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Asia-Pacific region 32 years behind schedule in achieving SDGs says top UN Diplomat

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The current pace of economic growth leaves Asia-Pacific region 32 years behind schedule in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) says a top UN Diplomat which is further exacerbated by fiscal constraints, high borrowing costs and debt burdens casting shadows with up to half of low-income countries in Asia-Pacific facing high risk of, or already caught in, debt distress.

The situation has become worse due to the COVID 19 pandemic and multiple conflicts leading to complex challenges.

“Asia-Pacific region and our world are facing complex challenges: A cost-of-living crisis — on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple conflicts; a triple planetary crisis — with 85 per cent of people in Asia-Pacific at risk of greater exposure to multi-hazard climate risks; geopolitical tensions, conflict and instability have caused displacement and untold human suffering,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum for Sustainable Development 2024, in Bangkok.

Despite the several challenges facing the region Amina was optimistic and said “Asia-Pacific region has demonstrated how a long-term vision can be transformed into reality. The region is on track to meet two key targets of SDG 1 by 2030 — ending extreme poverty and more than halving the proportion of people living below national poverty lines.”

The annual issuance of sovereign green, social, sustainable and other bonds in the region is up from $5 billion in 2015 to $206 billion in 2022. And we’ve seen the share of SDG indicators with data double in the Asia-Pacific region since 2017 — a solid investment in an essential building block for SDG progress.

“China, Japan and India were among the largest solar energy producers in 2022 and Asia is expected to lead in global electric vehicles production in the next five years,” she added.

“In early childhood education, enrollment in the region has increased to 83 per cent in 2020 in East Asia and to 62 per cent in South Asia,” she further said.

She stressed that,” No country or region can achieve the SDGs or navigate contemporary global challenges alone. International cooperation is essential but the multilateral arrangements of today are simply not up to the job.”

Calling Summit of the Future to be held in September this year an opportunity to support achievement of sustainable development, peace and human rights she further added,” To make it more inclusive, more networked and more effective in meeting the challenges of the 21st century. In the weeks and months ahead, Member States will consider wide-ranging reforms to global governance.”

 

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