Asia-Pacific countries promote regional economic cooperation and disaster-related statistics

Asia-Pacific countries embarked on an ambitious agenda to promote economic cooperation and integration throughout the region at the annual United Nations commission session held last week in Bangkok.

Senior officials met at the 70th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), where they agreed that a basic range of disaster-related statistics should be developed to help countries improve and standardize data collection as part of their strategies for dealing with natural disasters.

The Commission also endorsed the Bangkok Declaration adopted last December at the "Ministerial Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration for Asia and the Pacific." The Declaration called for countries to work closer together to build an integrated market, seamless transport and energy connectivity, increase financial cooperation at the regional level and enhance resilience to address vulnerabilities and risks of natural disasters and economic shocks.

“We adopted two very important resolutions today that will strengthen regional economic integration and build resilience to natural disasters, through better statistics and information systems,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized at the session.

“Working closely with member States will enable us to build consensus to yield an even stronger Asia-Pacific voice in global debates, as well as the adoption of regional norms, standards and agreements to accelerate the achievement of the internationally-agreed development goals,” said Dr. Akhtar.

Friday’s meeting also took up the Commission's administrative and management issues. Notably, delegates decided on a theme topic for the 71st session to be held next year – "Balancing the three dimensions of sustainable development: From integration to implementation."

This year’s Commission session will meet in two phases: the one-day segment held on 23 May, and a week-long session to be held from 4 to 8 August.

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