The UN Regional Commissions
Category archives for: ESCAP News

70th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

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70th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity

The 70th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific will be held in two phases: Phase I was held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on 23 May 2014 while Phase II will be held from 4 to 8 August 2014

For more information, please visit: http://www.unescap.org/commission/

World Water Day 2014, 21 Mar 2014, Bangkok

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The World Water Day 2014 (WWD2014) is celebrated around the world. This year 2014 WWD will be commemorated on, Friday, 21 March 2014 with the theme of Water and Energy. Globally the WWD2014 is being facilitated jointly by UNU (United Nations University) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). In Thailand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) together with host country, the Thai Government, will commemorate the WWD2014 Celebration on the Friday, 21 March 2014 at the UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok. This year’s WWD will be commemorated back to back with the ESCAP/UNHABITAT “Regional Policy Workshop of Stakeholders on Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Systems (DEWATS) in Southeast Asia. The IUCN/IWA/ESCAP Dialogue on “Water Infrastructure Solutions for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus” will be organized earlier in the week, 17-19 March 2014.

Concept Note

 

ESCAP launches digitized version of intellectual history

For the first time in the nearly seven decades of its existence, the work of staff at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) from over 60 years has been compiled, digitized and made available online. The “Intellectual History Project” launched today in Bangkok provides digital versions of the “ahead-of-the-curve” regional socioeconomic analyses ESCAP has been providing to Asia-Pacific policymakers since the Second World War.

The ESCAP Intellectual History Project will provide policy practitioners and academics access to analysis and advice contained in past editions of the annual ESCAP flagship publication Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (Survey) starting with the first edition published in 1948 by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) as ESCAP was known until 1973.

Led by the ESCAP Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division (MPDD), the project involved digital scanning of over 15,600 pages which are available in PDF format and as OCR-readable files (readers can search and copy contents).

The logistical and technological challenges of compilation and digitization have been daunting. This involved first procuring hard copies of past Survey editions, seeking guidance on the digitization process from the United Nations Library Office in New York and Geneva and shipping the copies to a service provider in Auckland, New Zealand.

Launched on 19 December by Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, the project offers a snapshot of cutting-edge analyses that have shaped and transformed development discourse in the region over the years.

A perusal of the messages and discussions in past issues of the Survey, one of the oldest continuously produced annual publications in the United Nations system, shows these to be well ahead of their time and truly visionary in nature.

The Intellectual History Project is a public good through which ESCAP aims to generate awareness among the new generation of academics, policy practitioners and leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

The digitized ECAFE/ESCAP Survey is accessible online at http://www.unescap.org/publications/survey.

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week 2013

ESCAP25OctoberThe Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week brings together government officials and other stakeholders every two years for discussions on issues of importance to trade and investment policy making in the region.

Against the backdrop of global economic turbulence, the first Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week in 2009 focused on the impact of the financial crisis on trade and investment in the region. Following this, the Second Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week was held in July 2011and looked at trade and investment opportunities in the post-crisis world, including in services and climate smart trade and investment.

This year, the theme of the week is “Promoting Inclusive Trade and Investment”. This is also the focus of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013, which highlights current regional trends, and discusses policies to ensure inclusive development outcomes from trade and investment.

Drawing on the presence of senior policy makers from across the Asia-Pacific region, the week hosts a number of engaging events related to trade and investment policy making, covering areas from trade facilitation and trade agreements, to sustainable agriculture, science and technology capacity building, and responsible business practices.

Highlights of the week include:

  • The ESCAP-OECD Conference on Regional Cooperation in Advancing Responsible Business Practices, 18 November 2013
  • High-level Dialogue on “Reviving Multilateralism: Road to Bali and Beyond”, 19 November 2013
  • Global Trade Facilitation Conference, 18-19 November 2013

The week will culminate in the Third session of the ESCAP Committee on Trade and Investment.

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Secretary-General calls for enhanced partnership with Southeast Asian bloc to promote peace, development

11escapoctoberOct 10, 2013 (Menafn – M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) –Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for enhanced partnership between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as the two bodies work together for peace, human rights and sustainable development across the region.

