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Move towards digital economy to bring new trade opportunities for Asia-Pacific

Recent developments in paperless trade and innovative applications of ICT could encourage more sustainable growth, a high-level dialogue on the digital economy concluded at ESCAP on 29 August. The event was held back to back with a signing ceremony of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a new UN treaty aimed at strengthening digital trade in the region. The treaty was signed by Bangladesh, China and Cambodia and is open for signature until 30 September.

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Highlights

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Regional approach to strengthen data disaggregation for SDG monitoring

Experts and statisticians gathered in Bangkok from 28 to 31 August to develop a regional approach for countries and development partners to deliver relevant, reliable and timely data for SDG monitoring. The first meeting of the ‘Regional Steering Group on Population and Social Statistics’ and the ‘Expert Meeting on Data that Leaves No One Behind’ were organized by ESCAP in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

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Executive Secretary highlights importance of regional cooperation at Pakistan 70th Anniversary celebrations

At the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence on 17 August, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized the need to build and foster regional cooperation with other countries. “Sustainable development pathways, supportive legal, regulatory and policy frameworks, strengthened public finance, deeper capital markets and a favourable business environment are all prerequisites for maximizing the benefits of regional economic cooperation and integration,” said Dr. Akhtar, underlining ESCAP’s commitment to continue working with Pakistan and other member States to realise the vision of a more interconnected region.

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Call for Entries: UN Day Photo Competition

Calling all budding and professional photographers! The United Nations in Asia and the Pacific is celebrating UN Day this year with a photo contest themed ‘Building a Stronger, Safer and More Inclusive Asia-Pacific’. Submissions must be based on the challenges faced by communities in the region, or the approaches they are taking to achieve SDGs on clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and life on land. Winners will be exhibited at the Asia-Pacific UN Day commemoration in Bangkok on 31 October. The contest runs from 12 September to 12 October.

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ASEAN-India partnership beneficial for Asia-Pacific region

“Unlocking the full potential of the ASEAN-India partnership by harnessing domestic reforms and regional cooperation is win-win for all,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar while presenting trade and investment prospects for ASEAN and India at the ASEAN-India forum on 3 August. Dr. Akhtar’s intervention focused on the potential for the partnership to harness integration in the region and its impact on fostering domestic transformations of other participating economies.

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Strengthening technical cooperation between ESCAP and Myanmar

During an official visit to Myanmar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar met with State Counsellor of Myanmar Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to deepen the country’s collaboration with ESCAP. The discussions focused on the need to strengthen ESCAP’s technical cooperation and capacity building to Myanmar to advance the 2030 Agenda, and support enhancement of regional cooperation and integration through transport connectivity, and trade and investment facilitation.

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This month: Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on Ageing

The Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on the Third Review and Appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing will be held from 12 to 14 September 2017 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok. The meeting will review the progress on the Madrid plan of action in the Asia-Pacific region, 15 years after its implementation, and outline the achievements and remaining challenges. Inputs from the meeting will also contribute to the global review of the Madrid plan, to be conducted in early 2018.

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Around the Region

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New trust fund promotes regional cooperation between East Asia and Latin America

ESCAP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) have established a new multi-donor trust fund to support regional cooperation between East Asia and Latin America. Endorsed by 36 countries at the 8th Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) Foreign Minister’s meeting in Busan on 31 August, the fund will create new opportunities, especially to support enhancement and diversification of trade by promoting innovation and tackling tariff and non-tariff barriers, along with advancing public policies for sustainable growth and development.

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Northeast Asian countries enhance multilateral energy cooperation

Northeast Asian countries have set up a regional power interconnection mechanism for multilateral energy cooperation in the subregion. Established at the Joint Conference on Northeast Asia Regional Power Interconnection in Irkutsk, Siberia on 30 August, the framework will lead to a reduction in the cost of electricity, and improve the reliability of power supply to consumers. The two-day conference was organized by ESCAP, the Energy Systems Institute (ESI), China Electricity Council (CEC) and Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), with the support of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation.

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MEMBER STATES VOICES: Coming up at ESCAP

The 2030 Agenda identifies Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and resilience as a key priority area to foster regional cooperation and Sustainable Development. In October, ESCAP will host the Disaster Resilience Week and the Committee on DRR - the first to be held since the adoption of the three global development frameworks and regional roadmap. The events will serve as a platform for member States and experts to discuss and learn how to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework and relevant SDG targets.

DISASTER RESILIENCE WEEK 9 October – 12 October United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

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Ms. Adoracion M. Navarro, Undersecretary, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines

“I hope the discussions can open collaboration and partnerships among countries within the Asia-Pacific region on knowledge-sharing, innovation adoption, and capacity building support, and that big data management can be committed as a collaborative effort. I would also like to see more sharing of lessons learned from different country-level governance structures, particularly on how the design of the governance structures can reduce bureaucratic red tape when dealing with disasters.”

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Ms. Fathimath Thasneem, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Defense, National Security and Disaster Management, Maldives

"The Maldives Disaster Management Plan is developed taking into account the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals. I look forward to the upcoming ESCAP Committee Session to learn from region’s best practices, especially from Pacific SIDS the challenges of implementing a coherent strategy for disaster risk reduction across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

Coming up at ESCAP

Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2017
5-8 September 2017
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
UNNExT Advisory Committee Meeting
6 September 2017
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Regional Consultation on Single Window Interoperability
7 September 2017
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
ASEAN Economic Integration Forum 2017
14-15 September 2017
Bangkok, Thailand
Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs
19-20 September 2017
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Expert Group Meeting on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific
20-22 September 2017
Incheon, Republic of Korea
Sustainable Agro-Food Business Forum
26-27 September 2017
Bangkok, Thailand
North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum 2017
28-29 September 2017
Moscow, Russian Federation