The 69th Commission Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) met under the theme, “Building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises,” and concluded with the adoption of 17 resolutions aiming to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for regional well-being.
2 May 2013: The 69th Commission Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) met under the theme, ‘Building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises,’ and concluded with the adoption of 17 resolutions aiming to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for regional well-being.
This year’s meeting, held on 25 April-1 May 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand, focused on the growing threat from increasingly severe natural disasters and economic shocks, which have exacerbated already high levels of economic, social and environmental fragility in the region. Key messages emanating from the Session emphasized: disaster risk management and better preparedness as key development priorities; empowering people at every level to be partners in change; mobilizing political, technical and financial resources before shocks hit; and that early warning and actions save lives and livelihoods.
During the meeting, the first-ever dialogue among the executive secretaries of the five UN regional commissions explored the role that the regional commissions can play in harnessing cooperation among developing countries in support of inclusive and sustainable development, through South-South cooperation and other means.
A Ministerial Roundtable on “Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises” featured experts on natural disaster and economic crisis management, and emphasized: government investment in prevention and preparedness; balance between short-term macroeconomic stability and long-term development; the role of regional cooperation in building resilience; and the role of government and international financial institutions during economic and financial shocks.
Least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) convened in a meeting jointly organized by ESCAP and the UN Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (OHRLLS), urging that their priorities be placed at the center of the post-2015 development agenda.
The meeting adopted a Bangkok Declaration that was submitted to and endorsed by the ESCAP Commission. The Declaration, inter alia, expresses concerns over declining official development assistance (ODA) and calls for additional financial and technical assistance to overcome development challenges, including the fact that food, fuel and financial crises and recurring natural disasters have set back development gains. [ESCAP Press Release] [Press Release on Ministerial Roundtable] [OHRLLS Press Release]