UN calls on Asia-Pacific countries to harness link between poverty reduction, equality and social stability to achieve 2030 Agenda

Emphasizing that poverty eradication is at the core of sustainable development and cannot be achieved without addressing all forms of rising inequalities, the head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has called for greater efforts to harness the potential of the link between poverty reduction, equality and social stability.

“The challenges of social development are multidimensional and require multidimensional solutions,” United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar told the ESCAP Committee on Social Development, which closed in Bangkok today.

“Social development is therefore a necessary condition for ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’, but to do so, we must harness the potential of the powerful nexus between poverty reduction, equality and social stability,” added Dr Akhtar.

The Social Development Committee brought together 22 countries from the Asia-Pacific region in Bangkok from 28 to 30 March, for the first intergovernmental meeting since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on how to strengthen the social dimension of sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

Member States provided guidance on addressing challenges in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for effective integration of the social dimension into the economic and environmental dimensions. This included underscoring the importance of addressing inequalities within and between countries as well as addressing the impact of demographic change.

The Committee identified a number of priority issues for action, with particular reference to addressing unemployment among youth, enhancing social protection, placing gender equality and women’s empowerment at the centre of the policy agenda, and continuing implementation of the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” to support the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities.

Senior officials also acknowledged the importance of promoting and protecting the rights of older persons, along with strengthening the linkages between international migration and development through more effective management of migration flows.

In closing, the Committee requested that ESCAP continue supporting member States in these areas through capacity development and knowledge sharing, building partnerships with stakeholders, and serving as a key regional platform to enhance the social dimension of sustainable development.

During the Committee meeting, ESCAP also launched two publications, Time for Equality: The Role of Social Protection in Reducing Inequalities in Asia and the Pacific, and in partnership with ILO, and on behalf of the Asia-Pacific RCM Thematic Working Group on Youth, Switched On: Youth at the Heart of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

The Committee on Social Development is one of the eight committees that make up the subsidiary structure of the Commission. It is held biannually.