Skip to main content

Press Release

Regional cooperation key to harness emerging technologies for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, highlights UN conference

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 22/07/2021 - 15:01
News type
News Number
G/26/2021
Origin Location
Guangzhou, China
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Delegates at an international conference today discussed ways to enhance regional cooperation on collaborative research and development of new Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning, Blockchain and others, to ensure progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Jointly organized by the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, China, and hosted by the Asia-Pacific Regional Innovation Knowledge Network for 4th  Industrial Revolution Technologies and its Secretariat Office at Guangzhou University, China, the International Conference on Emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Technologies for Sustainable Development focused on the role of knowledge-based institutions such as universities, national laboratories and industrial and research organizations engaged in 4IR technology innovations, and also engaging policymakers from the Asia-Pacific region.

The conference also developed policy recommendations to facilitate regional cooperation for applying 4IR technologies to sustainable development challenges, promote technology transfer and accelerate diffusion.

“Advancements in science and technology, spearheaded by 4IR technologies in recent years, have led to large-scale digital transformation of the manufacturing and service sectors across the world,”said Preeti Soni, Head of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT). “These emerging 4IR technologies offer many innovative solutions and opportunities towards supporting sustainable development across the globe and especially in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Established in 1977 as a subsidiary body of ESCAP, APCTT supports the member countries in strengthening their capacities on science, technology and innovation policy for fostering technology-based sustainable development. The Centre focuses on creating an enabling environment for the development and transfer of innovative technologies so that member countries can meet development challenges in today’s globalized world.

For more information: http://www.apctt.org/

 

News published date
Featured Image
 Regional cooperation key to harness emerging technologies for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, highlights UN conference

Photo credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

UN calls on countries to shape COVID-19 recovery as ‘truly green and sustainable transformation’

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 15/07/2021 - 19:01
News type
News Number
G/25/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) today called on countries to ensure that plans to recover from the pandemic support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help solve the climate crisis.

“As the region’s economic engine restarts, we must recognize the need do things differently and seize key opportunities to shape the recovery as a truly green and sustainable transformation,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. “We can do this more effectively if we cooperate more closely to tackle systemic issues, build capacity, and replicate and scale up our successes.” 

The remarks were made at an event hosted by ESCAP with the support of Fiji, Pakistan and the Philippines as part of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Experts from governments, the private sector and civil society presented their perspectives on the challenges as well as opportunities the pandemic recovery process entails.

The discussions were framed by the four-point recovery agenda presented in the theme study for the 77th session of the Commission, Beyond the pandemic: Building back better from crises in Asia and the Pacific. That agenda called on countries to focus on broadening social protection, invest in a sustained recovery, strengthen connectivity and supply chains, and mend the broken relationship with nature.

Speaking at the event, the Fijian Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the Hon. Mereseini Rakuita Vuniwaqa, emphasized the importance of strengthening social protection systems.

"COVID-19 has provided us with a unique opportunity to make our social protection systems more resilient and adaptable to the impact of crises of a magnitude we have never seen before,’ she said.  “In building back better, the proposal to widen social protection by spending 2 to 6 per cent of GDP is a step in the right direction. If we are to leave no one behind, major investment in social protection is a must, particularly in a world where COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in society ."

The HLPF is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015. With this year’s Forum agenda strongly influenced by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions revolved around ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery that also puts countries on track to realize the 2030 Agenda.

News published date
Featured Image
UN calls on countries to shape COVID-19 recovery as ‘truly green and sustainable transformation’

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Khongtham

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

Progress in streamlining trade procedures continues despite COVID-19 crisis, UN survey shows

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 14/07/2021 - 16:00
News type
News Number
G/24/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Countries across the globe are continuing to move towards a seamless and efficient trading environment, within and beyond national borders, by simplifying and digitalizing formalities in international trading, helping to sustain international trade despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey released today by the United Nations regional commissions.

