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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

15 December 2021

ESCAP ES

Excellency Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand,

Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues and Friends

I am honoured to join you in commemorating the 75th anniversary of Thailand’s membership in the United Nations.

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) found its home in Bangkok in 1949.

Since then, the presence of the United Nations has grown and Bangkok grew into the regional hub for Asia and the Pacific.  

In addition to ESCAP, Thailand hosts over 30 regional offices of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, the Asia-Pacific regional Development Coordination Office and the United Nations country team for Thailand.

This is a true demonstration of Thailand’s commitment to multilateralism.

Excellencies,

Allow me to use this moment to reflect on how to enhance multilateralism in our engagement at all levels.

I do so because our communities are facing unprecedented challenges.

The hopes of the present and future generations are being dampened by never seen before uncertainties.

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals are at risk.

Simply speaking, a business as usual scenario must be a thing of the past.

Today, our ambitions and our action must be lifted to a higher level.

Excellencies,

In today’s challenging environment,  the theme of today’s commemoration which is: commitment to a responsible, reliable and constructive member and development partner of the UN, is even more appropriate.

People-centred policies and development strategies have been the hallmark of many countries in our region.

Yet, these development aspirations are beyond the reach of too many communities.

Social deprivation, entrenched poverty and economic inequality are on the rise across all societies, creating a deep divide and threatening the very basic ethos of our humanity.

Working together is the only option to finding long-lasting solutions to address these socio-economic risks and climate vulnerabilities.

If we are to make meaningful impacts on people’s lives, the region must pay more attention to strengthening coordinated regional responses.

During the pandemic we have seen uneven access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment and thus, uneven recoveries around the region.

Regional and subregional coordination of emergency responses has been inadequate, making it difficult for healthcare systems to respond to new risks and threats of a variant of concern.

In 2016, Thailand led the formulation of the “Bangkok Principles” to integrate health aspects of the Sendai Framework into disaster risk reduction.  

Inspired by this leadership, the Commission, at its 77th Session earlier this year, adopted a resolution to further encourage strengthening health resilience -- a foundation to ensure healthy lives for all.

As a way forward, regional cooperation mechanisms, frameworks and agreements is, therefore, essential to support countries to have universal, equitable, timely access to quality and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines, vaccines and essential health technologies.  

At the same time, Thailand’s experience with the application of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy has motivated communities to contribute to the betterment of their societies.

His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, who inaugurated the ESCAP facilities on United Nations Day in 1975, introduced this philosophy based on the three core principles of moderation, reasonableness and prudence.

And Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model continues this tradition with a forward-looking framework for sustainable recovery from the ongoing pandemic-induced socio-economic crisis.

The ability for us to recover better together is directly dependent on these principles to promote inclusivity, resilience and green-blue recovery.

Furthermore, as an emerging economy, Thailand is well placed and active in sharing experiences, best practices and multiple development approaches to the region and beyond.  

The Global South-South Development Expo, to be co-hosted next year by the Royal Government of Thailand, ESCAP and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, is the latest mainifestation of Thailand’s commitment to multilateralism.

Excellencies,

We reaffirm our support for collective efforts, in which the subregional specificities and national contexts are at the centre of these engagements.

ESCAP, along with all of us in the United Nations system, provides a multilateral platform for all stakeholders to address new and emerging challenges and develop a set of viable solutions for the increasingly complex problems of our time.

We look forward to an enhanced partnership with Thailand in advancing an inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia Pacific for all.

Thank you very much

Kapunnaka

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