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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

08 June 2023


Excellency Mr. Kasym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan;

Your Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar;

Excellency Mr. Sadyr Japarov, President of Kyrgyzstan;

Excellency Ms. Željka Cvijanović, Chairwoman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Excellency Mr. Abdulla Aripov, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan;

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

Mr. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am extremely honoured to be invited to address the Astana International Forum.

With more than three-fifths of the world’s population, the Asian and Pacific region has an outsized global impact.  

Among the members of the Group of Twenty (G20) world’s major economies, eight are in Asia and the Pacific.  

Yet the region is likewise diverse, with more than half of the countries being least developed countries, landlocked developing countries or small island developing States.  

Many of these countries attained self-governance only within our lifetimes. While readily affected by economic, environmental and social changes, these countries have far fewer options to counter such exogenous shocks. 

There are global and regional issues that affect us all. This is especially true in a world where all aspects of our lives are economically, socially and environmentally intertwined. 

Economic growth in recent decades has transformed Asia and the Pacific by reducing poverty and raising living standards. 

The pandemic, as well as disruptions to international supply chains, brought this progress to a standstill and changed the way we conduct our lives.

The return to normality since the pandemic resulted not only from national public health initiatives but also from the sharing of research and development of vaccines as well as global production and distribution. 

Through this common experience, we know that national policies must be coupled with international cooperation to reach long-lasting solutions.  

We know what can be done when attention is placed on our common priorities. 

Distinguished guests,

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific was established in Shanghai in 1947 to facilitate concerted action for economic reconstruction and development of Asia and the Pacific, following General Assembly Resolution 46(I) of 11 December 1946. Our membership has since expanded to 53 countries and nine territories.  

We marked our seventy-fifth anniversary in March last year, and in May 2022 the Commission adopted the Bangkok Declaration to commemorate this milestone and pursue a common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. 

The resolution celebrated the extraordinary socioeconomic progress that lifted millions out of poverty in the region that is now home to the world’s largest, most dynamic economies and its diversity of cultures and economic and social systems.

It also recognized the need to address the outstanding development challenges of persisting poverty and inequalities, vulnerability to shocks, natural disasters and climate change and environmental degradation.

Our members pledged their strong support for the Commission’s role in confronting regional, transboundary and common challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to advancing sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. 

Through this resolution, our members committed to:

•    leave no one behind; 
•    put people, including women and girls, at the centre of all our efforts; 
•    protect our planet from the challenges to our common environment, including climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and natural disasters; 
•    develop healthy environments and better manage environmental risks and resources; 
•    work together to enhance regional connectivity and to improve digital cooperation; 
•    keep markets open; and 
•    align public and private financial resources to effectively pursue our sustainable development aspirations

To attain these goals, the resolution reaffirmed the commitments set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the partnerships needed to strengthen multilateralism.

We will be able to successfully maintain international financial stability, mitigate climate change and attain sustainable development only by working together. And by working together, the realm of possibilities becomes greater.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Each journey begins with a single step.  Each one of us has a point of view. We need to identify what we see as issues of common interest and address them first.

Building on the confidence developed, we can bridge the remaining differences step-by-step.  

With the 2030 Agenda calling for inclusive and sustainable development, member States, together with all stakeholders, must continue to build the confidence and trust necessary for actions to reach our shared goals.  

We must transcend our immediate concerns and focus on what we can agree on. Only then will our progress match our ambitions for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable region.

Distinguished participants,

I am confident that this Forum will allow us to build the confidence and trust needed to overcome our common challenges.

With these words, I thank you.

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