Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the seventy-first session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in Bangkok today:
It is a great pleasure to convey my greetings to the seventy-first session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The contribution of ESCAP, as the largest of the United Nations regional commissions and as an intergovernmental platform for regional consensus-building, is extremely important. I commend ESCAP for its work in helping its member States to address and overcome some of the greatest challenges they face. ESCAP continues to be a valued partner in efforts to build lives of dignity for all across the region.
The entire membership of the United Nations is deeply engaged in the historic process of defining a new post-2015 development agenda, with a set of sustainable development goals at its centre. The new agenda will build on the Millennium Development Goals, maintaining its focus on eradicating poverty while going further by including critical factors, such as the complex interplay among the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
The new sustainable development agenda must be universal, applying to all countries. Sustainable development on a shared planet is the responsibility of all. Even the wealthiest countries are experiencing rising inequality and have serious deficits in the health and economic well-being of their people. The new agenda must be strongly rooted in human rights; it must safeguard peace and security and leave no one behind.
It must also be adaptable to the unique context of each country and region. Only if consumption and production patterns change can humanity create shared long-term prosperity. Addressing climate change and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. The two agendas are mutually reinforcing: progress on one benefits the other.
The new agenda calls for a strong financing framework for sustainable development and for the implementation of the post-2015 agenda that addresses systemic issues for long-term economic growth and employment.
The year 2015 can and must be a year of transformative global action. I welcome the focus of this ESCAP session on the integration and implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and I wish you great success.