Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the seventy-fifth session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in Bangkok today:
I am pleased to send you my warmest greetings.
Asia-Pacific continues to be a leader on economic growth, poverty reduction and increased access to public services.
In recent decades, the quality of life has improved for most people in the region. But, growing inequalities present a threat to further advances.
The challenge is to ensure that socioeconomic progress reaches those left behind.
I welcome your session’s focus on inclusion, equality and empowerment, which are critical for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We must also do far more to combat climate change in the region.
I visited the South Pacific this month and saw the brutal impacts of the global climate emergency.
This is a battle we can and must win. We need to start taxing pollution, not people. And we need to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and stop building new coal plants by 2020.
The Climate Action Summit I am convening in September is an opportunity to mobilize solutions, ambition and finance. I will count on your engagement and support.
Please accept my best wishes for a fruitful session in Bangkok. Thank you.