21 May 2020
The 76th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Governments of the region met at the 76th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on 21 May 2020. For the first time in its history, this annual United Nations regional assembly was held on a fully virtual platform. Over 250 delegates representing 54 of the Commission¡¯s 62 member States and associate members along with additional observer countries agreed to pursue coordinated and decisive actions, as well as reinforce regional and global cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Endorsing a resolution at the 76th Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (CS76), governments declared profound solidarity and vouched to provide unimpeded support and technical assistance to those most affected, particularly in developing countries with weaker health systems and vulnerable populations.
¡°Governments and leaders are grappling with a wide range of challenges that risk recent progress in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Many countries are charting a solid course toward COVID-19 solutions, but millions in the region remain highly vulnerable and at risk. We have an opportunity to build back better on the foundations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,¡± said United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ant¨®nio Guterres in a video message opening the meeting.
¡°When addressing this health crisis, countries face an unprecedented dilemma: the need to balance measures to contain the pandemic against those for socio-economic recovery. In order to support countries in building back better, refocusing our work is necessary,¡± underscored United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Ms. Armida Alisjahbana. She further highlighted three priority areas ¨C supporting economic recovery, protecting people and enhancing resilience, and restoring supply chains and supporting small and medium enterprises, while urging countries to align policies with environmental protection and climate action.
Deliberations this year focused on the theme ¡®Promoting economic, social and environmental cooperation on oceans for sustainable development.¡¯ Towards this end, countries also endorsed a resolution to conserve and sustainably use oceans and marine resources in the region.
As part of its agenda item on management issues, the Commission also reviewed and endorsed the Report of the Governing Council of the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) on its fifteenth session, as well as the Report on the evaluation of the Centre. As a Regional Institution of ESCAP, CSAM carries forward its initiatives on sustainable agricultural mechanization development and will continue to support progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.