Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs Calls for Unified Post-COVID 19 Response to “Build Back Better Together” at the 7th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) news3

Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs Calls for Unified Post-COVID 19 Response to “Build Back Better Together” at the 7th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD)

On 20 May 2020, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, opened the rescheduled 7th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UN ESCAP) via teleconference. This year’s APFSD was organised under the theme “Accelerating action for and delivery of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific”. Attended by more than 600 participants from across the Asia-Pacific region, the Forum provided a crucial and timely multi-stakeholder platform to discuss regional collective efforts to accelerate the Decade of Action to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to promote a unified response to the impacts of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Forum featured remarks by Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN ESCAP Executive Secretary, and H.E. Mr. Fidelis Magalhães, the Minister of Legislative Reforms and Parliamentary Affairs of Timor-Leste and Chair of the 6th APFSD.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated the urgency and the scale of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only to global public health, but also to the collective efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Foreign Minister further highlighted the way in which Covid-19 has exposed economic and social weaknesses, exacerbated existing inequalities, and exerted significant strain on health systems.

Noting that the post-COVID world will only emerge through drastic transformative change, the Foreign Minister underlined three key ways to harness such change: (1) by committing to a more sustainable and resilient development path, particularly through homegrown development approaches such as the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP), (2) by accelerating digitalisation, promoting the application of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), and bridging the digital divide, and (3) by mobilising stakeholders everywhere, in particular, volunteers and women, to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. The Foreign Minister concluded by urging the international community to renew its common resolve to realise the 2030 Agenda, and to bolster partnerships at all levels to boost recovery efforts from COVID-19 in order to ensure that countries and communities “build back better together” in the post-COVID era.