REGIONAL ROAD MAP - ESCAP

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REGIONALROAD MAPFOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDAFOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTIN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

REGIONALROAD MAPFOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDAFOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTIN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

At the global level in 2015 countries set in motion the most far reaching and ambitiousdevelopment agenda of our time, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. InAsia and the Pacific, countries have already begun translating this ambitious agendainto action and many have already set up the national architecture for coordinatingand promoting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).However, the policy transformations required to put countries on track to achievethe SDGs have yet to take shape across this or any other region. Business as usualpolicies and investments are locking countries into unsustainable pathways that willcreate a gap between ambition and action.To help address this gap, cooperation and action is needed at the national, regionaland international levels. Regional cooperation can support and complement theeffectiveness of national mechanisms upon which the ultimate success of the global2030 Agenda rests. Transboundary challenges such as climate change and naturaldisasters, energy security, ecosystem degradation, and contamination of oceans,seas and marine resources require regional actions. Transboundary infrastructurenetworks can help reduce vulnerability, and cooperation can help develop energysolutions and ensure environmental protection of cross-border resources andecosystems. Regional economic cooperation and integration will facilitate bettertransport, energy and ICT connectivity which in turn will increase access to servicessuch as education, health, and housing as well as electricity and markets formarginalized populations.Recognizing these opportunities, the countries of Asia and the Pacific have developeda regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentto facilitate cooperation at the regional level supported by the ESCAP Secretariatand other United Nations entities. The road map was agreed on during the 4th AsiaPacific Forum on Sustainable Development and subsequently endorsed by theESCAP Member States via Resolution 73/9 which was adopted during ESCAP’s 73thCommission Session. The road map identifies priority areas of regional cooperationfor implementation of the 2030 Agenda. These priority areas underline the majorchallenges still faced in our region, including leaving no one behind; disaster riskreduction and resilience; climate change; management of natural resources;connectivity; and, energy. Priority actions under the means of implementation forthe 2030 Agenda are also identified in the road map, including data and statistics,technology, finance, policy coherence and partnerships.ESCAP Member States and the Secretariat considered a number of overarchingissues regarding sustainable development in the region and the achievement of the2030 Agenda as a part of the road map drafting process.3

REGIONAL ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA AND THE PACIFICThe work of ESCAP and Member States recognized that despite achievements onreducing poverty levels with action for MDGs, poverty is still persistent in the regionand limits the opportunities for well-being for a large number of people. According tothe latest data, some 400 million people, or 10.3 per cent of the region’s population,were living in extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific during the period 2010-2013.The highest income poverty rates are found among countries with special needsand lower-middle-income countries.In addition to challenges posted by poverty, inequality is also rising in the region andthreatens to disrupt efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. ESCAP research indicatesthat income inequality as well as inequality for opportunities is either on the rise orstill very high without signs of improvement in most of the countries in the region.The road map responds by placing the elimination of inequality at the center of theregion’s development path.Quality of governance and the effectiveness of public institutions are also crucialfor the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and therefore recognizedin the road map. Effective governance, and especially in its normative dimension,is a basis for reinstituting the state and the society towards achieving sustainabledevelopment. It is a principle means to enable voices of people and participationin an effective, transparent and results oriented decision-making process. Effectivegovernance allows people to be the driving force for sustainable development.As recent ESCAP research shows, governance also affects the capacity of aneconomy to gain access and manage better human and natural resources, improveinvestment prospects and sustain innovation. Additionally, effective governance ispivotal for efforts to close development gaps across countries by supporting reformsthat enable countries with special needs to benefit more from regional economicintegration initiatives.All these aspects of governance are fundamental for improving the performanceand effectiveness of national and regional development systems and therefore tocontribute to the achievement of SDGs.Acknowledging that promoting sustainable development in Asia Pacific is themost pervasive and lasting solution for meeting today’s challenges and deliveringdurable peace and stability in our region, this road map recognizes that sustainabledevelopment must be underpinned by peaceful and inclusive societies, and alsoplaces gender equality and women’s economic empowerment as a central issue inthe regional policy agenda.4

