Policymakers from 50 Asian and Pacific countries called for a “whole-of-society” response to COVID-19 and encouraged coordinated action across the region to mitigate the economic and social devastation brought on by the pandemic.
Endorsing a resolution on the final day of its annual session, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) also reaffirmed its commitment to multilateralism in response to global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delegates further underlined the importance of ensuring universal and equitable access to vaccines, investing in social protection systems that promote access to essential services and decent jobs, particularly to meet the health and social care needs of the most vulnerable populations, and promoting the continued flow of essential goods and services.
“We are committed to supporting governments to building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic through inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery strategies,” Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said in her closing remarks to the Commission’s 77th session. “It is my utmost hope that the resolution on regional cooperation to build back better from crises in Asia and the Pacific will further mainstream our response to COVID-19.”
Noting that ESCAP will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2022, Ms. Alisjahbana remarked that “regional cooperation is as needed today as it was 75 years ago.” She noted that as the Commission approaches this landmark milestone it is poised to take concrete actions on shaping the future of regional cooperation to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and deliver on the common agenda set out by member States.