Inequality is limiting Asia-Pacific’s development, says António Guterres
The UN Secretary-General has highlighted the need for Asia-Pacific to tackle the significant levels of inequality in order to achieve all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General spoke via video message at the 74th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and commented:
“The Asia-Pacific region is an engine of global growth, trade and investment and the creation of jobs all over the world…but profound transformation is underway, driven by technological innovation and the challenge is to ensure that this transformation is for the better and takes everyone in the Asia-Pacific region with it”
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our blueprint for success and the Asia-Pacific region can lead from the front.”
There is a growing concern across the world that the divide between rich and poor is continuing to widen, hindering sustainable development. These concerns are greatest in the Asia-Pacific region were economic growth has significantly transformed the lives of some but left many behind.
Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the UN General Assembly, supported António Guterres’ and emphasised the importance of equality in achieving the SDGs.
“Not only does inequality have a whole goal dedicated to it, but it is also a driving force behind the entire 2030 Agenda” he added at the session.
The ESCAP session met under the theme of “Inequality in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. ESCAP has commented that despite significant economic progress and improvement of basic services in Asia-Pacific in recent year’s inequality remains a critical issue.
Shamshad Akhtar, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, noted:
“Collectively we have an opportunity to shape policies to reduce inequality, exploit frontier technologies and strengthen multilateralism for the benefit of all citizens across Asia and the Pacific”
ESCAP has been promoting balanced and equal growth to its members along with strengthening social protection and reducing vulnerability to climate shocks. ESCAP is the largest UN regional commission and contains almost two thirds of the global population.
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Image credit: ESCAP