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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

25 October 2019

Honourable, Ms. Kanchana Patarachoke, Director-General, Department of International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
Your Excellency, Ms. Atchara Seriputra, Vice President of the United Nations Association of Thailand,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure to welcome you to this anniversary of the United Nations. Since fifty-one countries came together seventy-four years ago and committed to maintaining international peace and security, upholding human rights and promoting international cooperation – a great deal has been achieved.

Assistance has been provided to millions of people fleeing war, famine and persecution. UN Peacekeepers have been deployed to over 70 peacekeeping operations in a remarkable demonstration of solidarity and collective responsibility. The UN continues to supply vaccines which save the lives of 3 million children a year. UN member States have worked together to end hunger for millions and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Next year marks the Organization’s 75th anniversary. This milestone is a critical moment to shape our future, together.

We are focused on the remaining challenges, on reforming the UN development system to be more effective and on building solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Solutions which are essential to respond to the call made by world leaders at the UN General Assembly and Sustainable Development Goal Summit last month to make the 2020-2030 years a ‘decade of action’ for sustainable development.

This is an ambition which can only be met by all member States moving multilaterally to grip the levers of transformation: securing sufficient financing for development, unlocking youth’s full potential, empowering women, leveraging technology, and building good governance and strong institutions. It is a goal which requires more ambition in our action to combat climate change and environmental degradation.

These imperatives guide the work of the United Nations family across Asia and the Pacific. Today I would like to mention just one area the SDG Summit underscored as a priority - the sustainable management of our oceans.

Oceans in our region are home to the most biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems in the world, covering 40 per cent of the world’s surface. Tens of millions of people in Asia and the Pacific depend on them for their livelihood. Yet oceans are under significant pressure from human activity and climate change. Rising temperatures and ocean acidification are affecting marine habitats and making oceans less effective at moderating climate change. Fifty percent of global land-based plastic leakage originates in our region. Overfishing and inadequate ocean governance are jeopardising broader sustainable development.

In the face of this transboundary challenge, I hope the coming years can be ones in which Asia-Pacific turns a corner. Years in which we scale up climate finance in line with the commitment to a carbon neutral world by 2050, embrace technological innovation and big data to better mitigate increasing disaster risks and changing ocean ecosystems, and strengthen peer learning to better understand the changes in ocean chemistry and frame our regional policy response. I know there are many positive UN and member State initiatives on which to build in the coming months.

I am looking forward to joining forces with all of you to do so. Your show of support today makes me optimistic as to what we can achieved.

Before concluding, I would like to express my thanks to all the delegations which have graciously contributed national dishes, to all UN Agencies who are showcasing their work and to the Royal Thai Government for its unwavering support and hospitality.

I wish you an enjoyable celebration.

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