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Collective Action To Tackle Asia-Pacific Problems

UN Meeting Focuses on Collective Action To Tackle Problems in Asia-Pacific Region

New York, May 16 2005 11:00AM

The Asia-Pacific region must unite through collective action to consolidate economic success and overcome the problems posed by crime and natural disasters, officials attending a United Nations meeting in Bangkok said today.

Abject poverty, wide income gaps an lack of development provide fertile ground for transnational organized crimes such as drug smuggling, and trafficking in humans and weapons, Chautron Chaisang, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister said as the Ministerial segment of the of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) got underway.

“Thailand considers the United Nations system, in particular UNESCAP in this region, the best framework for coordinating collective action,” Mr. Chaisaing said, adding that he the UN is also best placed to help tackle non-traditional threats to the “twin regional goals of sustainable economic growth and reducing socio-economic inequality.”

Setting the stage for the Minister’s debate, Kim Hak-Su, ESCAP’s Executive-Secretary said that although the tsunami and other natural disasters highlighted the extreme vulnerability of the disadvantaged communities, ESCAP economies had an “impressive performance” in 2004, with a growth rate of 7.2 percent – the highest in four years – reaffirming the resilience of the regional economy in the face of a series of ongoing and new challenges.

In his message to the meeting, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that this year the UN not only marked its 60th anniversary but also the end of the Second World War. “It is also a year in which we are thinking ahead, and engaging in a constructive debate about the future: how we defeat poverty, how to build collective system able to meet our common threats, and how to increase respect for human dignity in every land.”

The ministers are set to focus on a variety of topics under the session's theme: "Implementing the Monterrey Consensus in the Asian and Pacific Region: Achieving Coherence and Consistency." The Monterrey Consensus is the landmark agreement adopted by the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development. It calls for the resources to meet the global antipoverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the conditions that will enable freer trade, more foreign investment, debt relief and efficient government.

A high-level panel discussion on tsunami recovery and development began the day, with ministers from countries affected by the 26 December 2004 disaster, including Thailand, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, examining emerging issues and opportunities for regional cooperation in natural disaster reduction.


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