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Agenda 2030 vital to Asia-Pacific's future

China Daily, September 29, 2015 Adjust font size:

Second, good governance and inclusion has to be embedded in policy execution and implementation. The capacities of governments to engage multiple interest groups with widely varying perspectives, to effectively regulate excesses, monitor policy impacts and adjust policy responses are now critical. Governments must also become more adept at dealing with the unexpected and unpredictable events-and enabling all groups in society to respond positively to environmental, economic or social shocks.

Third, innovations, new technologies and associated know-how must drive sustainable development across the region, yet innovation gaps in Asia and the Pacific remain very large. Only five Asia-Pacific countries are featured in the top 20 of the 2014 Global Innovation Index. Effective alignment and reinforcement of science, technology and innovation, through the right policies and regulatory frameworks as well as partnerships to facilitate technology transfer, will be mission-critical for successful sustainability.

Fourth, we need to pair innovation with resources, enabling countries to find and adapt the best policy options for sustainability. Partnerships and stronger, more diversified regional platforms for South-South cooperation, such as those provided by ESCAP and its Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, provide great opportunities for our region to lead the way in ending poverty, transforming lives and protecting the planet.

Fifth, climate action must be integrated across all areas of policy and governance-social, environmental and economic. While emissions must be reduced through a focus on low-carbon energy, transportation and buildings and through energy efficiency, we must also build more resilient societies, prepared for frequent and extreme weather events and their impacts, such as changes in food production systems and migration.

The author is an under-secretary-general of the United Nations and executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). She is also the UN's Sherpa for the G20 and previously served as governor of the central bank of Pakistan and vice-president of the MENA Region of the World Bank.

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