Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam (second from left) attends the session. (Photo: VNA)
Guided by the theme “A common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific”, the annual session brought together leaders, senior government officials and about 700 representatives of 51 countries and territories which are ESCAP members, and President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
In his speech, Deputy PM Dam underlined the special meaning of this year’s session which marks the 75th founding anniversary of ESCAP, and upheld the Commission’s contributions to socio-economic development of the region which have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and seen the development of some of the world’s large and most dynamic economies.
At the 78th session of ESCAP (Photo: VNA)
He expressed a concern that countries, particularly developing ones, are struggling with the huge multi-faceted impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters and climate change. They are also encountering many difficulties in accessing resources for recovery, green growth, and sustainable development.
Against this backdrop, Dam suggested a common agenda for countries to promote sustainable development in the region.
Firstly, it is essential to place the people at the centre of all activities, assist countries in building a social welfare system to ensure that people have full access to basic services and employment, build capacity in healthcare preparedness and resilience, and promote gender equality.
Countries also need to strengthen regional connectivity, particularly in transport, energy, IT and communications; ensure supply chain resilience; promote digital economy; and narrow the digital gap.
Furthermore, it is crucial to promote innovation and mobilise resources to realise initiatives, transition to a low-carbon growth model, develop green and circular economy, and respond to climate change, through promoting partnerships, advancing multilateral initiatives and close cooperation with international and regional organisations, including ASEAN.
He highlighted that Vietnam’s efforts to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals have also yielded positive outcomes.
According to the 2021 Sustainable Development Report, Vietnam is ranked 51st out of the 165 countries, jumping 30 places compared to 5 years ago. The country has managed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, and transitioned to safe and flexible adaptation.
Dam took the occasion to thank the international community, including the UN and ESCAP in particular, for the invaluable support to Vietnam.
“We hope to continue receiving this cooperation and assistance for socio-economic recovery to realise our aspiration for national development, and meet the SDGs and Vietnam’s commitments at the COP26, including the target of net zero emissions by 2050,” he stated.
Vietnam will continue to actively, responsibly and effectively contribute to ESCAP’s efforts and the UN as a whole, for peace, stability, sustainable and inclusive development, in order to leave no one behind across the Asia-Pacific and the world.
During the session, the Vietnamese Deputy PM met UN Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.
He affirmed support for the Bangkok announcement adopted at this year’s session, including the introduction of a common agenda with specific courses of action to promote sustainable development in the region.
Dam asked ESCAP to help developing countries, including Vietnam, in speeding up the realisation of SDGs.
For her part, Armida spoke highly of Vietnam’s role in and contributions to ESCAP, affirming that the Commission stands ready to support the country in realising SDGs, especially via training and data empowerment.
Established 1947, ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The commission promotes cooperation among its 53 member states and nine associate members in pursuit of solutions to sustainable development challenges.
The annual session will be an opportunity to review achievements of the Asia-Pacific region in socio-economic development and discuss future cooperation and linkage to deal with challenges.