It is my pleasure to speak at this important ASEAN Ministers Workshop, which takes place at an opportune moment.
In less than three months, our countries will gather at the SDG Summit to review progress of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is the opportunity to reflect on how far we have come to achieve the 17 Goals. It is also an opportunity to look at solutions to regain the momentum on SDGs implementation.
The entire UN Development System is mobilizing efforts with countries and stakeholders through a series of 12 High Impact Initiatives across the globe.
These initiatives will help deliver on the Energy Compacts, transform education systems, mobilize long-term sustainable finance and unleash the data dividend for the SDGs, to name just a few.
These initiatives demonstrate that we can accelerate SDG progress through concrete and effective solutions. They are the start of more leadership, investment and cooperation across the board to deliver on a large scale. And we look to the leadership of governments in the ASEAN region to lead the change.
During the recent crises, ASEAN governments have shown that sweeping transformations guided by the SDGs are possible. We need to lock these changes into more ambitious and concrete commitments that are honored if we want to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Secretary-General has written to world leaders, encouraging them to put forward national commitments at the Summit. Without such a step, the already slim chances of achieving the SDGs will simply evaporate.
And finally, we cannot measure progress without filling the gaps in data. Although data availability for the SDGs has almost doubled in our region during the past five years, the pace is slowing down despite continued large gaps that continue to be observed.
This year ESCAP supported Brunei and Viet Nam in developing Voluntary National Reviews and strengthening the national statistical system to integrate data into the SDG follow-up and review process.
As one of the High Impact Initiatives on data takes shape, we aim to continue this partnership with governments and partners.
The solutions and commitments here at this workshop should give us hope. We will amplify them as world leaders gather in September to deliver a “Rescue Plan for People and Planet.”
We look forward to our continued partnership with the ASEAN countries, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network partners to capitalize on the opportunities for achieving sustainable development in the ASEAN region.
Thank you very much.