As always we have been busy focusing on fostering and strengthening partnerships with various national institutions, stakeholders and civil society organizations of our member countries. You will find many of these events in this issue of the newsletter.
Important as they all are, I wish to highlight two recent official visits Dr. Shamsahd Akhtar, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and UN Under-Secretary-General made to China and Japan in our subregion in the past two months. Our Office supported the Executive Secretary ably in both of these visits.
The visit to China took place in early June, and Dr. Akhtar stressed that China is "increasingly a nexus for wider Asia-Pacific connectivity and integration.” She met with several leaders and a number of senior officials and discussed the Chinese initiatives for sustainable development, including the renewed emphasis on the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘Maritime Silk Road.’
While noting that China had already proven the power of domestic connectivity, Dr. Akhtar drew attention to “soft” connectivity, including people-to-people exchanges, information and communications technology and knowledge platforms were just as important components for linking the countries in Asia Pacific.
The official visit to Japan was only concluded in late July and marked the 60th anniversary of Japan’s membership of ESCAP. This was also the first official invitation by the Foreign Minister of Japan to an Executive Secretary of ESCAP. She met with a number of senior officials and discussed global, regional and bilateral issues such as strengthening the base for increased and expanded cooperation between Japan and ESCAP.
Some of the key priority areas of collaboration include sustainable development financing, gender equality and the empowerment of women, social protection, poverty and inequality, disaster risk reduction and the environment and climate change.
As the 70th Commission session of ESCAP is just around the corner from 4 to 8 August 2014, we hope that you will join us in the annual ministerial discussions and special events with the overarching theme of Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity.
- Kilaparti Ramakrishna
Energy Board Meeting of GTI
5 June 2014, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Third Energy Board Meeting of GTI took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 5 June 2014. (Photo: GTI)
ESCAP-ENEA attended the third Energy Board Meeting of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI), organized by its Secretariat and hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. With participation from the member governments, representatives of the energy research institutes and the private companies, the Meeting discussed regional energy cooperation and presented building partnership with ESCAP-ENEA as one of three key activities under its Energy Action Plan 2014-2015. In the welcoming speech, we reaffirmed the important partnership between our two organizations and discussed modalities of future collaborations.
Most proposals at the Meeting were relevant to the work of the Intergovernmental Collaborative Mechanism on Energy Cooperation in North-East Asia (ECNEA), which has been supported by ESCAP Environment and Development Division since its inception in 2005. ENEA Office will explore ways to collaborate with GTI to jointly implement some projects and harness this opportunity to strengthen ECNEA, as well as the overall arrangement of energy cooperation in Northeast Asia.
Int'l Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Northeast Asia
17-19 June 2014, Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea
We joined the International Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Northeast Asia to discuss a new Northeast Asian initiative, which will be proposed by Gangwon Province as the host of the twelfth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP12) held this October in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. As the Secretariat of the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC), we addressed transboundary cooperation in biodiversity conservation in Northeast Asia and potential activities to establish discussions and mechanisms with a regional focus.
GTI Transport Board Meeting and Seminar
19-20 June 2014, Manzhouli, China
The GTI Board Meeting and Seminar on Transport Cooperation in Northeast Asia was held in Manzhouli, China on 19-20 June 2014. (Photo: GTI)
ENEA Office participated in the fourth Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) Transport Board Meeting and Seminar on Transport Cooperation in Northeast Asia in Manzhouli, China. Participants included senior-level representatives from China, Russia, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. Despite the majority of the presentations being on bilateral arrangements, GTI member countries show a great deal of interest in ESCAP’s efforts in harmonizing different practices and on-going work on bringing the three countries - China, Mongolia and Russia - under one single legal instrument. Further exchange and cooperation between ESCAP and the Secretariat were encouraged to be fully explored in the future. In addition to reviewing progress on the implementation of GTI Regional Transport Strategy, attendees talked about follow-up actions for the coming years based on the studies and analysis of the project proposed by the Russian Federation.
UN Public Service Awards Ceremony and Forum
23-26 June 2014, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The annual UN Public Service Awards and Forum was hosted by the Republic of Korea from 23-26 June 2014. (Photo: UNPAN)
The 2014 UN Public Service Awards Ceremony and Forum was held in Asia for the first time here in Korea from 23-26 June 2014. We represented ESCAP headquarters at this Forum and joined a panel on Innovation and e-Governance for Sustainable Development. As the UN marks the UN Public Service Day on 23 June, the Ceremony aims to instil a culture of innovation and exemplary public service through rewarding public institutions for their pursuit of excellence and creativity in public governance.
Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs presented the awards and said “E-government holds tremendous potential to improve the way that governments deliver public services and enhance broad stakeholder involvement in public service.” Among notable attendees were Mahathir bin Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, and other ministers from some 20 countries. Thematic focus of the entire event was on innovating governance for sustainable development. More info: http://www.unpan.org or http://www.unpsforum.go.kr
Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity
28-30 June 2014, Jeju, Republic of Korea
ESCAP-ENEA spoke as a panelist in the Water, Food and Energy Nexus session and moderated the Low Carbon City in Northeast Asia session during the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on 28-30 June. The Forum touched upon topics such as international cooperation and security, business and economy, environment and sustainability, culture, and gender. Key political leaders attended included Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and Han Seung Soo, former Prime Minister of Korea.
