Side Event Co-hosted by Pakistan, Fiji and ESCAP during the 2017 HLPF “Regional Response to Global Goals: Regional Roadmap for Implementing the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific” (10 July 2017)

Welcoming Remarks by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first welcome everyone for joining us here today.

We are delighted to co-host this event, together with UNESCAP and the Permanent Mission of Fiji, to reflect on the regional response for achieving the sustainable development agenda.

I also take this opportunity to thank Dr. Shamshad Akhtar for her leadership. Her efforts to promote the region’s priorities including by developing a road map for implementation of the 2030 Agenda are really commendable.

Our region is home to almost two thirds of the world's population. According to current projections, it is expected to reach 5 billion in 2050, two thirds of which will live in cities.

Poverty eradication and reducing inequalities remain the overarching challenges for our vast and very diversified Asia Pacific Region.

According to the latest statistics from the World Bank, 767 million people live in extreme poverty around the world, which constitutes 10.7 percent of the world’s population. But the statistics of our region are much more troubling. The World Bank estimates that the extremely poor in Asia and Pacific were around 330 million, of which approximately 256 million live in South Asia.

Our region is of course very diverse with wide-ranging challenges and priorities of countries, which are at different levels of development. Even so our region is considered as the least connected and economically integrated. Also, there is great disparity when we look at sub regional connectivity and integration.

Our experience at ESCAP shows that cooperation at the regional level can help countries with similar characteristics and common problems by providing them support in the areas of capacity building, technical cooperation and sharing of good practices.

The timely establishment of the Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD) for regional follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda demonstrates that our region is fully committed to advance its development priorities in a serious and organized manner.

At the Fourth APFSD held in Bangkok in March 2017, which Pakistan had the honour to Chair, we discussed regional perspectives and priorities focusing on poverty eradication and the promotion of prosperity. We were able to adopt the Forum’s TORs together with a regional road map.

The road map is a living document which focuses on the practical means of implementation and the priority thematic areas including climate change, connectivity, energy, implementation and progress arrangements, among others.

This, in our view is a significant achievement for our region.

We are confident that this roadmap will further foster cooperation at the regional level by using the very robust and active Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism.


In Pakistan, we started our preparations and groundwork for implementation of the 2030 Agenda very early.

Vision 2025 – our long-term development strategy – adopted in 2015 – is fully aligned with the new Global Agenda.

The Vision puts people first and is centered on their needs. It aims to further develop human capital by tapping into huge potential of our youthful workforce and deriving a rich dividend from our demographic profile. We are on the path to achieving sustained and inclusive growth by focusing on governance and building strong and responsive institutions.

The paradigm of sustainable development has taken its roots in our policy construct and this perspective is redefining our national economic and development thinking.

Our political leadership is fully invested in the implementation of SDGs. Last year, our National Parliament unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda as our own development agenda. This level of attention has created the required national ownership of global goals and a positive drive to achieve them in a comprehensive manner.

We are also devising the necessary implementation tools, both at the national and subnational level aligning strategies and annual development plans for coordinated implementation of the SDGs.

Pakistan is perhaps among the first countries to demonstrate and mobilize such political support and ownership.

In the regional context, one of the top priorities of Pakistan is to promote regional integration and connectivity. Greater regional connectivity and modernization of transportation, is one of the seven pillars of our Vision 2025.

The most significant and tangible illustration of this policy and development strategy is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor - popularly know as CPEC – which forms an important pivot of China’s 'One Belt, One Road' initiative. This involves a comprehensive multi billion package of infrastructure and development projects most of which are already a work in progress.

This exciting and ambitious project offers new opportunities for Asia's transformation and prosperity. It will bring huge economic and development benefits not just for China and Pakistan but also for the entire region and beyond.


Let me conclude by once again commending the work done by ESCAP especially by coming up this road map to promote balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in our region. We are confident that if the roadmap is robustly pursued it will have a lasting impact in our region.

For our part, Pakistan remains fully committed to play its role at the regional and global level to achieve the goals and targets set in 2030 Agenda, and work closely with the international community in this collective endeavor.