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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

12 September 2022

ESCAP ES

Excellency Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Global South-South Development Expo 2022.

We are delighted to partner with the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation to co-host this Global Expo in Bangkok.

It is also the first time that the Global Expo is organized in a hybrid format, bringing together stakeholders from across the world, both in-person and online, to leverage South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to get back on track to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The programme for the next three days comprises a number of important events, including the commemoration of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation; the fourth Asia-Pacific Directors-General Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation; the Global Directors-General Forum; and several thematic discussions and side events on key issues. I hope you will actively participate in these deliberations and find the time to network as development partners.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

ESCAP is the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in Asia and the Pacific. From Tuvalu in the east to Türkiye in the west, we covers 62 members and associate members.

South-South and triangular cooperation has been at the heart of our work since ESCAP was established. Its expanding role in advancing partnerships for the sustainable development of the region was recognized by countries in a resolution adopted at the 75th session of the Commission, in 2019.

Through our research and analysis, our intergovernmental platform, and our technical cooperation programmes, we are proud to have made significant contributions to the development of Asia and the Pacific, establishing key regional institutions; negotiating crucial intergovernmental agreements; undertaking quality normative and analytical work; advocating for policies to address critical and emerging issues; and building the capacity of its members to address common and transboundary development challenges in the region.

South-South cooperation is a key modality for our member States to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of climate change that no country can shoulder on their own.

Over the past decades, South-South cooperation has gained increased importance in accelerating sustainable development. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have achieved remarkable socio-economic development and technological progress. Many are now providing technical assistance and development finance; and sharing innovative approaches to assist other countries of the South to advance sustainable development.

In line with its regional mandate, ESCAP has fostered South-South cooperation mechanisms for supporting countries in need. One example is the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development (RESAP), which provides countries without a space programme of their own to access space-derived data, products and services for inclusive and sustainable development.

Leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation, we have also broadened regional trade and investment research and knowledge through the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNet). We are supporting governments to promote inclusive business models and fostering regional cooperation to preserve trade and transport connectivity in the context of the pandemic. There are several other examples across our thematic areas that demonstrate that “South-South cooperation works.”

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Home to over 60 per cent of the world’s population, the Asia-Pacific region is the engine of the world’s economy. It is the world’s largest trading region, sitting at the heart of global value chains and international investment. Asian and Pacific countries are at the forefront of innovation and leading investments in frontier technologies.

However, these hard-won gains are at stake.

Almost half-way into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda — the COVID-19 pandemic; the worsening impacts of climate change; growing inequalities; and rising geopolitical tensions have laid bare the fragility of our interconnected world. These crises threaten not only our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but we also risk regressing on key indicators of inclusive and sustainable development.

We need to continue to build upon our foundation of South-South and triangular cooperation as an integral part of international development cooperation.

We need collective determination, solidarity and cooperation to overcome the myriad challenges facing our region, and to build back better.

I wish you fruitful and dynamic deliberations over the next three days, and look forward to exchanges among a wide range of development partners to give South-South and triangular cooperation the support it deserves.

Thank you very much.

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