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Connections E-Newsletter Issue 15, October - November 2014 View this email in your browser
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Director's Message 

It has been an exciting two months for our office and for North-East Asia.

In October, we were pleased to have the Executive Secretary of ESCAP and United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, for her week-long visit to the Republic of Korea.

Dr. Akhtar was extended an official invitation by the Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to visit Korea and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the country joining ESCAP. During the visit, she had opportunities to meet other Ministers of Gender Equality and Family, Unification, and Environment as well as Vice Ministers of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; Science, ICT and Future Planning. She also met with top leaders of think tanks, academic and diplomatic communities. You will find more details of the visit in this newsletter.

The Executive Secretary’s visit reaffirmed and expanded the strong partnership between ESCAP and Korea, emphasizing the country's leadership role in achieving the post-2015 development agenda of the Asia-Pacific region. 

In late November, we organized the North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum with the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC). The Forum, attended by researchers and scholars from China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation, exchanged policies and practices of development assistance and cooperation in our subregion. The Forum also provided a platform for dialogue as to how to strengthen multilateral development collaboration among Northeast Asian countries. 

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated at the recent East-Asia Summit in Myanmar, this particular region is on the leading edge of 21st century solutions. Yet it is still plagued by tensions rooted in another time. In that regard, the Forum played a vital role in filling the gaps in the dialogue to enhance coordination and to create closer cooperation in the subregion.

As we move into the final month of 2014 and into the new year, let me close by wishing all of you a very happy and productive 2015. As always we look forward to your continued partnership, support and encouragement. 

- Kilaparti Ramakrishna
 
Activities
 
Second Consultation Meeting on Legal Instrument on Transit Transportation of the Asian Highway 
8 - 10 October 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea

UN Photo
 
The East and North-East Asia Office in collaboration with the Transport Division of ESCAP hosted and organized the Second Consultation Meeting among China, Mongolia and Russian Federation on the Legal Instrument for Operationalization of Asian Highway Route No. 4 in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
 
ESCAP has been working with member States in formulating and implementing transport facilitation measures and promoting cross-border and transit transport in the region. The Asian Highway network is a regional transport cooperation initiative aimed at enhancing the efficiency and development of the road infrastructure in Asia, supporting the development of Euro-Asia transport linkages and improving connectivity for landlocked countries.
 
The meeting brought together government representatives from transport authorities to discuss the text of the draft legal instrument prepared by the secretariat. The first consultation was held in April 2014 in Beijing, where member countries agreed to move forward with this negotiation.
 
During the three-day meeting, a consensus was reached on the text of the draft legal instrument. There remains some technical issues that require further consultations within the respective governments. The next meeting to be held in Mongolia will aim to negotiate the annexes as well as provide additional clarity on some of the remaining issues in the text.

 
ESCAP Chief's Official Visit to Republic of Korea
20 - 24 October 2014 

Dr. Akhtar met senior ministers of Republic of Korea and presidents of leading think tanks and institutions during her trip, 20-24 October 2014. (From top in order: Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se; Gender Equality and Family Minister Kim Hee-jung; President of KOICA Kim Young-mok and ESCAP staff in Korea) 
 
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, made an official visit to the Republic of Korea from 20 to 24 October at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
Dr. Akhtar met with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, as well as a number of other senior ministers from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Unification, Environment and leading think tanks to discuss issues of global, regional and common interest, including expanded cooperation between Republic of Korea and ESCAP.
 
The Executive Secretary’s visit also marked the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Korea’s membership of ESCAP. During her trip, she stressed the strong leadership the country can offer in today’s global and networked economy, where innovation and technology have become drivers of growth and development, underscoring a solid partnership between the two. Read more
 
 
First Expert Group Meeting on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia-Pacific 
27 - 29 October 2014, Sendai, Japan

UN ESCAP 

Senior experts from governments, academia and international organizations gathered to discuss ways to better manage disaster risk crisis in Asia and the Pacific, led by ESCAP in Sendai, Japan.
 
Concerned by the frequency of natural disasters occurring in the region, the experts agreed on the core principles for establishing a common basic range of disaster-related statistics.
 
