UN Forum concludes with calls for greater inclusivity to accelerate efforts toward sustainable development in Asia-Pacific
At the close of the Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in Bangkok today, delegates called for stronger partnerships and a more inclusive dialogue with a broader range of development actors if the Asia-Pacific region is to meet the ambitious targets set out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
More than 1,000 participants gathered at the Forum to review progress on SDG 4 (Quality education), 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 10 (Reduced inequalities), 13 (Climate action), 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
While delegates recognized progress in areas of poverty reduction, education and health, there were concerns about rising inequalities in the region, such as widening income and wealth gaps, unequal access to resources, education, employment opportunities, technology and social protection. The impact of climate change in the region, especially on vulnerable populations, also emerged as a key concern, as participants highlighted the need to strengthen inclusive decision-making on issues of environment, natural resource management and food security.
Over the three-day meeting, government and civil society representatives, academics and business identified specific recommendations to accelerate action on the six Goals under review and get the region up to speed in its implementation of the SDGs.
Participants highlighted the importance of coherent integrated policies that looked at the links between the Goals, adding that good governance and appropriate and effective investments were vital for the development and implementation of policies to lead the region to a truly sustainable future.
In her closing remarks, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Alisjahbana said, “Overall, the discussions give cause for optimism. They recognized considerable challenges, but also considered many specific initiatives the region is taking to monitor and accelerate progress.”
She added that the need for integrated and inclusive policy making was clearly recognized during discussions on this year’s theme, empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. “The concrete examples of how empowerment has been successfully delivered in many of your countries are inspiring, as are the many innovative approaches which are underway,” the Executive Secretary said.
Organized annually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the outcomes from APFSD will provide input into the global discussions held at the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July this year.
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