Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Today we close the Tenth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD).
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all participants for your active contribution and engagement.
Your contributions have made this Forum productive and have enabled us to learn from you with a view to strengthening regional learning, guidance and policy recommendations for follow-up and review.
I am pleased to note that, in total, there were 51 side events, 16 associated events and 37 exhibitors. More than 900 people attended in person. Over 250 delegates represented 45 members, three associate members and six observers. With Youth Forum and People’s Forum that took place last week, more than 3,000 participants took part in this year’s APFSD!
I am also pleased that so many of you recommitted and reaffirmed your responsibility for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to a new level, ensuring greater inclusion, equity, resilience and sustainability in the recovery process.
This is critically important given that we have reached the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda.
As the multiple crises have added more challenges for us, setting back development progress by several years, it is becoming more urgent than ever that we must do everything to regain momentum on the progress towards the SDGs.
I was therefore pleased to hear about several high-impact initiatives being discussed, deliberated as well as transformative actions that enhance for example, the health and well-being, leave no one behind, scaling up social protection, tackling climate change, support more sustainable urban development as well as on the region’s energy transition.
These ideas are stimulating and thoughtful. However, we must also be mindful of the capacity as well as financial resource constraints that many countries in our region face. We also need to keep the many marginalized communities in mind and ensure that no one is truly not being left behind.
Strengthening development will require more support, financial and non-financial, to those countries and groups so that they are in a better position to address development challenges and advance the SDGs. Here, a collective strengthening of multilateralism and regional cooperation is very critical to ensure the recovery or the more sustainable recovery
We need to move faster and bolder than ever in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Once again, I would like to reiterate my sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you for their valuable contributions to the Forum.
I would like to extend my deep appreciation to our Chair H.E. Mr. Mohamed Aslam, Minister of National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure of Maldives and Vice-Chairs, H. E. Mr. Min Bahadur Shreshtha of Nepal, H.E. Mr. Fidélis Manuel Leite Magalhães ofTimor-Leste, H.E. Mr. Pagnathun Theng of Cambodia, H.E.Mr. Shehan Asanka Semasinghe of Sri Lanka for effectively as well as efficiently leading and presiding over the Forum to a successful conclusion.
I am grateful to the secretariat team for their hard work and professionalism in making this event a great success and meaningful for all our partners as well as participants.
In closing, I wish you all the best and a safe journey back home, especially for those of you who have come all the way to ESCAP and see you next year at the APFSD Forum.
Thank you very much!