Top Stories : Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand at the High-Level Brainstorming Dialogue on Enhancing Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at UNESCAP news3

Top Stories : Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand at the High-Level Brainstorming Dialogue on Enhancing Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at UNESCAP

Madam Co-Chair, Her Excellency Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, 
Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of ESCAP,
Her Excellency Dr. Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President of the World Bank for East Asia and the Pacific,
Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for 
Socio-Cultural Community,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is a distinct honour and pleasure to welcome all of you to the High-Level Brainstorming Dialogue on Enhancing Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is quite fitting that this important meeting is being convened here in the UN Conference Centre (UNCC), underscoring the unique role that the United Nations play on the critical issue of sustainable development.  
 
Let me at the outset thank UNESCAP for partnering with Thailand on this initiative. And let me commend Madam Executive Secretary for her dedicated personal efforts to encourage the mainstreaming of the sustainable development agenda into ASEAN Community-building, as early as 2015 when ASEAN was developing its Vision 2025. 
 
Excellencies, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
This year marks an important milestone in ASEAN’s history – ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary. The aspiration as reflected in the Bangkok Declaration signed in 1967 was to “through joint efforts and sacrifices, secure for their peoples and for posterity, the blessings of peace, freedom and prosperity.”
 
The sentiments as expressed in the Bangkok Declaration 50 years ago find resonance in our Meeting today. Then, as now, the emphasis is on putting people first and at the centre of our policies so that they can enjoy the fruits of progress. As we become a Community of ten from an Association of five, the principle of “leaving no one behind” has become even more important.
 
Achieving SDGs has been at the top of Thailand’s national policy. Complementing to national efforts, we believe that sharing experiences and learning from one another could help countries achieve the global goal of SDGs. That is why ‘turning vision into reality’ on sustainable development was also the main goal of our G77 Chairmanship last year. Now, as ASEAN coordinator, Thailand remains committed in finding ways and means to effectively implement our ideas into tangible outcomes, which has led to this Complementarities Initiative. 
 
Six months ago, I sat down with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, as well as with Under Secretary-General Akhtar, and representatives of other UN agencies in New York, where we sought to identify how the twin goals of ASEAN Community-building and attaining the SDGs could be achieved in this regard.
 
We are gathered here to seek to transform the vision of the Complementarities Initiative into reality and concrete projects. We appreciate the fact that various partners, from UN ESCAP to the World Bank, from UNDP to UN Women, are joining us in transforming our vision to reality.  Let me underscore three points which I hope can guide us in our efforts.
 
First, we need to focus on work that is value-added – and that means developing concrete projects regarding sustainable development that ASEAN as a whole can contribute and benefit. So project ideas should have in mind a regional focus, at the ASEAN Community level, that will complement and not detract from ongoing national efforts at sustainable development. At this juncture, I wish to welcome in particular the World Bank’s interest and growing engagement with the ASEAN Community on the issue of sustainable development. I certainly look forward to the wealth of expertise of this important institution supporting our region in attaining the SDGs, while promoting our community-building. Indeed, I hope that all of our partners will support and enhance the capacities of the ASEAN Secretariat who will play an important role in pursuing this regional value-added approach. 
 
Second, we need to focus on developing catalysts at the regional level that cut across the various SDGs and better enable all of us to achieve several SDGs at the same time. The G20 calls this Sustainable Development Sectors (SDSs), and here let me welcome Germany who is with us as Guest of the Co-Chairs. As you know, Germany is ASEAN’s only Development Partner, and is also the current Chair of the G20. Project ideas that can help ASEAN achieve a number of SDGs simultaneously will be helpful, whether such projects result in developing a regional public good or help achieve progress on ASEAN goals that facilitate the attainment of SDGs.
 
And third, we need to ensure that our project ideas and policy efforts result in synergies at all levels. This includes synergies with national efforts. It includes synergies with global efforts, at the UN and other fora. And it includes synergies with other regional initiatives. In this connection, we welcome the efforts in developing better financing for development undertaken between ASEAN, China and the UNDP, as well as the efforts to launch an ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Sustainable Development.
 
Excellencies, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
The Complementarities Initiative is one small jigsaw in a larger mosaic of cooperative efforts to advance the sustainable development agenda and to secure for the peoples of the ASEAN Community, and for posterity, the blessings of a Southeast Asia that is at peace, enjoys progress and where no one is left behind. Through our partnership, I am convinced that we can achieve these goals together. I look forward to fruitful discussions at this Brainstorming Dialogue and to the development of concrete project ideas in the months ahead.
 
Thank you very much.