The Secretariat will follow up and support member states on implementing this roadmap as requested. It will continue to provide annual updates and recommendationsto Member States, including through the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable, with itsreports on implementing the 2030 Agenda in the region including, but not limitedto, thematic and statistical reports as well as reports on inequality and socialdevelopment. It will also strengthen support to Member States in their efforts toimplement the 2030 Agenda in an integrated approach, inter alia, with analyticalproducts, technical services and capacity-building initiatives through knowledgesharing products and platforms. The Secretariat is establishing an SDG Helpdeskand a Rapid Response Facility that will make available implementation models tosupport key aspects of SDG implementation that span across the different thematicareas that have been identified in the regional road map.The Secretariat will give particular attention to effectively using the means ofimplementation for the 2030 Agenda, while it has already realigned its programmeof work and strategic framework to make this happen. Effective use of financing fordevelopment, trade, science, technology and innovation (STI) and data and statisticswill define the success of SDGs implementation. On financing for developmentthere is an opportunity to translate the concrete policies and actions as outlinedin the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing forDevelopment to implement the SDGs. Trade has considerable potential to boostimplementation of SDGs, but there are still challenges to fully harness this potential;the road map identifies specific areas of work that can tackle obstacles and createopportunities. In the context of STI, the success of implementing the 2030 Agendawill be depend inter alia on Member States’ ability to collaborate and create openand inclusive knowledge economies. With regard to data and statistics, withoutcredible figures and indicators it will be impossible to review progress on SDGimplementation and, consequently, improve performance. With eighty-eight of theglobal SDG indicators lacking methodological guidelines or standards, action onstrengthening the statistical capacities of member states are urgently needed.ESCAP’s long-standing programmes in each of these areas are being strengthenedto ensure that member States are well-supported as they go forward, and that theactions across means of implementation are mutually supportive.With this regional road map, ESCAP member States have set the course fortransforming the region and delivering inclusive and sustainable development in Asiaand the Pacific. Their success will define the global success of the 2030 Agenda.5

REGIONAL ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA AND THE PACIFICTHE ROAD MAP1A.OBJECTIVES AND GUIDELINES1.Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals requires national,regional and international cooperative endeavours. The aim of this regional roadmap is to facilitate cooperation at the regional level, supported by the secretariatand other United Nations entities through the Asia-Pacific Regional CoordinationMechanism as appropriate.2.The road map places particular emphasis on supporting the implementationof the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by developing countries, inparticular by least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, smallisland developing States, countries in conflict situations and post-conflict countriesand other countries with special needs.3.The road map maintains the universality and transformative nature ofthe 2030 Agenda and takes into account different national and regional realities,capacities and levels of development, while respecting member States’ nationaldevelopment strategies, policy space and priorities, remaining consistent withrelevant international rules and commitments and creating no new commitmentsor additional reporting requirements or obligations for Governments or newmechanisms, as requested by member States at the Third Asia-Pacific Forum onSustainable Development.4.In line with the 2030 Agenda, the objective of the road map is to promote thebalanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughregional cooperation in a set of priority areas that support effective pursuit ofsustainable development by member States.5.The road map also aims to place gender equality and women’s empowermentas a central issue of the regional policy agenda, in order to enhance women’sleadership and decision-making in all aspects of society.1 As it was adopted in the 4th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and endorsed via ESCAP resolution 73/96

6.The road map also recognizes that sustainable development must beunderpinned by peaceful and inclusive societies, addressing inequality, and by goodgovernance. The quality of governance and effectiveness of public institutions arecritical factors to the process of sustainable development.7.The expected impacts of the road map are as follows: (a) strengthenedregional cooperation on priority issues as identified by member States; (b) continuedand more efficient and coordinated support for member States provided by thesecretariat, United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies andregional organizations through the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism;and (c) more effective knowledge-sharing among countries.8.This road map stems from decisions of the Second and Third Asia-PacificForums on Sustainable Development. It is for members and associate membersof the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) andidentifies opportunities to cooperate at the regional level, guided by all the principlesreaffirmed and agreed to in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in theimplementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, as provided for by theGeneral Assembly in its resolution 70/1 – in which it acknowledges the importanceof the regional and subregional dimensions, regional economic integration andinterconnectivity in sustainable development – and the Addis Ababa Action Agendaof the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.9.The regional road map contains priority areas of cooperation that could besupported using the secretariat’s existing expertise and resources, drawing on inputfrom member States and the programme of work and strategic framework. Theregional road map also draws on the thematic working groups of the Asia-PacificRegional Coordination Mechanism and, at the national level, on input from the UnitedNations Development Group. The ESCAP conference structure and its ongoingactivities, as well as activities of the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanismmember organizations, will be fully utilized in an effort to avoid duplication of workand increase efficiency.7