Over the past three decades, almost 1.2 million people in Asia and the Pacific have lost their lives to disasters. Efforts to manage disaster risks in Asia and the Pacific, as well as in the rest of the world, have long been hampered by the lack of timely, reliable, and comparable statistics, mainly due to the absence of common statistical standards among nations.
 
Earlier this year, governments of the region sought to close this gap and established the Expert Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific. Developing a set of common standards would allow more precise risk assessment across the region and help governments in evidence-based policymaking, which provides the right support and infrastructure to manage the risks of disasters. Read more
 

North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum 
31 October - 1 November 2014, Seoul, Republic of Korea  

Group photo of researchers and scholars from Northeast Asian countries at the North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum in Seoul, Republic of Korea. (ESCAP-ENEA)

ESCAP’s Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia (ESCAP-ENEA), in cooperation with the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC), organized the North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum on 31 October to 1 November 2014 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
 
KAIDEC is a network of scholars from academic institutes and government personnel working in development cooperation, private sectors, field workers and NGOs. The Forum also partnered with similar networks in Japan and China, including the Japanese Society for International Development and the China International Development Research Network, with each network nominating researchers from their respective networks.
 
The two-day Forum aimed to facilitate discussion on policies and practices of development assistance and cooperation among Northeast Asian countries, and to strengthen the network of researchers and practitioners working in the area of development cooperation.
 
Around 60 participants attended from a range of international organizations, academic institutions, and think tanks from China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation. Read more
 

Asia Carbon Footprint Network Seminar 
17 - 18 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand  

Photo: Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization

The East and North-East Asia Office of ESCAP in coordination with the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management organized the Asia Carbon Footprint Network (ACFN) Seminar and the annual meeting from 17 to 18 November 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
 
About 130 participants from governments, businesses and academia were in attendance to outline recent developments regarding carbon footprinting. Additionally, the Seminar contributed to increasing the awareness of participants about issues such as best practices in carbon management by business industry as well as identifying various approaches to utilizing carbon labelling for business communications with consumers.
 
The five best practices in carbon management were presented during the seminar from various companies: PepsiCo’s Walkers (UK), AEON (Japan), LG Housing and Healthcare (Republic of Korea), Charoen Pokphand Foods (Thailand) and Yuhan Kimberly (ROK).
 
All of the companies have been successful in identifying key sources of greenhouse gas emissions in their operations, reducing unnecessary costs in the supply chain and setting mid-long term strategic targets of emissions reduction. Read more
 
 
Third International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in North-East Asia 
18 - 19 November 2014, Vladivostok, Russian Federation 

UN ESCAP

ESCAP and the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) in collaboration with the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation organized the annual seminar in Vladivostok, Russia on 18 November 2014, where government officials and key stakeholders from China, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation attended.
 
The International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in North-East Asia highlighted the need for greater cross-border cooperation for transit trade and expansion of initiatives for coordinated border management that offer an effective way to pool resources and increase trade efficiencies.
 
East and North-East Asia is comprised of the largest, most advanced economies in the world as well as developing economies. Thus, creating an enabling environment for third country or transit trade is not only important for landlocked countries like Mongolia, but it also provides efficient alternative routes for trading within large countries such as China and the Russian Federation.
 
The participants recommended, as a way forward, to work together on some of the crucial issues of trade facilitation in Northeast Asia, including stepping up cooperation at border points, promoting paperless trade at the national and subregional levels, bridging the trade infrastructure gap and drawing active participation of private sector.
 

Fifth International Association for Asia Pacific Studies Annual Conference 
27 - 28 November 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea  

Toshiya Hoshino, Vice President of Osaka University, Japan; Shin Bong-Kil, President of Institute on Foreign Affairs and Nat'l Security, ROK; Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Head of ESCAP-ENEA; Kazuichi Sakamoto, President of IAAPS; and Davar Pishva, Secretary General of IAAPS (above photo, left to right) 

The two-day annual conference of the International Association for Asia Pacific Studies was held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, co-organized by ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, the International Association for Asia Pacific Studies and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan.
 
