Asia-Pacific ?nations, ?driving ?the global recovery, must take the lead in
ushering ?in ?shared, ?sustainable social and economic prosperity for their
people ? amid ?growing ?threats ?of ?multiple ?shocks ?that ?can ?set ?back
development gains, the United Nations said here today.

Addressing ?the ?annual regional development policymaking forum convened by
the ?United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP), ? United ? Nations ?Under-Secretary-General ?and ?ESCAP ?Executive
Secretary, ?Dr. ?Noeleen ?Heyzer ?said Asia and the Pacific cannot continue
traveling ?on the same development path and needs a transformational change
towards a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.

?This ?change ?towards inclusive and sustainable development will not prove
easy. ?Great transitions demand even greater collective leadership. That is
why ?we ?are here today, as leaders of Asia and the Pacific, to discuss, to
decide, ?and to assume a more active role in the stewardship of our region,
our people and our planet.?

Recognizing ?the ?turning ?point in the development journey, United Nations
Secretary ?General Ban Ki-moon stressed in his opening statement, delivered
by ?Deputy-Secretary-General Jan Eliasson: ?(the region) is moving together
towards ?new, ?more ?inclusive, ?and more sustainable approaches to growth,
security, justice and equality.?

The ?69th ?ESCAP ?Session ?has ?as its theme Building Resilience to Natural
Disasters ?and ?Major ?Economic ?Crises ?and ?discussions will focus on the
multiple ?challenges ?to inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth in the
region, in particular, economic shocks and increasingly severe and frequent
natural disasters.

Addressing ?the ?Session, ?the ?President ?of ?the Republic of the Union of
Myanmar, H.E. U Thein Sein underlined the need for the poorest Asia-Pacific
countries ?to ?adapt ?to ?the ?increasing ?threat ?of natural disasters and
economic ?shocks. ?Further economic shocks are possible. The only certainty
is that the (global economic) uncertainty will continue… and the poor and
most vulnerable will suffer the most,? he said.

Inaugurating ?the ?69th ?ESCAP ?Session, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand,
H.E. Plodprasop Suraswadi said his country ?strongly believes that creating
regional ?linkages ?and ?integration ?can play a critical role in promoting
sustained ?economic ?growth ?that ?will ?be a solid basis for us to enhance
resilience and preparedness against unforeseen crises.?

In ?his ?statement to the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister and Minister
of ?Defense ?and Security, Timor-Leste, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao who was
elected as Chair of the 69th Commission Session, highlighted the challenges
faced ? by ?least ?developed ?countries ?(LDCs) ?as ?well ?as ?fragile ?and
conflict-affected nations.

?It ?must ?be recognised that development cannot be achieved when countries
are ?fragile ?- we must address fragility directly,? the Timor-Leste leader
said, ?adding ?that ?development ?cannot ?be an external or top-down driven
process. ??We ?must ?make ?sure ?that ?there ?is ?local ?ownership ?of ?the
development process – we must make sure that there is not only ?development
for all?, but ?development by all?.?

More than forty senior leaders from the region including heads of State and
Government, ?Vice-Presidents, ?Deputy ?Prime ?Ministers, ?Ministers, Deputy
Ministers and former Ministers are attending the Session.

The ?opening ?ceremony ?of ?the ?69th ?ESCAP ?Session ?was ?followed ?by ?a
Ministerial ?Roundtable ?on ?Sustainable ?Development ?and ?the Development
Agenda ?beyond ?2015 ?in ?which the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, H.E.
Gordon ?Darcy ?Lilo, ?the ?Deputy ?Prime ?Minister ?and Minister of Foreign
Affairs, ?Lao ?PDR, ?H.E. ?Thongloun ?Sisoulith, ?the ?Minister of Finance,
Timor-Leste, ?H.E. ?Emelia Pires and the Minister of State for Commerce and
Industry, ?India, H.E. Daggubati Purandeswari, shared national perspectives
on ?inclusive and sustainable development as well as the global development
agenda ?beyond ?the ?2015 ?deadline ?for ?the ?Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs).

Moderating the session, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson
used his mediation background to highlight the new need for making peace
with nature: ?We have to be in tune not only with our people?s needs, but
also of our planet.?The 69th ESCAP forum concludes on 1 May with the
adoption of a number of resolutions addressing challenges and opportunities
before the region including on sustainable development and resilience,
empowering regional connectivity and growth, improving support for
countries with special needs as well as building regional capacity and
social equity.

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