Leaders from around Asia and the Pacific – a region at the forefront of the world’s innovation and economic growth – Friday (May 27) pledged to leverage its advantages towards protecting people and the planet.
The Bangkok Declaration, adopted at the conclusion of the 78th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), renews the region’s commitment to promoting multilateralism and international cooperation, strengthening partnerships for sustainable development, and upholding the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.
Some 85 million people have been pushed back into extreme poverty by the pandemic alone, millions more losing their jobs or livelihoods and a generation of children missing precious time on education.
The Declaration sets forth a common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, drawing upon priority areas identified from country consultations and negotiations.
Governments promised to leave no one behind, as well as place women and youth at the heart of development. They further reaffirmed the importance of trade as an engine of inclusive growth, protecting the planet, enhancing regional connectivity and exploiting technological opportunities.
Countries called for a reinvigorated role of ESCAP – observing the 75th anniversary of its establishment – as a regional development platform to respond effectively to the changing and emerging needs of the region. They also underscored the need for governments to create sufficient fiscal space to allow for greater investment in sustainable development.
"This resolution shows an unprecedented commitment and genuine engagement of countries to join forces to overcome current complexities and safeguard the development aspirations of the people - solidarity at its best in Asia and the Pacific,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
Three other resolutions on inclusive civil registration and vital statistics, sustainable transport development and changes to the ESCAP conference structure were also adopted at this regional assembly.
Recognizing the growing frequency and intensity of trans-boundary disasters in the region, countries underlined the crucial need to strengthen disaster risk information management and multi-hazard early warning systems.
The Regional Plan of Action on Sand and Dust Storms in Asia and the Pacific was endorsed to scale-up collaborative efforts and minimize the associated risks on communities.