“You have a tremendous opportunity to position the ASEAN region for the 21st century. The United Nations is proud to be your partner, and we value your openness in furthering this partnership,” Mr. Ban told participants at the Fifth ASEAN-UN Summit, held in Brunei Darussalam.

He noted that the partnership between the two bodies is growing “broader and deeper,” and highlighted four areas where it can produce tangible results: regional connectivity; sustainable development; human rights; and peace and security. ASEAN connectivity in the fields of transport, trade and cross-border movement, he noted, is critical for closer, more efficient relations and to spread prosperity and close development gaps within and among countries.

Mr. Ban said he was pleased that the UN regional commission known as ESCAP has helped ASEAN develop its Regional Connectivity Master Plan. “UN collaboration will continue as you work towards establishing the ASEAN Community in 2015. We also stand ready to support efforts to improve energy security and the improved management of shared resources such as water.”

On sustainable development, the Secretary-General lauded the “impressive progress” ASEAN countries have made towards most of the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose deadline is 2015.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the press following his address to the ASEAN-UN Summit. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks with the President of Uganda. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (fifth from left) with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speakers with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) and US Secretary of State John Kerry. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras < >

“We will continue to work with you to achieve all the MDGs across the board,” he said. “This is imperative as we work to define a shared vision for the post-2015 period. The United Nations is eager to hear the voices of ASEAN nations and work with you in implementing a bold new sustainable development agenda.

“Poverty eradication must be our priority, and sustainable development our guide and principle.”

Noting that the region is highly vulnerable to weather-related disasters, Mr. Ban pledged continued UN support for disaster management, which he said is one of the most advanced areas of UN-ASEAN collaboration.

“Ultimately, we can only prevent climate disasters by addressing climate change,” he stated, stressing the need to finalize a robust legal agreement on climate change in 2015.

At the same time, the post-2015 development agenda must also be rights-based, with particular emphasis on women, young people and marginalized groups, the Secretary-General said.

“The ASEAN region is one of the most diverse in the world, representing many of the world’s great cultures, faiths and traditions. Peace and sustainable development for all the people of the region depend on harmonious relations among communities and nations.

“We must avoid the divisive effects of rising inequality, which often evolve along ethnic or religious lines. The UN stands ready to work with all of you to promote human rights for stability and development.”

Other areas of collaboration include peacekeeping, as well as the fight against corruption, transnational organised crime, terrorism and other non-traditional security threats, he added.

On broader issues, the Secretary-General applauded the various efforts to resolve tensions and conflicts in the region, noting for example that the border between Cambodia and Thailand has been calm.

In addition, the Thai Government has initiated peace dialogue with one of the southern insurgent groups, facilitated by Malaysia, and the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are now moving towards a comprehensive peace agreement.

Myanmar, Mr. Ban added, has been going through an “unprecedented” reform process. However, he remained concerned about ongoing communal violence, and urged the Government and all communities to address all contributing factors. “The reform process in Myanmar can only succeed fully if all groups in the country feel safe and part of the whole, secure in the realization of their human rights.”

On the margins of the summit, Mr. Ban met separately with several leaders, including those from Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia, discussing issues such as Syria, sustainable development and peacekeeping.

Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference

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Date:
16 Sep 2013 to 20 Sep 2013
Location:
Bangkok, Thailand

The Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) will be convened by ESCAP in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), from 16 to 20 September 2013 in Bangkok, with a view to serve as an intergovernmental platform for the Asia-Pacific preparations for the special session of the General Assembly on the International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014.

Organizers:
ESCAP, UNFPA

Asia-Pacific Governments commit to key regional priorities in international migration and development

ESCAP27June2013Under the theme of “International Migration in Asia-Pacific: Development beyond borders”, more than 100 senior officials and civil society representatives from 23 Asia-Pacific countries, assembled for the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013, held in Bangkok from 29 to 31 May 2013. The Meeting was convened by the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on International Migration, including Human Trafficking, in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 67/219 that called for regional commissions, in cooperation with IOM and UN system to organize discussions “to examine regional aspects of international migration and development and to provide inputs to the preparatory process of the high-level dialogue”.

