SECRETARY-GENERAL CITES "CATALYTIC ROLE" OF ESCAP
NEW YORK, 19 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the fifty-seventh session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), delivered on his behalf of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Kim Hak-Su, in Bangkok on 19 April:
It gives me great pleasure to convey my best wishes to the delegations attending the fifty-seventh session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
This session takes place at a critical time. While the economic performance of the region as a whole has continued to improve, the external environment offers reasons for concern, most notably the slowdown in the United States and the continuing distress faced by the Japanese economy.
It is a measure of some satisfaction that world leaders meeting at last September's Millennium Summit in New York pledged to halve the proportion of the world's people living in conditions of extreme poverty by 2015. We must now sustain this momentum and turn this political declaration into concrete deeds. A major opportunity to do so occurs next month in Brussels, where the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries examine the array of problems facing the world's 49 least developed countries, 13 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region. Market access for developing-country goods will be at the top of the agenda in Brussels, since probably no single change would make a greater contribution to the battle to rid the world of abject and dehumanizing poverty.
The ESCAP has an important, catalytic role to play in ensuring implementation of the Millennium Summit commitments, in making developing-country voices heard loud and clear in Brussels, and in helping to seize the many opportunities of globalization and make it a positive force for all the world's people. I look forward to your contributions and wish you the best for your important deliberations.
* *** *