The United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is produced biennially by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

The Survey covers not only the trade facilitation measures in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, but also digital trade facilitation measures associated with the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a UN treaty which entered into force earlier this year. The Survey also pays closer attention to sectors and groups with special needs, such as the agricultural sector, small and medium enterprises and women traders. A new module on trade facilitation during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic was integrated this year.

Many developing countries have made rapid progress in streamlining trade procedures, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. The Survey, covering 143 countries, shows that the global average implementation rate of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures at 65 per cent. Based on 128 common countries, it is an increase of 5 percentage points from an average of 61 per cent to 66 per cent in the last Survey in 2019. In 2021, developed economies have the highest implementation rate (82 per cent), followed by countries in South-East and East Asia (75 per cent). Pacific Islands have the lowest implementation rate (44 per cent).

In the Asia-Pacific region, implementation increased by nearly 6 percentage points since 2019, with most progress made in Pacific Island Developing Economies, although they have the lowest implementation rate of all subregions. Many of the measures included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement have been largely implemented. However, implementation of measures to achieve cross-border paperless trade remains much lower than that of others in large part because these measures – such as electronic exchange of customs declaration or certificate of origins across borders – require trust and closer collaboration among countries.

“Implementation of cross-border paperless trade remains a challenge everywhere, even though the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how useful it can be to exchange documents electronically to reduce physical contacts and the spread of the virus,” according to Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. “I encourage all leaders to take advantage of all available global and regional mechanisms to make progress, such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.”

The results are available at untfsurvey.org. The global and regional reports, including detailed data analysis, will be published later this year.

News published date
Featured Image
Progress in streamlining trade procedures continues despite COVID-19 crisis, UN survey shows

Photo credit: Magnifier/Adobe stock photo

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

ESCAP launches online tool to help countries visualize and analyze trade integration

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 30/06/2021 - 13:57
News type
News Number
G/23/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) today launched the RIVA value chain analyzer, a new online platform to support policymakers, analysts and researchers who want to understand how well integrated countries are in global value chains.

Through RIVA, the Regional Integration and Value Chain Analyzer, policy analysts from more than 72 economies can now easily generate insightful graphs and statistics about their contribution to, or dependence on, imports or exports of partner countries across 38 sectors. The tool automates time-consuming data analysis tasks that could previously only be performed by experts with specialized trade and data management skills.

“This first version of RIVA is expected to significantly enhance the evidence-based policymaking capacity of all our member States while preparing Governments to boost trade as a key means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

The tool will not only support analyses and policy decision-making that require mapping of integration and linkages within global value chains - the full range of activities to bring a product from idea to end use. It also allows for cross-country comparisons and benchmarking. Technical users who would like to download data for further analysis can do so through the flexible data querying function of the platform.

“While required data are increasingly available, major challenges remain in the capacity to utilize the data effectively and in a timely manner,” said Kamrang Tekreth, Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, speaking at the launch event. “From the perspective of emerging economies such as Cambodia, user-friendly tools like RIVA would be very practical for policymakers and the community, including those working with them. I am looking forward to seeing more tools and the expansion of the RIVA platform.”

The RIVA Value Chain Analyzer was developed by ESCAP with support from partners including the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Asian Development Bank, whose Multi-Regional Input-Output Tables provides the basis for the data underpinning RIVA.

For more information on RIVA, please visit: https://riva.negotiatetrade.org/

News published date
Featured Image
ESCAP launches online tool to help countries visualize and analyze trade integration
Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

Asia and the Pacific must boost efforts to register deaths to detect emerging health crises such as COVID-19, says UN report

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Mon, 28/06/2021 - 11:23
News type
News Number
G/22/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

The Asia-Pacific region must accelerate progress towards registering deaths and causes of death to achieve universal civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems by 2024, says a report released today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The report, Get Everyone in the Picture: A snapshot of progress midway through the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade, shows that while many countries have reported great success in reducing the number of children born without a birth certificate, far too few deaths in the region are registered with a medically certified cause of death.

Since 2012, the number of unregistered children under five across Asia and the Pacific has been reduced by half, resulting in greater access to health, education and financial services. However, death registration is lagging far behind with only a third of all deaths in the region receiving a death certificate and medically certified cause of death. A key reason for this is a lack of training for doctors and coroners.

The report underscores the urgent need for timely mortality statistics disaggregated by causes of death to develop and monitor public health policies and detect emerging health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Training doctors and increasing awareness of the importance of accurate death certification are some of the actions that countries can take to help combat this trend. 

"Today is another key milestone for the CRVS community in Asia and the Pacific," said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. "The recent surge in COVID-19 in our region once again highlights the urgent need for universal civil registration of births, deaths and causes of death," she added. "These developments emphasize the importance of our work to improve CRVS systems in the region."

"The report shows that the Asia-Pacific region is on the right path to reach its goal of universal and responsive CRVS systems," said Ms. Kamni Naidu, Chair of the Regional Steering Group for CRVS in Asia and the Pacific. "CRVS systems are much better positioned to respond to the crisis than they would have been five years ago," she added. “With continued efforts, we will be able to achieve our intended goal of ensuring a legal identity for all which will ensure that we realize and facilitate the goals of the 2030 sustainable development agenda.”

The report outlines country progress towards establishing universal CRVS systems in line with commitments made during the first Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific in 2014.

The Ministerial Declaration to "Get every one in the picture" in Asia and the Pacific defines the shared vision that, by 2024, all people in the region will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate the realization of their rights and support good governance, health and development.

The Second Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific will be held from 16 to 19 November 2021.

For more information visit: https://getinthepicture.org/

News published date
Featured Image
Asia and the Pacific must boost efforts to register deaths to detect emerging health crises such as COVID-19, says UN report

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Halder

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N
Country Region

Proposed global roadmap shows how universal access to sustainable energy can be achieved by 2030, transforming the lives of millions

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Mon, 21/06/2021 - 12:21
Sub Title

Major commitments to be announced at Ministerial Forums on 21-25 June to accelerate access and transition to clean energy by 2030

News type
News Number
G/21/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Everyone in the world could have access to clean, affordable energy within the next nine years if countries modestly increase investments, according to new reports released Friday, in the recent of a major ministerial meeting on 21-25 June where countries and businesses will begin to announce energy plans for the decade.

Annual investments of around $35 billion could bring electricity access for 759 million people who currently lack it, and $25 billion a year can help 2.6 billion people gain access to clean cooking between now and 2030. The required investment represents only a small fraction of the multi-trillion-dollar global energy investment needed overall, but would bring huge benefits to one-third of the world’s population.

The recommendations on energy access are part of a proposed global roadmap with concrete actions to achieve clean, affordable energy for all by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, launched by the United Nations Friday, to set the groundwork for a large-scale mobilization of commitments this year.

National and city governments, foundations and businesses are expected to start announcing significant commitments in the form of “Energy Compacts” at Ministerial Forums to be held 21-25 June, driving action towards a High-level Dialogue on Energy, a summit to be convened by the UN in September. Major Energy Compact commitments and partnerships for clean electricity access and cooking solutions are among those expected to be announced during the June Forums, which are co-hosted by thirty  Global Champion countries.

“The ambitious energy compacts being put forward by countries, businesses, cities, and many other partners are a spark of hope for achieving a just transition towards sustainable energy and for improving the lives of millions of people in the process,” said Dialogue Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “But this is only the beginning and we need much more commitment and concrete action at this year’s High-level Dialogue on Energy to get where we need to be by 2030.”

The proposed roadmap, which will inform the High-level Dialogue on Energy in September and be considered in the political statement resulting from the summit, is based on reports submitted by five Technical Working Groups that have brought together over 160 experts since March, co-led by 16 UN and international organizations, grouped by thematic focus. The five focus areas are: energy access; energy transition; enabling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through inclusive, just energy transitions; innovation, technology and data; and finance and investment.

A system overhaul to speed up energy transition

In order to achieve the SDGs and Paris Agreement targets, energy transition must become a transformational effort, a system overhaul, the proposed roadmap suggests. The reports recommend a rapid scale-up of available solutions to reach 8000 GW of renewables by 2030 from 2800 GW currently, and to increase the average annual rate of energy efficiency improvement from the current 0.8 to 3 per cent. By 2025, 100 countries should establish targets for 100% renewable-based power, and there should be no new coal plants in the pipeline globally. The share of fossil fuels in the global mix would fall from the current 60 per cent to 30 per cent by 2030.

The proposed roadmap also calls for countries to phase out coal by 2030 in wealthier countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and by 2040 in non-OECD countries, recognizing that many developing countries will need support for this process. By 2050, 92 per cent of power would come from renewable technologies.

“The energy revolution is underway, but 759 million people still live without electricity and the opportunities it provides,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UN Development Programme and Co-Chair of the High-level Dialogue. “It is one of the most blatant examples of inequality in our world today. Affordable clean energy access for all is the foundation for achieving a global energy transition that is fast and fair.”

A just and inclusive transition to achieve the SDGs

“At the upcoming Ministerial Forums, we will see bold commitments put forward as Energy Compacts as well as large financial commitments from partner institutions, and we need more of them, to ensure we leave no one behind and that we transition in a just and inclusive manner to net zero by 2050,” said his Co-Chair, Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sustainable Energy for All. “This is an opportunity of our lifetime to provide universal energy access by leveraging new partnerships and technologies, and funding innovations that can create a cleaner, brighter and more equitable economic future.”

The reports indicate that a just and inclusive energy transition can create 30 million new jobs in sustainable energy by 2030 and 42 million by 2050. They call for ensuring gender equality in all aspects of energy transition, including more women taking on roles as engineers, policymakers and entrepreneurs. The reports argue that every country and region should integrate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework for energy transition strategies. Policymakers must explicitly prioritize the needs of vulnerable groups in order to enable an inclusive and just energy transformation and achievement of all the SDGs.

Scaling up energy innovation and new technologies

On the role of innovation and technology, the proposed roadmap calls for scaling up research and development (R&D) and investment to align with the 2030 and 2050 goals, recognizing that private energy R&D funding has increased 40 per cent since 2010. Global investment in renewable energy capacity reached around $300 billion in 2019, with only 5 per cent invested in Africa, home to 82 per cent of those living without energy access.

The reports also acknowledge that many technologies for achieving the 2030 and 2050 goals exist but require innovations that accelerate and scale-up their deployment. In addition, the reports call for increased financing and investment to address lack of finance for local energy innovations in developing countries. Data systems need to be enhanced to better inform energy policies and direct investment decisions.

A tripling of clean energy investment by 2030

Recommendations on financing and investment needed to achieve the 2030 and 2050 energy targets call for a tripling of clean energy investment to $5 trillion per year by 2030. The trillions of dollars in investments needed can be supported by scaling up the use of blended finance mechanisms and multilateral portfolio guarantees coupled with results-based financing, de-risking instruments and commercial financing, as well as reducing regulatory barriers to attract private investment.

The Energy Compacts announced at the June Forums will be made public and tracked in an online database, with annual reporting through 2030. It is expected that many more commitments will be announced towards the September High-level Dialogue from national and local governments, businesses, foundations and civil society organizations.

FOR MEDIA

To follow the Ministerial Thematic Forums, the livestream of the ministerial segment will be available every day, 21-25 June, 9:00-11:00 am (New York time) at  webtv.un.org. The grand opening on 21 June, 9:00am, will include a message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. A summary of the proposed global roadmap will be presented during the ministerial segment each day according to theme. See the full programme for details. Highlights of Energy Compacts launched will be posted on the Dialogue website. Daily  meeting summaries with video and audio clips will be available online from IISD.

Media Contacts

UN DGC: Dan Shepard, shepard@un.org; HLDE Secretariat, UN DESA: Pragati Pascale, pascale@un.org; Daniella Sussman, daniella.sussman@un.org.

On the Web: un.org/en/conferences/energy2021 | Twitter: @UN_Energy

For more detail on the proposed global roadmap and recommendations, see the  executive summaries of each report by theme, as well as  media contacts for the co-lead organizations, online:

#1 Energy Access, in collaboration with UNDP, UN OHRLLS, World Bank  (21 June)

#2 Energy Transition, in collaboration with IRENA, UNEP, UN ESCAP (23 June)

#3 Enabling the SDGs through Inclusive, Just Energy Transitions, in collaboration with UN DESA, UN ESCWA, WHO (22 June)

#4 Innovation, Technology and Data, in collaboration with FAO, UN Habitat, UNIDO (24 June)

#5 Finance and Investment, in collaboration with EIB, IEA, IFC, UN ECA (25 June)

News published date
Featured Image
Proposed global roadmap shows how universal access to sustainable energy can be achieved by 2030, transforming the lives of millions
Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

Asia-Pacific Regional Food Systems Dialogue – a call to action

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 11/06/2021 - 15:49
News type
News Number
G/20/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Bold new thinking and decisive action will be needed to reshape and re-engineer food systems in Asia and the Pacific to make them more responsive, more dynamic and more equitable to meet the nutritional and other needs of the most populous -- yet most undernourished -- region of the world, a specially convened high-level meeting heard today. 

The Asia-Pacific Regional Food Systems Dialogue was organized by six United Nations agencies in response to strong interest from governments and other stakeholders in re-examining how food is produced, processed and consumed, prompted in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related impacts.  The recovery process from the coronavirus is seen as the beginning of that transformation leading up to the 2030 deadline of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Without addressing the weaknesses in our food systems, we cannot address the broader issues 

The Dialogue was opened by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.  

They explained that the global pandemic has helped to lay bare something that was already becoming very clear in recent years – that without addressing the aggravating factors that stymy progress toward SGDs 1, 2 and 10 – poverty, hunger and inequality – the world, and this region in particular, cannot hope to achieve the other 14 SDGs.  

Even before the pandemic engulfed the region, Asia and the Pacific was facing a number of challenges to food and agriculture including, climate change, rapid urbanization and land degradation, scarcity of natural resources such as water, trans-boundary pests and diseases such as desert locust, Fall Armyworm and African Swine Fever.  

The Asia-Pacific region is therefore ripe for food system transformation as a number of UN flagship reports have noted. Yet, while it has been, economically, the fastest growing region in the world for two decades, it is still home to the largest number of malnourished people, and even countries with rising incomes are struggling with multiple burdens of malnutrition. 

The Dialogue was a high-level virtual event, and was joined by Agnes Kalibata, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the global 2021 UN Food Systems Summit set to take place later this year in New York. 

She indicated that in preparation for the global UN Food Systems Summit it had become clear just how interconnected the world had become, and how COVID-19 had grown from one country at a time and then crossed to other countries while climate change had brought with it other challenges to food systems and these needed to be addressed together. This regional dialogue had provided an opportunity for participants to talk together as a region and to understand the inter-connectedness as a region, but also to push outside of the region and how to contribute to the world as a whole. 

Asia and the Pacific – a diverse region with a lot to offer the global Summit 

The Asia-Pacific region is very diverse. Some countries have an ageing population which is reducing the numbers of those involved in farming and food production. Other countries have large youth populations, all of whom cannot make their living from agriculture. 

The region is also very economically diverse, with highly developed economies alongside some of the poorest and most food insecure.  

