Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), at its seventy-second session, in Bangkok today:
I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this seventy-second session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. ESCAP is a key partner in our shared journey to a more sustainable future. Thank you all for your engagement and support.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change, taken together, have the power to eradicate poverty, build resilient societies, address environmental changes and put the world on the path to a sustainable future. We have the collective responsibility to actualize this potential. Your commitment will be crucial in ensuring that the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals truly leave no one behind.
I have seen the impressive work of ESCAP, supporting Governments through strategic policy advice and innovative capacity-building in a region in which more than 277 million people still lack clean water, more than 21 million children are not enrolled in school, and only one third of the population has Internet access. The regional response to the 2030 Agenda must match the scope of the challenge. This requires tapping into the potential of all actors to achieve the large-scale transformation we need. Now is the time for smart investments in people and the planet, where they are needed, when they are needed, and at the scale they are needed.
I welcome your focus on how innovation and technology can advance sustainable development. To reap the full benefits, we must empower people, especially youth, through education and training. We must close the digital divide. And we must create an environment where human rights flourish and civil society has the space it needs to operate freely. This will unleash progress across the international agenda.
I count on your strong leadership and wish you great success as we work to transform our global vision into better lives and greater opportunities for people throughout Asia and the Pacific.