About 70 graduate students, scholars and researchers from various disciplines including international relations, sociology, anthropology, history, economics, politics, science and health took part to discuss issues on the theme, “Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in the Asia Pacific: Regional and National Policy and Programmatic Challenges.”
 
The conference consisted of panel discussions and presentations that focused on theoretical or empirical dimensions of regional challenges and geo-political and socioeconomic consequences of integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some of the discussions included East Asian perspectives on energy, trade and environment, the ageing population and its social effects, climate change and urbanization (in particular, water-related issues in Southeast Asia) and the impact of security and regional integration on poverty reduction.
Upcoming Events
 
North-East Asia Energy Cooperation Forum 
12 December 2014
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea and ESCAP are organizing the second Energy Security Forum for Northeast Asia: Energy Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Under the theme “North-East Asia: Prospects of Energy Cooperation,” the Forum will exchange views and ideas to promote collaboration on developing more harmonized approaches to energy policies in the subregion and discuss the possibilities and options towards establishing a mechanism that would enable advancing regional cooperation. 
 

NEASPEC Nature Conservation Project for Key Migratory Birds 
30 January - 4 February 2015
 
As part of the Nature Conservation Project by the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC), this Joint Study Field Survey will be organized by ESCAP-ENEA and the Korean Society of Environment and Ecology. Experts from national and international organizations will discuss conservation management of the survey sites and other habitats and biodiversity assessment in North-East Asia as well as potential collaboration on follow-up activities. Young researchers of the subregion will also participate in training programmes.
Other News
 
Incheon Songdo International Marathon 2014 
5 October 2014 

ESCAP-ENEA 

This year’s Incheon Songdo International Marathon hosted about 10,000 local and international runners from all walks of life. The United Nations offices in the Republic of Korea have been participating in the marathon to promote awareness of the UN offices in the country. With the partnership of the Incheon International Relations Foundation, around 50 Incheon citizens and UN staff took part in 5K and 10K runs, sporting sky blue UN T-shirts. 

 
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity 
13 - 14 October 2014
 
The North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation organized a side event during the 12th Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12), 13 October 2014, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. (ESCAP-ENEA)
 
During the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the East and North-East Asia Office as the secretariat of the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) held an official side event to review subregional cooperation in nature conservation, focusing on migratory birds and their habitats. Representatives from governments, research institutions and NGOs gathered for lively exchange about opportunities of cooperation in transboundary protected areas located at bordering habitats as well as sharing their latest developments and experiences.
 

Seoul Science and Technology Forum 
5 - 7 November 2014


Photo: Seoul S&T Forum

The fifth Seoul Science and Technology Forum, co-hosted by ESCAP and the National Research Council of Science and Technology (NST), had a two-day forum on the use of technology and science regarding issues such as climate change, environment and energy. About 150 officials from governments, private sectors, research institutions and international organizations discussed a range of issues based on the theme, “New Vision for Global R&DB (Research and Development/Business).” Our office chaired two sessions on public-private partnership in science and technology and localizing technology for inclusive development.
 
 
University Lectures and Briefing Sessions
October - November 2014
 
Dr. Ramakrishna, ESCAP-ENEA head giving a lecture at Korea University (top); Group photo of students from Hanam High School and Amerasian Christian Academy.
 
Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, head of the East and North-East Asia Office, delivered two lectures – one at Ewha Womans University, named “Global Distinguished Lecture” and the other at Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies’ yearlong “Colloquium on International Relations” on 7 November and 10 November 2014, respectively. The Office also gave briefings to students from Hanam High School, Amerasian Christian Academy and Hakik Girls’ High School during the past two months. We also had a group of international researchers from the Asian Institute for Environmental Research and Energy in affiliation with Incheon National University for a briefing on 21 November 2014. 


 
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Established in May 2010, the East and North-East Asia Office of ESCAP supports and promotes inclusive and sustainable development and cooperation among six member States (China, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation) and two associate members (Hong Kong and Macao) in Northeast Asia.
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