ADB, ESCAP discuss stepping up cooperation to help Asia-Pacific in addressing COVID-19 crisis

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana today discussed enhancing cooperation to help the region as it addresses the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“ESCAP played a key role in the establishment of ADB and our two organizations have a long history of close partnership,” said Mr. Asakawa.

“Our continued cooperation is now more important than ever. We must seek further synergies by combining our knowledge, networks, and finance to help developing Asia address health, social, and economic crises caused by COVID-19.”

“Supporting our member countries build back better after COVID-19 lies at the heart of both our agendas,” said Ms. Alisjahbana. “I am looking forward to deepening our cooperation to get our region’s economies and societies back on their feet in a way that protects our region’s precious environmental resources – very much including our oceans.”

ADB and ESCAP launched with the United Nations Development Programme a joint report on Fast-tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Asia-Pacific, at the 7th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in May. The forum concluded that the future of the region will be dictated by how countries respond to the pandemic and how well these responses are aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The two organizations also organize the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum and collaborate across many other areas, such as the Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and on the Asia Pacific Climate Week. ADB is looking to expand cooperation with ESCAP on areas including gender inequality, climate change, ocean pollution, and boosting quality infrastructure.

ESCAP recently announced a framework of support to member States as they respond to the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The framework centers on three streams of work: (i) supporting sustainable and inclusive economic recovery through fiscal and monetary stimuli in line with the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement; (ii) protecting and investing in people and enhancing resilience of societies and communities, especially women and vulnerable groups of population; and (iii) restoring and building resilience in supply chains through regional and subegional coordination on trade, investment, transport and digital  connectivity and supporting small and medium enterprises. The framework also encourages countries to seize the opportunity to protect the environment by reducing pollution, supporting decarbonization and energy efficiency, and combating climate change.

ESCAP serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members, ESCAP offers countries sound analytical products, policy advisory services, capacity building and technical assistance to support countries’ sustainable and inclusive development ambitions.

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