UN Regional Forum opens with call for countries to advance SDGs with urgency, ambition and scale
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent crises, the region is rapidly losing ground on its ability to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). the
Ninth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) opened today in Bangkok with a
a resounding call for countries to ensure that recovery strategies are inclusive, fair and leave no one behind despite the growing challenges ahead.
Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) from 28 to 31 March, the Forum brings together a cross-section of key development actors, including senior officials and United Nations officials, private sector, youth and civil society representatives to share their experiences and mobilize regional action under the theme “Building back better after COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the rest of the world”. The pacific “.
Nearly 90 million people in the region have been pushed back into extreme poverty to live on less than $1.90 a day. Meanwhile, more than 30 million children suffer from acute malnutrition. The combined risks of climate, disasters and pandemics have disrupted up to 122 million lives and cost Asia-Pacific economies more than $1.3 billion annually. Some 109 to 166 million jobs were lost in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific, accounting for almost 70% of total job losses worldwide.
“We must invest in women, young people, people with disabilities, people working in the informal sector as well as refugees and migrants. They have been the hardest hit by the pandemic and will continue to pay the highest price unless we take urgent action,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed in his opening speech. She added: “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was never going to be easy. But it is still possible. »
“For seven and a half decades, ESCAP has been the most inclusive platform for promoting dialogue and fostering joint regional action in Asia and the Pacific. Advocating for complementarity of development approaches and frameworks remains at the heart of the region’s transformation and resurgence,” said
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
Also at the opening HE Ambassador Suriya Chindawongse, Vice-President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
underline, “The challenges of sustainable development and the consequences of not achieving them ultimately affect us all because we are all interconnected and interdependent. In the long term, no island of prosperity and no atoll of wealth can endure in a sea of poverty and an ocean of iniquity.
“All our efforts to achieve sustainable development would be in vain without peace and stability. Achieving peace by enhancing human security and people-centred development must be our priority in this Decade of Action,” said
HE Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand.
Over the next four days, Forum participants will undertake an in-depth review of the region’s progress on Sustainable Development Goals 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on earth) and 17. (Partnerships for the Goals). The outcomes of the Regional Forum will feed into the Global High Level Political Forum in July.
“The unique experiences of countries in Asia and the Pacific, as well as our common struggles to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, are full of lessons and best practices that we can all learn from as we strive to shape a better region in the world. facing a new reality,” said HE Karl Kendrick Chua, Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), who was elected president of the ninth APFSD.
“We have enough knowledge, resources and all the necessary tools. I refuse to accept that we cannot achieve all the SDGs on our schedule. What is needed is the courage, the compassion and the conviction to do it now with the greatest solidarity,” shared Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel laureate and SDG advocate.
“Indigenous peoples and grassroots communities play an essential role in the development of alternative approaches and the sustainable management of resources and biodiversity. A truth that has not achieved adequate public recognition and attention, despite the agency that could benefit all by caring for the environment and pursuing sustainable development,” said Beverly Longid, Global Director, Indigenous Peoples’ International Movement for Self-Determination and Liberationrepresenting civil society.
In addition, ESCAP, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) jointly launched the latest edition of the Report on the Asia-Pacific Partnership for the SDGs – Moving forward together: Towards an inclusive and resilient Asia and the Pacific. The report highlights the reversal of hard-won development gains in the region and highlights the growing risks for developing countries and poor and vulnerable people.
The report calls for recovery strategies to take into account six factors to avoid a “K” recovery: vaccination (including access to diagnostics and treatment), social protection, digitalization, economic structure, environmental risks and fiscal space. As countries move from emergency response to long-term recovery, the report also shares three interrelated areas in need of urgent policy action, namely inclusion (ensuring social protection and quality education for all) , women’s empowerment (advancing gender equality) and environmental sustainability. (building inclusive green economies).
Since 2014, the APFSD has provided an annual and inclusive platform for countries to share regional best practices and lessons learned, support the presentation of their voluntary national reviews and assess progress made in implementing their the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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