The United Nations’ regional commissions have a clear mandate to assist their Member States in integrating the different dimensions of sustainable development, providing technical support for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and supporting the intergovernmental agreements needed for real progress. ESCAP will use this mandate to deliver on our commitment to sustainable energy, to ensure global commitments are transformed into tangible regional sustainable energy strategies to power greener, more inclusive economies that respect the needs of future generations. I look forward to hearing your debates on these important topics.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, together with market, infrastructure and technology advancements have great potential to shape a future powered by clean, sustainable energy. Energy supply enhancements are needed to address existing deficits and meet the needs of over 1.4 billion without energy access. Reducing dependence on fossil fuel sources is urgent as the carbon budget to keep the world within 2 degrees of warming is dwindling. Energy is the key contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for almost three quarters of the global total.
Energy access will require integrated responses that combine local development and income generation with provision of energy. Innovative financing and business models are needed to draw the private sector in to the task of rural energy provision. More effective energy efficiency policy frameworks are needed to address market failures, information gaps and encourage the adoption of efficient technologies, particularly in developing countries.
Governments can strengthen infrastructure investment in the region by proper planning and coordination across relevant ministries. Complementary policy measures should be undertaken, supported by stronger institutional governance for project execution, respect for property rights and the rule of law to ensure the benefits of infrastructure are shared by all. Infrastructure development frameworks for policy design and implementation are important for this purpose - bringing various sectors together. Overall, ESCAP is mandated to provide a regional platform to bolster infrastructure development and maintenance capacity in CSNs, with the active participation of emerging regional, subregional and national initiatives.
The UN’s regional commissions are well positioned to assist in developing regional approaches to manage climate induced migration. To this end, we have undertaken research, facilitated dialogue and supported Member States in developing integrated solutions and better capacities to address future migration challenges.
To support greater financial inclusion, we are planning several major activities that include inter-regional sharing of best practice, in particular with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as with other regional partners. These will also include research on SME financing and capacity building of member States.
Regional commissions have enhanced consultations and analytical work to promote the Addis Agenda. Most comprehensive is the annual ESCAP high-level FfD dialogue. This has institutionalized focused consultations since 2014. ESCAP has also established a group of 18 eminent public finance experts to advise and support advocacy for tax and public expenditure reforms.
There is an urgent need for better governance and effective fiscal management to promote growth, social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability across the Asia-Pacific region. A multilateral approach is needed to deepen regional economic integration and increase regional demand, intraregional trade and connectivity. Alongside an increased focus on social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability, action in these areas will be crucial to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I am looking forward to hearing the views of our distinguished panelists on these issues.
Following other recent joint efforts between Fiji and ESCAP, and reflected in the many supportive comments from leaders during the last couple of days, has the makings of a ‘genuine and durable partnership’ in line with the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda.