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‘Seize The Moment’ To Recover And Rebuild Better, UN Deputy Chief Urges Asia-Pacific Nations

Confronting major setbacks due to the coronavirus
pandemic, countries in Asia and the Pacific “must now
seize the moment” to rebuild and recover better together,
the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General said on

Addressing the eighth Asia-Pacific
Forum on Sustainable Development, convened by the UN
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Amina Mohammed,
highlighted the importance of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development
and the Sustainable
Development Goals

“[They] show the way
to inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies and
societies that respect people and planet”, she

Ms. Mohammed urged countries for a new a new
social contract as they recover, which ensures access to
basic services, quality healthcare and education, and social
protection for all

She also underscored that women’s
full political and economic participation “are
fundamental”, calling for decisive steps to prevent and
end all forms of violence against women and

Alongside that, the reduction of civil space
must be addressed, and rights of all people – including
the most vulnerable and marginalized – must be protected,
she added, calling also for a greater effort towards carbon

2030 Agenda the ‘compass’ for

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive
Secretary of ESCAP, also noted the importance of the 2030
as a “compass” for transforming societies in
the post-COVID-19

She called on countries to enact policies that
“create harmony” between health, economy and

“As we prepare for sustainable and
resilient recovery, let us remember that the SDGs are our
compass and can continue to play a force for good in
transforming our societies in the post-COVID-19 era”, Ms.
Alisjahbana added.

“[We are] committed to
strengthening…multi-stakeholder partnerships at the
regional, subregional and national levels to recover better
together”, she said.

COVID vaccine a ‘global
public good’

Munir Akram, President of the Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC), called for
treating the COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good,
warning that inequality in access to the vaccine would not
only erode international solidarity and cooperation, it
would also delay global recovery.

“The virus could
roam and return”, he warned.

Mr. Akram also
highlighted that the pandemic exposed weaknesses of
countries and societies, with “the most vulnerable
suffering the most”.

To recover better, he outlined
three key fundamentals: availability of adequate finance;
significant investments in sustainable infrastructure; and
full utilization of science, technology and

“Structural obstacles” that impede
global growth and exacerbate inequality must also be
addressed, the ECOSOC president added, urging equitable
trade, taxation and technology regimes, to enable developing
countries to achieve sustainable production and

Region’s progress towards

Held between 23 to 26 March, the Asia-Pacific Forum on
Sustainable Development
(APFSD) is an annual inclusive
intergovernmental forum for countries to deliberate regional
progress towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda as well as a
platform to prepare for the high-level
political forum on sustainable development
, convened
under the auspices of the Economic and Social

This year, the Forum focuses on sustainable
and resilient recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also
reviews countries’ progress on several SDGs, including on
ending hunger, healthy lives, decent work, reduce
and partnerships for
the global goals.

The opening day, Tuesday, also saw
the launch of a joint ESCAP-UN Development Programme (UNDP)-Asian Development
Bank report, Responding
to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Leaving No Country Behind
which identifies options for recovery and building
resilience in the region.

Also on the agenda are several side
, on topics ranging from statistics, impact of and
recovery from the pandemic, climate action, combatting
various types pollution, and engaging diverse stakeholders
in sustainable

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