2016 marks the start of the aspirational and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The first priority for all national governments in strategizing for implementation of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their 169 associated targets, is to address the strengths and weaknesses of data sources, to swiftly determine how best to address the gaps, as well as the complexities of measurement.
As the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence, structural reform has become critical. The key to meeting many of the challenges, and seizing the opportunities of the changing global environment is closer regional economic integration with the rest of Asia and the Pacific.
Economic and financial stability in Asia is critical as we embark on the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a universal and ambitious blueprint that expands the horizons of policymaking to implement the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, reduce the region’s collective environmental footprint and secure the resources necessary to build the future we want.
Over land, by air and by sea, the people of Asia and the Pacific are on the move – this is the finding of the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Migration Report, the result of United Nations research led by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Organization for Migration.
Global leaders are gathered in Paris for the COP21 climate summit. Given Asia-Pacific’s size and its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, its voice and commitment are critical to achieving a comprehensive agreement on climate change. Many Asia Pacific countries are developing and must focus on achieving sustained economic growth and development.
Nothing erases development as suddenly and severely as natural disasters. When earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones strike, they wreak destruction not only across borders but across generations – reversing the hard-won progress of many years in poverty reduction, essential services, small businesses and economic opportunity. Disaster resilience in Asia and the Pacific is mission critical for the success of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
On this day, 70 years ago, the Charter of the United Nations came into force – hope, rising from the ashes of World War II. For seven decades the UN has driven multilateralism for peace, security, development and human dignity – in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Although far from perfect, no other organisation has done more to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and to promote social progress and better standards of life” for all.
Just a few decades ago, the population of the Asia-Pacific region was dominated by the young. Now, as birth rates have dropped and life expectancies improved, the population is aging. Twelve per cent of our people in the region are already over the age of 60. By 2050, this figure will rise to one-quarter of the whole population. Never before have countries aged as rapidly. It took France 115 years and Sweden 85 years to become aged societies, but for Viet Nam and Thailand, it will take only 20-22 years. The region risks getting old before it gets rich. So how do we address this crisis of a rapidly aging population in our region?
The resounding endorsement by global leaders last week in New York of the groundbreaking and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more than two years in the making, sparks new hope and optimism for multilateralism.
It is essential for governments to launch integrated and well-designed packages of inclusive policies to boost opportunities for decent employment and job security, equitable access to finance, and to provide adequate access to basic services such as education, health, energy and water. Addressing the shortcomings of inclusive growth, together with prudent and consistent management of risks to growth, has to be a key part of our transformation for the sustainable future we want.