Director General Khun Eksiri Pintaruchi,
Distinguished participants, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 6th South-East Asia Multi-stakeholder Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
South-East Asia is currently amidst an uncertain and complex and very challenging world situation where aside from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-standing ongoing climate change as well as the war in Ukraine continue to upend the lives and livelihoods of its people.
This year’s Forum, organized in partnership with the Government of Thailand, showcases inventive solutions that promote environmental, social and economic impact by covering cross-cutting issues.
The Forum will feature an exchange of discussions on the SDGs that are being reviewed this year, namely, clean water and sanitation (Goal 6); affordable and clean energy (Goal 7); industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9); sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11); and partnership for the goals (Goal 17).
The outcomes of our discussion will feed into our regional conversations at the tenth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) next year in March as well as the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July.
While excellent progress has been made in achieving several of the SDG targets at the national level, however overall, referring to the latest ESCAP SDG report clearly states that the current trajectory, none of the 17 goals within the member States of ASEAN’s SDG targets for 2030 is likely to be met.
Progress is either very slow or stagnant on most of the Goals. We, therefore, cannot overemphasize the importance of regional cooperation in addressing global challenges and reinforcing strategic l cooperation at the regional, sub-regional as well as national level.
Therefore, today’s dialogue with stakeholders has become more relevant and urgent and as we have to put how to regain the momentum on the implementation of SDGs,
Over the next two days, key regional stakeholders and experts representing governments, the private sector, civil society, development actors and youth will discuss innovative approaches and strategic partnerships.
Deliberations will address the integrated nature of the SDGs as week as challenges in finance, energy, environment and transport.
For example, countries rebuilding after the pandemic need significant investment opportunities in sectors that will assist them to recover their economies more resilient to future shocks as well as more inclusive society as well as to be environmentally more sustainable.
In addition, public funding or Government funding alone is not sufficient to achieve the SDGs; the private sector is a key partner in the more effective mobilization of investment as well as for financing sustainable infrastructure and accelerating the transition to sustainable energy under Goal 7 to reduce countries’ heavy reliance on fossil fuel.
In the transport sector, national freight transport policies and strategies must be aligned to support interregional connectivity as well as intraregional connectivity and create new opportunities to scale up partnerships and technical cooperation among different actors across the subregions as well as intraregional to achieve Goal 9.
South-East Asia is already experiencing unprecedented urban challenges that have significant impact on the health, sustainability and resilience of cities.
The deliberation will focus on emerging issues and linkages between Goal 11 within the context of sustainable urban recovery from multiple connected crises to identify current best practices to foster recovery and develop sustainable cities and communities.
Distinguished participants and colleagues,
We are pleased to inform you that in addition to organizing a Voluntary National Review (VNR) session, which has been a regular topic of this Forum, a VNR clinic will be organized following this event.
The VNR is an important process or tool for countries to understand their SDG progress and discuss where countries want to be at the end of the 2030 Agenda. Challenges, as well as solution, is needed.
The VNR clinic will facilitate the exchange of best practices, lessons learned in preparing VNRs and present ESCAP’s support to countries undergoing the VNR process or preparation for 2023.
We also have strong participation by civil society organizations in this year’s Forum. Their active involvement brings important perspectives vibrancy, dynamism to any multi-stakeholder dialogue, especially on issues of diversity, inclusiveness and resilience.
Apart from regional and national-level interventions, subregional cooperation on SDGs is an equally important component. Through a smaller country grouping with a more focused collaboration, this year we invite colleagues from the IMT-GT (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand Growth Triangle) complementary efforts can be made to implement environmentally sustainable initiatives in South-East Asia.
In closing, I look forward to hearing your further deliberation, insights and views on how we can regain the momentum and accelerating the recovery of SDGs, especially in South-East Asia from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you for your participation and wishing you a successful Forum.