Asia and the Pacific, a region with an impressive development track record, will need to step up its overall development reform effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a new report launched by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), in New York Monday.
The Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Baseline report is the first regional measurement methodology of its kind. The report establishes a baseline for the SDGs through an innovative method that assesses regional progress since 2000, to illustrate which development gaps still need to be addressed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The report also identifies areas where there is insufficient data available to measure progress.
“While the region is making progress towards achieving the SDGs on poverty, education, economic growth, industry and infrastructure, and life below water, we are seeing slow progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security, delivering agricultural sustainability, ensuring good health and well-being for all, and achieving gender equality,” said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
The report launched by ESCAP at a side event co-hosted by Pakistan and Fiji, also shows that the region is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to the SDGs on reducing inequalities, creating sustainable cities and communities, and ensuring responsible consumption and production, a trend which must be reversed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
H.E. Mr. Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN welcomed the strong commitment shown by ESCAP to SDG 14 – Life under Water. This is an area where ESCAP analysis has found data is currently insufficient to effectively monitor progress on a regional basis, a gap the region needs to close to keep actions on target and strengthen the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
H.E Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN thanked ESCAP for its leadership in agreeing an intergovernmental road map to implement the 2030 Agenda, highlighting that progress towards implementation will be reviewed annually to ensure priorities for cooperation can be adjusted, and that ESCAP’s work to improve the quality and availability of data and statistics should help inform process.
The side-event also featured a panel discussion with member State representatives and civil society on opportunities for regional cooperation within the framework of the recently-adopted regional road map, in line with this year’s HLPF theme on ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.’