The outcome of the Meeting, Asia-Pacific Input to the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, identifies priority migration and development issues for the region. More specifically, the Asia-Pacific Input considers actions for enhancing the development impact of international migration for migrants and societies, protecting the rights of migrants and strengthening data systems and research on international migration. The outcome recognizes the need to consider including the issue of international migration in the United Nations post-2015 development agenda. The Meeting requested the Executive Secretary of ESCAP to transmit the Asia-Pacific Input to the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, to be held in New York on 3 and 4 October 2013, through the President of the General Assembly.

ESCAP 69th Commission Session: Annual Report

 

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The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific held its sixty-ninth session in Bangkok from 25 April to 1 May 2013. The present report covers the period from 24 May 2012 to 1 May 2013 and contains an account of the discussions and conclusions reached by the Commission.

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Statement as Delivered by Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP to the High Level Panel on Post-2015 Development

Bali 2013

 

Click here to download transcipt in pdf format.

Statement as Delivered by Ms. Noeleen Heyzer,

United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Coordinator of the UN Regional Commissions

to the High Level Panel on Post-2015 Development

 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Bali, Indonesia.

 

Distinguished Members of the High Level Panel,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me start by thanking H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the people of Indonesia for their hospitality. My appreciation goes as well to the distinguished members of the high-level Panel for the opportunity to share the perspectives of the five United Nations Regional Commissions.

 

The Regional Commissions, from Latin America, Africa, the Middle-East, Asia and the Pacific and also from Europe, have had extensive consultations with our governments, civil societies, private sectors, academia and parliamentarians. Just in Asia-Pacific, to give you a sense of the meetings that we have had, ESCAP organized sub-regional meetings in partnership, as you heard this morning, with the Asian Development Bank, and UNDP. We also had meetings with the landlocked countries, the least developed countries, the small island states and recently, in Timor-Leste, with the more fragile states. So what are some of the priorities that have come out from these consultations?

 

Firstly, a repeat of the message that we heard earlier: that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unfinished business. We need to accelerate the implementation of the MDGs. The consultations addressed new challenges, as well as old ones, calling for a new development model to be based on structural changes for equality, inclusiveness, resilience and sustainable development, as a more integrated whole. The over-arching message emerging from the consultations was that the next phase of development has to be a transformative agenda that is people-centered, cares for our planet, and which generates shared and sustained prosperity.

 

This is the regional vision of the type of world that we want. The question, across all regions, was how best to get there. The connecting theme was that people from around the world are asking for a new social contract for sustainable development, between the state and its people, and between the state and the market. This social contract has to promote citizens’ engagement, translating growth into productive employment for all. It has to adopt policies for the fairer redistribution of wealth, economic assets and opportunities – where there is better resource management and governance, and better financial governance, including the issues of money laundering and corruption, greater accountability of both the public and the private sectors, and providing quality services to all.

 

The message that I bring to you also looks at the areas of priority action identified by the various regions, priorities which can only be effectively acted upon through a genuine global partnership, based on trust and not on conditionality, where both the developed and developing countries play their parts. This is why the need for agreement on the means of implementation for the next phase of the global development agenda is extremely important.

 

Amongst the critical priority areas indentified by the Regional Commissions, through our consultations, were: firstly, that we need to take into account that not all countries and regions are the same – it is not a homogenous agenda. The framework has to take sufficient account of the fact that countries and regions have different initial conditions and resource bases, in terms of human, institutional and natural resources, and that there has to be, therefore, enough flexibility to adapt this agenda at the local, national, and regional levels. For example, many countries in Asia and Latin America are middle income countries, but at the subregional level there are extremely poor communities. Therefore, poverty reduction has to be the top priority in all our regions. In fact, the term that was frequently heard in the consultations was that there are “rich countries with poor people” and sometimes “poor countries with rich natural resources that are badly managed”.

