Asia-Pacific Region Viewed as Engine of the World Economy

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
BANGKOK, Thailand, May 28 2019 (IPS)

Since this Commission first met in 1947, our countries have
travelled a long journey. Our economies are expected to become
larger than the rest of the world combined, measured by purchasing
power parity. It is often said the Asia-Pacific region is the
engine of the world economy.

With multilateralism increasingly questioned, we have yet more
to offer. We can provide the global leadership to collectively
achieve a transformed and resilient society in our region.

Empowered societies working in concert to respond to challenges
which transcend borders and accelerate progress towards the 17
Sustainable Development Goals.

With these challenges in mind, this Commission is our
opportunity to reaffirm our shared responsibility and commitment to
the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to
build on past successes and shape future priorities. Let me mention
five areas, which I believe are central to achieving the
transformation and resilience we need.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

We must put people first and build a coherent response to
population dynamics which are radically altering our societies and
our economies. We can learn from each other as we strengthen
policies, institutions and legislation to empower people and
promote equality.

This effort should be complemented by work to strengthen
regional cooperation on population development and social
protection – but also to promote gender equality, disability
rights and safe, orderly and regular migration.

Strengthening sustainable connectivity could make us more
resilient to international trade tensions and deliver huge economic
benefits. When it comes to transport and infrastructure
connectivity, we have achievements on which to build – guided by
international standards, UN norms and values.

The same ambition is needed for energy connectivity, information
and communications technology (ICT) connectivity and trade
facilitation measures.

We have an opportunity to join forces to strengthen our work to
combat environmental degradation, pollution and the mismanagement
of natural resources. To protect our oceans there is no alternative
to stepping up our multilateral cooperation.

Transformed and resilient societies can only be achieved if we
stop disaster risk outpacing resilience. Intensified by climate
change, disasters are five times more likely to affect a person in
Asia-Pacific than a person living elsewhere.

The basis for stronger regional cooperation is well established.
Let us use it to give pace to the development of national disaster
risk reduction strategies.

New technologies have the potential to accelerate our journey to
transformed and resilient societies on many fronts. Digital
healthcare and education are providing cost effective solutions at

Smart cities, energy systems and transport solutions are
offering alternatives to protect the environment. Yet for digital
solutions to be unleashed as a force for good, their broader
implications need to be fully understood and the necessary
infrastructure developed.

An enabling environment, investment and technological,
individual and institutional capacity are all needed. ESCAP should
be a forum for best practice exchange to harness digital technology
for sustainable development.

The Regional Roadmap for Implementing the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development is a framework which will continue to guide
our work. Yet we should also continuously sharpen our policy focus
as the situation evolves – including to respond to these five

From an institutional perspective, ESCAP and the United Nations
system are working to remain fit for purpose. You will be
discussing the midterm review of this Commission’s conference
structure during this session. The United Nations Development
System reform is well underway. It has moved to its regional

In this broader context, I have established an Eminent Persons
Advisory Group and am seeking views from all interested parties.
Our goal is to identify how we can better serve the needs of our
member States and deepen meaningful engagement with all our

I believe a reenergised approach to supporting transformed and
resilient societies is coming into focus.

At subregional level, ESCAP’s partnerships with subregional
organisations must be strengthened. Where common objectives exist,
we must work to complement each other. Where best practice can be
shared, ESCAP can facilitate such exchanges.

We are supporting the development of a Complementarities roadmap
with ASEAN under the leadership of Thailand and will be a partner
in its implementation. I would like to explore similar initiatives
with other subregional institutions.

A coherent regional level approach is becoming increasingly
important to overcome challenges which transcend borders and
strengthen the means of implementation such as financing for
development, data and statistics. In Asia-Pacific, least developed
countries, landlocked developing countries and small island
developing States must remain our priority. We should also scale up
our support for middle-income countries to ensure their aspiration
are met.

I am committed to working with all member States to achieve
transformed and resilient societies. The evidence indicates we can
be more effective if we empower citizens to support this

At this 75th session of the Commission, I am honoured by the
presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who
has shown great dedication to this cause in Thailand. I look
forward to benefiting from her experience.

Let me also thank the Royal Thai Government for hosting ESCAP in
Bangkok for the past seventy years, and all member States for their
longstanding, unwavering support. I am looking forward to joining
forces with all of you to accelerate progress towards sustainable
development in Asia and the Pacific.

*In an address to the 75th session of the United Nations
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP),

The post
Asia-Pacific Region Viewed as Engine of the World Economy

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Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana * is UN
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

The post
Asia-Pacific Region Viewed as Engine of the World Economy

appeared first on Inter Press

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Asia-Pacific Region Viewed as Engine of the World Economy