23 March 2021

UN entities set in motion a new regional collaborative platform to support countries in Asia and the Pacific in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Bangkok, Thailand, 23 March 2021 – Regional United Nations entities in Asia and the Pacific are scaling up efforts and coordination to support countries in their COVID-19 response and accelerate sustainable development in the region.

At the first meeting of the new Regional Collaborative Platform for Asia and the Pacific held on 23 March – a new mechanism that brings together UN development entities in the region – United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed underscored the importance of regional efforts to respond to COVID-19 and other complex challenges that know no borders. She welcomed the steps taken by the UN system at the regional level to strengthen its support to countries.

"The United Nations continues to make progress on its sweeping reforms to strengthen our work on all fronts – country, regional and global," said  Ms. Mohammed. "This platform sets the foundations for a much stronger contribution by regional UN entities to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific."

The COVID-19 pandemic has erased years of social-economic progress in Asia and the Pacific. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) estimates that 89 million more people in the region have been pushed back into extreme poverty at the $1.90 per day threshold, erasing years of development gains. The economic and educational shutdowns are likely to have severely harmed human capital formation and productivity, exacerbating poverty and inequality.

Under unprecedented circumstances, the United Nations has been making progress on its sweeping reforms to boost support to countries, leveraging its capacities at all levels.

"As a region we have a long way to go to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with only 10 per cent of the targets on track," said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the RCP in the region.  "One trend stands out, and that is the need for acceleration of work on building resilience and tackling the climate crisis. COVID-19 has put tremendous strain on the UN family. But it has also brought out the very best in terms of collaboration and mutual support in our Regional UN team," she added.

"The advancement of the UN reform agenda reinforces once again that we are stronger together. The establishment of the regional collaborative platform in Asia and the Pacific during a pandemic year, proves that we are on the right direction towards creating a more coherent and strengthened UN system. We are now better positioned to instantly respond to emerging needs and take action in fighting regional disparities. The new structure brings us closer at the regional level and also closer to the UN Country Teams and people that we serve," said Assistant Secretary-General Kanni Wignaraja, Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the platform.

The meeting of the new regional Collaborative Platform meeting took place on the first day of the 8th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) held online from 23 to 26 March. This new mechanism was established in October 2020 after the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations to harness UN regional assets in July 2020.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Katie Elles, External Relations Officer
Communications and Knowledge Management Section, ESCAP

Screenshot showing meeting participants with United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
Caption: Meeting participants with United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
Photo: Regional Development Coordination Office in Bangkok