Speaking at the opening of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in Bangkok, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed expressed admiration for the progress made in developing the vast region until now.
“Your governments have taken up the challenge of the 2030 Agenda with decisive leadership … by making significant investments to improve data and statistical coverage, develop partnerships and promote individual-centered policies, strategies and programs”, she said.
However, such efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) face “major hurdles,” she added, highlighting rising inequality.
“The inequality of wealth, access to basic services and unparalleled ability to withstand setbacks and cope with the ravages of climate change are increasing,” said Mohammed.
According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) – which organized the forum – women and girls in the region have been hardest hit, more than half of whom remain excluded from critical decision-making, and in some countries almost one third of young people do not have employment, education or training.
“There is an urgent need to empower our women and girls; take advantage of the immense potential of young people for positive change and innovation; reverse the trend of inequality; and putting people and the planet at the center, “said Mohammed, adding that Asia-Pacific did not need to look far.
“There are many examples in this region that point the way forward for empowerment and inclusion for all. But the question we all need to answer is: how can we increase ambition and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda? She added.
Also speaking at the opening of the forum, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Armida Alisjahbana, presented the main strategic options that could accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific, notably by increasing resources allocated to key social sectors and allowing citizens to define the policies that impact them. Their families
“To achieve the 2030 Agenda, additional investments are needed to accelerate the pace of progress,” she said, adding that while needs may vary from country to country, depending on size and the diversity of the region, Ensuring Inclusion and Equality – the theme of this APFSD – can help accelerate progress towards all sustainable development goals, “she said.
Source: United Nations