UN meeting on AsiaPacific seeks to close huge financial gap for development

“The region needs a much needed shot in the arm to jump start its economies and fight poverty,” the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Kim Hak-Su, told the closing session of the group’s 62nd meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.“I think we can say we are 70 per cent on the way to finding solutions to close the financing gap, which is very encouraging,” he said of the Jakarta Declaration summing up the meeting’s deliberations.The ministers and senior officials from over 50 countries adopted 12 resolutions that provide the Secretariat with mandates on regional cooperation in such areas as Pacific island developing countries, trade and investment, tourism, Trans-Asian Railway network, information society in Asia and the Pacific, literacy, statistics, as well as the coordination of early warning system arrangements for tsunamis. The resolutions reflected the region’s growing concern about education, public health, rising energy prices and a deteriorating environment, as well as the determination to find new ways to finance its development agenda and increase public-private sector partnerships to achieve it.In what was a first for the Commission, six Pacific leaders exchanged views with other ESCAP members, calling for greater support to the sub-region’s development in such areas as employment, sustainable development; economic infrastructure, and trade, investment and tourism.With an Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of nearly 20 million square miles and a huge maritime area, the resource-rich Pacific island developing countries and territories, with a total population of 8 million, reached out to their Asian counterparts to create what ESCAP called “win-win” partnerships.Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, ESCAP is the largest of the UN’s five Regional Commissions in terms of population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, it aims to promote economic activity and social progress in developing countries throughout the area.

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