The Dialogue heard that there exists a variety of solutions that can be found in this region – policy-based, evidence-based, regenerative, innovative and technological. All are needed to overcome the diversity of problems that exist to meet the challenges of food systems transformation. It was agreed that social safety nets and opportunities will be needed for reskilling and retraining for those who will potentially lose out due to transformative change and no one should be left behind.  

The Dialogue agreed that the Summit is not a means to an end, but the beginning of a process, and this regional discussion was an opportunity to form an inclusive coalition of partners who would work to re-imagine and re-shape food systems leading up to the realization of the SDGs and beyond. 

The Asia-Pacific Regional Food Systems Dialogue was made possible through a coordinated effort by the United Nations, its regional Commission ESCAP and five specialized agencies FAO, UNDRR, UNEP, WFP and WHO. 

News published date
Featured Image
Asia-Pacific Regional Food Systems Dialogue – a call to action

UN Photo

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

ESCAP and partners launch science-based e-learning course to tackle marine plastic litter in cities

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Tue, 08/06/2021 - 11:43
News type
News Number
G/19/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Today, on World Oceans Day, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and partners are launching an e-learning course to help reduce the impact of plastic pollution. As part of the Closing the Loop project, the course, entitled Cities and Marine Plastic Pollution: Building a Circular Economy, demonstrates state-of-the-art technologies and techniques that can measure and monitor plastic waste in urban and marine environments. The course is available as an open-source knowledge product for anyone who wants to learn more about taking measures to ensure clear waters for future generations.

"The vision of ESCAP is to engage all sectors, particularly academia and the scientific community, to support the development of the science we need for the oceans we want," said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. "Collaborate, starting with linking to the Closing the Loop project. If you have a solution or technology to prevent and manage plastic pollution, we want to talk to you."

Ensuring that the course considers multiple vantage points, it has been co-developed with ten global partners, including Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and the Ocean Conservancy. Closing the Loop also works with several Japanese agencies including the Institute for Global Studies (IGES) and is supported by the Government of Japan as part of its effort to realize the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision. This platform, developed at the G20 summit in Osaka in 2019, aims to bring marine plastic litter to zero by 2050.

"Plastic marine litter is one of today's most serious emerging issues and without any countermeasures, the amount of plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050, posing a threat to the environment and our way of life,” said Kazuya Nashida, Ambassador of Japan in Thailand. “It is said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased pollution from disposable products, such as plastic face masks and hand sanitizer bottles. To counteract this, we must work together to identify sources and pathways to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste."

The eLearning course content is focused on Closing the Loop’s digital tool kit which is being developed with partners using innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), satellites, drones and machine learning to measure and monitor plastic waste in urban waterways. This technology can pinpoint the 'source to sea' movement of how plastic leaks into the marine environment from cities and help shape effective action plans to put an end to it for good.

The toolkit includes a virtual map of ocean-bound plastics using artificial intelligence, a plastic pollution calculator that identifies plastic leakage ‘hotspots’ and a data platform to share knowledge. These technologies can be adapted for different cities or communities, and the aim is for these resources to be widely used to track and reduce marine plastic waste. These tools and the eLearning course have been developed with partners like The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Marine Litter Task Force, the University of Leeds, Plymouth Marine Lab and Japan Space Systems.

Register for eLearning here:

https://sdghelpdesk-elearning.unescap.org/thematicarea/detail?id=24

More information about Closing the Loop: https://www.unescap.org/projects/ctl

News published date
Featured Image
ESCAP and partners launch science-based e-learning course to tackle marine plastic litter in cities

Photo credit: Closing the Loop photo bank

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

“Let us commit to action”: UN regional leaders call for concrete steps to integrate human rights standards into business practice

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Wed, 02/06/2021 - 15:10
Sub Title

The annual Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum in the Asia-Pacific is meeting this week to address serious concerns about the course of social justice and development priorities.

