and institutional arrangements. Data governance frameworks can support the modernization of official statistics and remove unnecessary barriers to release the full benefit of statistics,” said Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand.

Meanwhile, the region’s statistical community was lauded for the great strides made not just in measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also in helping countries achieve them. The number of indicators with sufficient data has almost doubled since the first SDG benchmark report in 2017. This has been guided by a clear and collective vision for the region endorsed in 2016.

Batdavaa Batmunkh of the National Statistics Office of Mongolia was elected as Chair for the session. He expressed hope that the Committee will generate concrete decisions that shape the future of statistics work in Asia and the Pacific. 

Building on the work of countries like Bhutan with their Gross National Happiness Index and New Zealand with their work on a Living Standards Framework, the Committee will also discuss how to capture progress on well-being and sustainability beyond the measurement of GDP. The Committee is expected to develop complementary measures of progress with an emphasis on climate change-related statistics in its forward work programme.

“I am fully confident that our professional statistical community will rise to the challenge to define broader measures of development, sustainability and well-being, that are equally solid as GDP and, yet, go well beyond GDP to address the policy challenges of our times,” said Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division.

Held every two years, the Committee is the foremost regional platform for bringing countries together to discuss strategic matters on statistical development, cooperation and the formulation of regional positions to advance official statistics in line with existing global commitments.

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/committee-statistics-eighth-session

Access multimedia content: https://bit.ly/APStatsCST8

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UN regional forum on statistics explores data governance issues

Photo credit: ESCAP/Suwat Chancharoensuk

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