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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

17 November 2022


Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN),

YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah AO, Chair of SDSN Malaysia and Chairman of Sunway Group,

Professor Woo Wing Thye, Vice-President for Asia, SDSN, Sunway University,

Dear professors, students and participants, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like first of all, to thank the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN) and Sunway University for inviting me to deliver these congratulatory remarks at the opening of the Network’s Asia headquarters.

On this auspicious occasion, I would like to extend my congratulations to Professor Jeffrey Sachs, YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri, Dr. Jeffrey Cheah AO, ProfessorWoo Wing Thye, and all colleagues for this achievement.

I recognize the work and contributions of the Network’s whole-of-society approach to tackle sustainable development, using disaggregated data, towards achieving a low-carbon society.

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is at a crossroads. Despite the fact that we are nearing the halfway mark in the Decade of Action for SDGs, the world is facing daunting challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of climate change and the war in Ukraine.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to two-thirds of the world’s population. It has been the engine of the global economy and has spawned countless innovations and demonstrated impressive economic growth  and increased in welfare that have bettered the lives of billions. While it has made significant development gains over the past decades, the region faces vast, emerging challenges.

Some of these challenges are the deepening divides, including the digital divide and widening inequalities within and between countries, and increased extreme poverty, compounded by frequent and intensified natural disasters across the region, especially in small island developing States (SIDS).

ESCAP’s SDG progress report continues to tell us that as a region, Asia and the Pacific are not on track to achieve any of the SDGs by 2030, especially environmental-related Goals, even before the pandemic.

Additionally, the surge in food and energy prices caused by among others the geopolitical tensions and conflicts has brought global inflation to a peak and amplified social tensions in many Asian and Pacific developing countries.

Dear participants, ladies and gentlemen,

Alongside these challenges, there are new opportunities.

For example, the accelerated digitalization of economies and societies at an incredible pace was greatly boosted in large part by the pandemic. Consequently, digital technologies have rapidly taken over more aspects of our daily lives in a positive manner. For example, digitalization has given women entrepreneurs new level-playing fields and empowerment to conduct their businesses and attain new skills online.

We also realized during crises that Government alone cannot successfully implement the 2030 Agenda. Realizing its aspirations requires whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches in all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. 

We must also leverage the private sector, academia and civil society. Partnership with them is critical, as their growing engagements can bring greater innovative approaches and solutions to accelerate positive social and environmental as well as economic outcomes.

Dear participants, ladies and gentlemen,

We recognize the cardinal role and contributions of SDSN in the whole-of-society approach for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of SDGs.

The establishment of the Asia headquarters shows the commitment of SDSN to foster stronger multilateral cooperation and partnerships, through which the Network shall continue to play an important role.

First, by leveraging members in 50 networks across 144 countries, SDSN can continue to play a major role in raising awareness of the pathways towards sustainable development.

Second, as a well-known think tank for promoting sustainable development, SDSN and its networks within academia could provide a platform for various stakeholders and facilitate an exchange of views and new ideas.

Third, SDSN could scale up its research and advocacy work and build partnerships with various academic institutions, think tanks, civil society as well as the private sector, leveraging its strong network and the community of practices.

Finally, the SDG academy has a strong presence on the Internet and could provide cutting-edge sustainable development solutions and disseminate the findings from SDSN’s research work.

With these expectations in place, we are looking forward  to Asia-SDSN contribution to an inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Thank you very much!

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