REGIONAL ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA AND THE PACIFICB.PRIORITY AREAS OF COOPERATION10.Regional and subregional cooperation in specific areas can supportand complement the effectiveness of national mechanisms. The means ofimplementation – namely finance, technology, capacity-building, trade andsystemic issues – are key to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SustainableDevelopment. Regional discussion and cooperation, including through regionaland subregional organizations,2 can facilitate access to normative work; supportcapacity-building, technical cooperation and sharing of good practices and homegrown approaches, including among countries that share similar characteristics(such as least developed countries, small island developing States or middle-incomecountries); and facilitate member States’ access to the means of implementationand efforts towards consolidating regional and global partnerships for sustainabledevelopment. Similarly, the externalities and spillover effects of many of theSustainable Development Goals provide opportunities for regional approaches andengagement. The thematic areas of cooperation in this road map have been chosenfor their multisectoral impact on sustainable development.11.The opportunities for regional cooperation, including by leveraging regionaland subregional organizations, draw upon the issues highlighted by member Stateswithin the conference structure of the Commission.12.Member States have identified the following priority areas of cooperation,with particular emphasis on the practical means of implementation to achieve theSustainable Development Goals.1.Means of implementation and partnership(a)Data and statisticsCurrent status13.Availability and access to high-quality data and statistics are essential tomeasuring and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, regionaldata are available for only approximately half of the defined indicators of the global2 Including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, theEconomic Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Pacificsubregional organizations.8

monitoring framework. The multidimensional nature of the 2030 Agenda forSustainable Development requires integrated and disaggregated statistics thatcan support planning and analysis across the economic, social and environmentaldevelopment pillars with a particular focus on the needs of the poorest and mostvulnerable people. Data and statistics should also be able to ensure that no oneis left behind, and disaggregated data should be made more available as requiredby the Sustainable Development Goal indicators. In order to meet such demands,national statistical capacities to provide high-quality, accessible, timely and reliabledisaggregated data to users must be strengthened, and the capacity of Governmentsto utilize data and statistics for evidence-based policymaking and for follow-up andreview must be enhanced, inter alia. National statistical systems therefore need to bestrengthened to supply the statistical evidence necessary for monitoring of progress,integrated policy analysis and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.Opportunities for regional cooperation14.Opportunities for regional cooperation are to:(a) Promote the need for national statistical systems to be responsive tothe requirements of users arising from the 2030 Agenda, and the need toencourage investments in national statistical systems that are adequateto meet statistical requirements and to support implementation of theSustainable Development Goals as appropriate;(b) Formulate and implement continuous, comprehensive and system-widestrategies for the development of statistics, including statistics for the 2030 Agenda;(c) Provide and promote capacity-building support to national statisticalsystems to increase the availability of high-quality, accessible, timely, reliableand disaggregated data, including to develop integrated measurementframeworks for Sustainable Development Goal statistics that integratedata from multiple sources, including big data, in a coherent and consistentmanner to support integrated analysis of sustainable development issues;(d) Organize national statistical system business processes and modernizetools for strengthened quality, efficiency and effectiveness of statisticalinformation management and exchange;(e) Build the skills of the staff and management of national statisticalsystems, including of relevant data producers, to enhance the humanresources capacity for generating the statistical products and servicesrequired for monitoring of national development plans and the 2030 Agenda.9

REGIONAL ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC(b)TechnologyCurrent status15.Science, technology and innovation can play a vital role in supportingsustainable development and driving growth and productivity. The Asia-Pacific regionis characterized by large disparities across countries: while many countries rank inthe bottom quartile of the Global Innovation Index, a number of member States areleaders in science, technology and innovation, accounting for almost 45 per centof global research and development expenditure. The challenge is to bridge thesegaps and address the digital divide, to enable member States, particularly countrieswith special needs, to take advantage of technologies and to nurture an innovativeenvironment. Given the guidance offered by the Committee on Information andCommunications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and the workunder way on related ESCAP platforms, the use of policy on science, technology andinnovation for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals can bepromoted as follows.Opportunities for regional cooperation16.Opportunities for regional cooperation are to:(a) Facilitate the sharing of best practices and capacity-building acrossmember countries through the development of social enterprise, impactinvestment markets and information and communications technology insupport of implementation of the Goals;(b) Link regional needs and experience of international, regional andsubregional organizations by acting as a bridge to facilitate cooperation foraccess to technology and know-how and joint action when necessary;(c) Promote public, public-private and civil society partnerships, asappropriate, in order to harness science, technology and innovation forinclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.(c)FinanceCurrent status17.Effective pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals requires stableforward-looking and long-term financing. However, the available financial resourcesare either not appropriately channelled or not sufficient to meet the ambitions of the10

2030 Agenda. In 2014, Asia-Pacific developing countries mobilized 17.6 per cent oftheir gross domestic product in tax revenues, which is only half the average acrossthe Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. Since theselevels of public finances are insufficient to effectively pursue the Goals, it is thereforeimportant to enhance the tax ratio while recognizing the role of cooperation among

regional and international cooperative endeavours. The aim of this regional road map is to facilitate cooperation at the regional level, supported by the secretariat and other United Nations entities through the Asia-Pacic Regional Coordination Mechanism as appropriate. 2. The road map places particular emphasis on supporting the implementation