News type
News Number
G/18/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

A leading regional forum has urged a renewed commitment from business and governments to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the global development goals. Regional Heads from eight UN organisations released a joint video statement calling for the “principled collaboration of business and the international community,” to address growing gaps in social justice, public health and environmental progress.

The UN leaders urged delegates at this year’s Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum to take “tangible, meaningful steps” on responsible business practices, women’s empowerment, protection of migrants’ rights, climate action, human rights due diligence and the use of data in the monitoring of international standards on labour and the environment. 

“Let us commit to action for an economic development that is inclusive and safeguards our environment,” the statement said.

The Forum takes place on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights – considered a foundational guide to global human rights standards for business. 

Over forty-six scheduled panel sessions featuring more than 200 experts will assess progress and responses to business and human rights challenges including eradicating the worst forms of child labour, eliminating violence and harassment in supply chains and ensuring women’s empowerment to create more inclusive value chains, among others.  

The event comes as many nations in the Asia Pacific region are grappling with the serious public health and economic consequences of a damaging phase in the pandemic.   Discussions will also reflect on the impact of COVID 19 on progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

While the pandemic has highlighted pre-existing protection gaps, the Forum will also examine a wider context of issues relating to responsible business, including climate change and environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, rising inequality, shrinking civic space and lack of accountability, among others.  The need for structural and systemic change to realize sustainable development for all has become increasingly urgent.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Forum will be virtual this year, gathering participants on a dedicated internet platform.   More than 2000 delegates from governments, business, civil society organizations and workers’ groups have signed up for this year’s event.

Hosts of the UN Responsible Business and Human Right Forum include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG).

The event is sponsored by the European Union (EU) and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

For more information or to follow discussions live, see www.rbhrforum.com

For media enquiries, please contact:

Pete Forster: T:+61 417 805 890; E:forsterw@iloguest.org
Minji Kwag:  E: minji.kwag@unwomen.org

News published date
Featured Image
“Let us commit to action”:  UN regional leaders call for concrete steps to integrate human rights standards into business practice

Photo credit: istockphoto/Eriz Razak

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N

Asia-Pacific policymakers call for ‘whole-of-society’ response to build back better from crises in the region

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 29/04/2021 - 16:44
News type
News Number
G/17/2021
Origin Location
Bangkok
News Source
ESCAP News
Programme of Work / Areas of work
News Sections

Policymakers from 50 Asian and Pacific countries today called for a “whole-of-society” response to COVID-19 and encouraged coordinated action across the region to mitigate the economic and social devastation brought on by the pandemic.

Endorsing a resolution on the final day of its annual session, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) also reaffirmed its commitment to multilateralism in response to global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delegates further underlined the importance of ensuring universal and equitable access to vaccines, investing in social protection systems that promote access to essential services and decent jobs, particularly to meet the health and social care needs of the most vulnerable populations, and promoting the continued flow of essential goods and services.

“We are committed to supporting governments to building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic through inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery strategies,” Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said in her closing remarks to the Commission’s 77th session. “It is my utmost hope that the resolution on regional cooperation to build back better from crises in Asia and the Pacific will further mainstream our response to COVID-19.”

Noting that ESCAP will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2022, Ms. Alisjahbana remarked that “regional cooperation is as needed today as it was 75 years ago.” She noted that as the Commission approaches this landmark milestone it is poised to take concrete actions on shaping the future of regional cooperation to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and deliver on the common agenda set out by member States.

More than 500 delegates from 52 of the Commission’s 62 members and associate members attended the session held this week from 26 to 29 April via a virtual platform.

For more information, visit: www.unescap.org/commission/77

News published date
Featured Image
Asia-Pacific policymakers call for ‘whole-of-society’ response to build back better from crises in the region

ESCAP/Suwat Chancharoensuk

Social Share
Shorten URL Enable
N
Subscribe to Press Release