The 58th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
May 24, 2002
From 16 to 22 May, the 58th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was held in Bangkok, the Kingdom of Thailand. Senior Vice-Minister Seiken Sugiura attended the session on behalf of the Government of Japan. The following is an overview of the session.
|16 (Thu)-18 (Sat)||Senior Officials Meeting|
|20 (Mon)||Ministerial Meeting (policy speech by each country's representative)|
|21 (Tue)||Morning||Ministerial Roundtable (closed door) *|
|Afternoon||Ministerial Meeting *|
|Evening||Reception hosted by the representatives of the Government of Japan *|
|22 (Wed)||Evening Adoption of the report (including the resolutions)|
* Meetings Vice-Minister Sugiura attended
(1) Senior Officials Meeting
Three separate committees considered ESCAP's structural reform, budget and program plans (including amendment plans). Furthermore, the committees reviewed ESCAP's activities over the past year in trade and investment, the environment and natural resources, social development, transportation, communication, tourism, and infrastructure development and statistical areas.
The Working Group on Draft Resolutions considered five draft resolutions in total, including the one, proposed by Japan, on the extension of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002. The draft resolution also indicated topics to be discussed in the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (25 - 28 October, Otsu City, Shiga Pref.), which is to review the current Decade and consider activities beyond the Decade.
(2) Ministerial Meeting
a. Policy Speech by Representatives
Each country's representative gave a policy speech based on this Session's theme-"Sustainable Social Development in a Period of Rapid Globalization: Challenges, Opportunities and Policy Options." The speeches emphasized the need to maximize the opportunities that globalization brings about and to minimize the risks. In addition, the speeches pointed out that in moving toward sustainable social development, there was a particular need for comprehensive measures to eradicate poverty.
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura introduced in his speech (English and Japanese versions), Japan's effort toward sustainable social development in respect to "poverty reduction," "employment expansion," "social integration" and "Information and Communications Technology." In addition, in the context of promoting social participation by people with disabilities, Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura called upon each country's representative to participate in the above mentioned High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Decade of Disabled Persons.
b. Ministerial Round Table (closed door)
Representatives from each country exchanged views on how to make ESCAP Commissions more useful and on the structural reform of ESCAP.
As for the former, the representatives agreed to hold Commissions other than in Bangkok (but they will not be institutionalized) and to make speeches more focused. Furthermore, they welcomed the decision made by the People's Republic of China to hold the Commission's 60th Session in 2004 in Shanghai. In addition, Vice-Minister Sugiura pointed out the need for infrastructure development, including communication conditions in the case of hosting the Commission sessions, and the usefulness of exchanges between side-events hosted by NGOs, youth and the media, and the Commission sessions.
As for the latter, the representatives supported the priority programs of ESCAP, which were proposed by ESCAP Executive Secretary Kim Hak-su, and a proposal on a new conference structure based on the priority programs.
c. Adoption of Resolution
Five resolutions, including the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons related resolution proposed by Japan, were adopted. The resolution was co-sponsored by 29 countries including Japan as well as China and the Republic of Korea.
d. Theme of the Next Session
As a result of the consideration, the theme of the next Commission session was decided as "Integrating Economic and Social Concerns, Especially HIV/AIDS, in Meeting the Needs of the Region."
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