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ESCAP@75 - Story 02

Photo credit: iStockphoto/BrianAJackson

Ms. Tiziana Bonapace - Director, ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division

Dr. Tiziana Bonapace

Asia and the Pacific has emerged from a period of colonialism to a dynamic region with a development process embedded in perpetual change. To its credit, ESCAP, as an organization, has changed with it. Once, it was primarily focused on post-war economic prosperity. Now, it has evolved into a body that encapsulates social issues, consensus building, commonality and knowledge sharing. ESCAP-led regional cooperation continues to be a significant contributor to institution building, which has brought the people of Asia and the Pacific closer together.

The region is used to combatting challenges, and it has had many over the years including economic, climate-related and the multi-dimensional COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, Asia and the Pacific is a resilient region, and it has the capacity to build forward better. ESCAP will encourage government investment in resilience, human capital and closing the gap on income inequality. However, ESCAP continues to evolve to this day from an intergovernmental institution to a multi-stakeholder Commission that builds consensus across the spectrum. Through such partnerships, the influence of ESCAP’s work will undoubtedly be enhanced.

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Mr. Adnan Aliani – Director, Strategy and Programme Management Division and Officer-in-Charge of South and South-West Asia Subregional Office

We must continue serving the people and aid intergovernmental organizations in implementing the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development] while putting aside any conflicts or rivalries in the region. We must focus on developing regional public goods and institutions. Cooperation is critical; by doing this, we will maximize our ability to work with each subregion and replicate innovations throughout the other areas of ESCAP. We have many indigenous intergovernmental organizations, such as the Pacific Islands Forum or ASEAN, to strengthen mechanisms in Asia and the Pacific. The more we unite with these groups, the more effective ESCAP becomes as we build forward better.

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Mr. Adnan Aliani

Ms. Van Nguyen - Sustainable Development Officer

Ms. Van Nguyen

The 75-year journey of ESCAP mirrors that of Asia and the Pacific itself. With millions lifted from poverty and a transformation into the world’s economic centre, the region’s dynamism is plain to see. The future of ESCAP lies in the challenge to ensure human development is the centre of building forward better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has jumpstarted many of the technological advances in the region that will define the coming years. However, ESCAP can bring coherence to the multitude of efforts by gathering like-minded individuals around commonalities, forging partnerships and bringing innovation to the fore. This is how ESCAP remains integral in our rapidly changing region.

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Mr. Siope Vakataki 'Ofa - Economic Affairs Officer, ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division

Under the watchful eye of ESCAP, knowledge-sharing between several advanced ICT countries and those countries with special needs and Least Developed Countries is paying dividends. The organization also plays an essential role in upskilling government officials through targeted capacity training workshops. Although the ”digital divide” in access, affordability and reliability continues to be an issue, ESCAP plays a critical role in coordinating regional cooperation so that digital transformation becomes a reality for all.

COVID-19 has highlighted the critical role of digital connectivity in sustaining socio-economic activities and building forward better, and we are constantly working hard to ensure this goal becomes a reality. ESCAP has always been instrumental in amplifying the dialogue in Asia and the Pacific on numerous important topics including ICT, so that sustainable development in the region is achievable.

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Mr. Siope Vakataki 'Ofa

Ms. Channe Lindstrom Oguzhan - Social Affairs Officer, Social Development Division

Ms. Channe Lindstrom Oguzhan

Asia is becoming the world’s economic powerhouse, so it is vital to ensure this economic growth is both inclusive and sustainable. For Asia to meet the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development] requires adherence to normative principles and minimum standards. ESCAP is uniquely placed to insist on collaboration, the forging of friendships and the sharing of best practices across all sectors of society so that no one is left behind.

I am proud to work for ESCAP because of the three pillars on which we base our work, peace and security, human rights and development. In our journey towards a better world, ESCAP carries the baton forward to benefit all in Asia and the Pacific, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized. We at ESCAP are counted on to act, and it is for their standard of living that my colleagues and I go to work every day.

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Ms. Nasikarn Nitiprapathananun - Staff Assistant, Statistics Division

The acceleration of universal registration of births and deaths is a massive area for continued progress in Asia and the Pacific. It is crucial because a functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system allows populations access to proof of identity, social systems, healthcare and a voice in their community.

COVID-19 has highlighted the necessity of CRVS. It shows how disasters like the pandemic affect specific sectors of our society unequally or more severely. The future of our region depends on how we shape it. Do we want it to be more sustainable and inclusive or not? ESCAP can enhance the relationships between government, civil society and the private sector to ensure we leave no one behind and promote social inclusion as they are change agents. ESCAP is working hard to achieve a responsible CRVS system in all its member States.

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Ms. Nasikarn Nitiprapathananun
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