Bangkok (UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section) ?
Asia-Pacific countries unanimously adopted a landmark declaration at a
United Nations forum of ministers, outlining the road map towards a
regional economic community.
Top government leaders, ministers and senior officials from 36 countries
adopted the ?Bangkok Declaration on Regional Economic Cooperation and
Integration in Asia and the Pacific,? at the Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on 20 December, resolving to work closer
together to build an integrated market, seamless transport and energy
connectivity, financial cooperation, and enhance resilience to address
vulnerabilities and risks of natural disasters.
?This is an historic and defining moment in the history of ESCAP, as we
take new steps with our member states to deepen and broaden the process of
regional economic cooperation and integration, and as we work even more
closely together to ensure that this will truly be the Asia-Pacific
century,? United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive
Secretary Dr. Noeleen Heyzer told the conference. ?This declaration holds
the promise of region-wide cooperation and policy-making in finance,
connectivity, and addressing shared vulnerabilities.”
In his address to the opening ceremony, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusm?o, Prime
Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste stressed the need for
regional cooperation to reduce growing inequalities and disparities across
Asia and the Pacific: ?While some countries are becoming increasingly
prosperous, others remain stagnant or face great challenges ?we must work
towards forms of regional economic cooperation and integration which most
effectively spread prosperity and development among all countries.?
The Premier of Niue, H.E. Toke Tufukia Talagi, reminded the conference of
the threat to the very survival of the Pacific island countries posed by
the impact of climate change and highlighted the need to strengthen
relationships between the Pacific and Asia.
?Growing together means picking up those who are weak as well,? H.E.
Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, Finance Minister of Samoa, and Chair of the
Ministerial Conference said.
The four-pillared agenda of regional cooperation and integration outlined
in the Bangkok Declaration was prepared following a mandate from
Asia-Pacific countries attending the annual ESCAP Commission Session in May
2012 which had as its theme: ?Growing Together: Economic Integration for an
Inclusive and Sustainable Asia-Pacific Century?.