 

The issue of flexibility must also be extended to strategies for achieving our  development goals of inclusiveness, of sustainability and of equality. It cannot, therefore, be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. We also need to look at the development agenda in the context of the post-2008, post-financial crisis world: with ODA financing for middle income countries declining, it will be very important to create fiscal space and make spending and taxation more progressive in all our regions in the post-2015 agenda.

 

The means of implementation that are needed for these priority areas, must be more universal, to gradually diffuse the North-South paradigm that has dominated our international cooperation discourse. The concentration on accountable partnerships is therefore absolutely critical. Having said that, the intensity of development challenges facing developing countries is deeper still, and we need therefore to have international commitments and shared responsibilities, including those still relating to ODA, access to markets, technologies, and essential drugs. This needs to be politically upheld, notwithstanding the importance of mobilization of domestic and regional resources. In fact many countries, especially the middle income countries, are indeed looking at how they can mobilize greater domestic and regional resources. ODA will not be a basic pillar of the post-2015 development agenda, but it is still an unfulfilled promise that needs to be attended to.

 

We held several consultations with the landlocked and least developed countries, and here the emphasis was on transit trade and on regional connectivity, not only the hardware of connectivity, but also the software of connectivity. There was also a consultation with fragile and conflict-affected states, in Timor-Leste, and what emerged were four priorities: inclusive economic growth that is pro-poor and pro-jobs; state effectiveness and state building for development effectiveness; citizens’ security and the concern that it is not just war that creates violence, but the fact that many of these societies are being criminalized, and that violence related to criminality was a major concern; and of course the issue of peace and justice based on human rights. There was also a major concern about the establishment of better economic and social protection systems for the whole life-cycle, taking into account the challenges and opportunities of changing demographics, such as the ‘youth bulge’.

 

Other priorities which emerged were the need to build good governance, better state institutions, better alliances, better citizens’ engagement, and also to fight corruption. The need was also identified for a better regulatory environment for investment and trade, in order to generate jobs. By the same token, governance also has to be improved at the international level, to ensure that the interests of all countries are represented in global decision-making.

 

In addition, there was a very strong sense that, to fortify genuine global partnerships, there must be a focus on essential global public goods. The means of implementation should address how to mobilize and harness global partnerships for global public goods including: fair trade; stable international financial systems; and the accessibility of technologies for health, for inclusiveness and also for environmental sustainability.

 

Acting solely on outcomes, as is the case in the MDG framework, without addressing enablers of development and means of implementation, will not yield the structural transformations needed in the post-2015 agenda. The importance of regional public goods to development is most pertinent in this context – especially infrastructural deficits in transport, power generation, and information and communication technologies. The post-2015 agenda must, therefore act on global and regional impediments constraining such potential for development financing.

 

In conclusion, there was a focus on the need for partnerships for sustainable development to be built, and that means that we need to have a more holistic framework of human development and sustainable development, and that this must be consistent – we cannot see them as trade-offs, they have to be seen as synergies.

 

What we are looking for is low-carbon growth, that is high on poverty reduction, and high on reducing inequality. In this context we need to address climate change and issues of volatility, ensuring that development gains are not lost due to natural disasters or to manmade disasters such as financial crises and speculative behavior leading to excessive price volatility in essential commodities. We need therefore to strengthen the resilience agenda.

 

Another key issue that received prominence in the regional consultations was the imperative to achieve gender equality and to end the global scourge of violence against women and girls.

 

In short, the world that the Regional Commissions want, and are working towards, is a more resilient one, founded on shared prosperity, on social equity, on citizen’s security, and on sustainability. This is the world that we want our children to inherit.

 

I thank you.

 

69th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

ESCAP 69th Session

The 69th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific will be held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok from 25 April to 1 May 2013.

The Commission session will be comprised of two parts: the senior officials segment, from 25 to 27 April 2013; and the ministerial segment, from 29 April to 1 May 2013.

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