It is a pleasure to convey my greetings as you gather for the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum. I commend the Russian Federation and the city of Vladivostok for hosting this important meeting.
As United Nations Secretary-General, I have made it a priority to reach out to Parliamentarians around the world. You represent the peoples’ voice and hopes. You translate international agreements into domestic law and help give practical meaning to the hopes and aspirations of your citizens.
You have joined together in Vladivostok to discuss a full range of regional issues: from political and security matters to economic concerns; and from regional cooperation to trade. These subjects define the early 21st Century in the region, and they offer the promise of prosperity, cooperation and peace.
We are living in a time of great transition – socially, politically and economically. The Asia Pacific region has emerged as an engine of global growth and economic power. Healthy economic growth in the region, bolstered by peace and stability, is crucial to the world.
The region is central to advancing the United Nations across the spectrum of peace, development and human rights. In particular, I look to your ideas and commitment in five areas I have identified where needs are greatest and where collective action can make the greatest difference: sustainable development; prevention; supporting nations in transition; building a more secure world; and empowering women and young people.
The Asia Pacific region is not only vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, but also to transnational crime. Challenges such as drug trafficking and human trafficking need to be tackled with concerted national, regional and international action.
There is ample scope for parliamentary leadership aimed at enhancing peace, democracy, tolerance and understanding in the region anchored in solid frameworks.
Once again, thank you for coming together to strengthen bonds between Parliamentarians of the region and to forge shared solutions. I wish you every success in your deliberations.