The session on the Low Carbon City in Northeast Asia was organized by the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS). As a moderator, we had the opportunity to facilitate discussions on potential areas and modality of inter-city cooperation. The discussion came to a general conclusion on the need to promote knowledge sharing and successful practices. TCS plans to utilize its trilateral mechanism to facilitate such cooperation and seeks our office as a key partner.
NOWPAP CEARAC Focal Points Meeting
2-3 July 2014, Toyoma, Japan
ENEA Office attended the Focal Points Meeting of Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) - Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (NOWPAP/CEARAC) held in Toyama, Japan from 2-3 July. CEARAC is one of the four Regional Activity Centres to coordinate activities relevant to specific components of the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of NOWPAP. We presented on the recently established North East Asia Marine Protected Areas Network (NEAMPAN) under the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) to promote and coordinate subregional action on the management of coastal and marine environments. NOWPAP is one of the key partners of the Network as close collaboration and sharing information of the activities are strongly emphasized in the terms of reference of NEAMPAN.
Kyung Hee Global Collaborative Summer Program
11 and 18 July 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea
ESCAP Pacific Office gave a lecture through video conferences on building sustainable capacity and combating climate change for Pacific Islands during a series of lecture course by ESCAP-ENEA in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
ENEA Office joined the month-long Kyung Hee Global Collaborative Summer Program organized by Kyung Hee University in Seoul. Around 40 local and international students attended a series of lectures given by our office, ESCAP Pacific Office and another UN office on the theme of the UN in developing and implementing regional approaches to sustainable development in East Asia. Topics included the impacts and responses of climate change, building sustainable capacity and combating climate change for Pacific Islands, the recent trend of growing inequality in economic, social and environmental development, and promoting a disaster resilient Asia-Pacific region. This is the second time our office has joined the programme to engage with the youth and the academic community since 2013.
ACFN Capacity Building Training for the Philippines
14-15 August 2014, Manila, Philippines
ESCAP-ENEA and the Korea Environment Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), serving as the Secretariat of the Asia Carbon Footprint Network (ACFN) in collaboration with the Environmental Management Bureau of the Philippines will co-organize a capacity training programme in Manila on 14-15 August 2014. Bringing together various stakeholders from central and local governments, industries, academia and civil society groups, this training is expected to strengthen national capacity and forge different initiatives into a standardized carbon footprint scheme in the country. ACFN launched in 2013 with 14 organizations in Asia and was created to promote the transfer of knowledge and experience related to carbon footprint assessment and reduction.
Launch of Knowledge-sharing Platform on Ageing
27 August 2014, Seoul, Republic of Korea
ENEA Office finalized the plan of launching a knowledge-sharing platform for building sustainable ageing societies in East and Northeast Asia during the Northeast Asian Ageing Research Council Meeting in Seoul on 27 August 2014. Following the Asian Symposium on Building Sustainable Ageing Societies in 2012, held by the Office and the Chinese Government, we commenced collection of best practices and the construction of the knowledge-sharing platform which is one of the key recommendations of the Symposium.
Launch of ESCAP's Survey & Northeast Asia Economic Forum
28-29 August 2014, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The annual conference of the 23rd Northeast Asia Economic Forum (NEAEF) will be held on August 28-29 in Seoul, Korea in cooperation with ESCAP-ENEA, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy and others. This year’s NEAEF will cover a broad scope of themes pertinent to the Northeast Asian economic cooperation and development. Country launch of ESCAP’s flagship publication, Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (Survey) will be held in conjunction with the Forum on 28 August.
Senior Officials Meeting of NEASPEC
22-23 September 2014, Moscow, Russia
The 19th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM-19) will be held in Moscow, Russian Federation on 22-23 September 2014. This annual North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) meeting gathers member States to review the progress of NEASPEC activities, discuss important subregional issues and approve the budget and plan of NEASPEC's work towards the goal of sustainable development. It is also an opportunity to identify new and further areas of cooperation. Furthermore, this upcoming SOM will consult member States in preparation for developing a long-term strategic plan for NEASPEC as was agreed at the last SOM.
Disabled People's Int'l Subregional Meeting
13-14 June 2014
Participants of the Sixth Disabled People's International (DPI) Northeast Asian Subregional Meeting in Shizuoka, Japan, 13-14 June 2014. (Photo: DPI)
We attended the 6th Disabled People's International (DPI) Northeast Asian subregional meeting in Shizuoka, Japan and presented the Incheon Strategy to "Make the Right Real" for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, as well as the Roadmap for its implementation. Twenty-five participants representing China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia meet biannually to share the challenges and progress made in their respective countries with regard to the human rights of persons with disabilities. Despite the national differences, Incheon Strategy, adopted by ESCAP member States in 2012, provided a useful common framework for future actions. The four participating entities agreed to focus on two Incheon Strategy goals, 3 and 9, as their common objectives for the next two years, with a view to facilitating subregional collaboration in these areas. The meeting adopted the Shizuoka Declaration, affirming the commitment to make the subregional societies disability-inclusive by promoting Incheon Strategy and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They will meet again in 2016 in China to report on their activities in 2014 and 2015.
Meeting between MOFA & Int'l Organizations
26 June 2014
Representatives and heads from international organizations in Republic of Korea attended a meeting co-organized by the Korean Ministry and ESCAP-ENEA in Seoul, 26 June 2014.
The East and North-East Asia Office of ESCAP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea (MOFA) co-organized a meeting between the MOFA and international organizations in Republic of Korea in Seoul. Deputy Minister Shin Dong-ik made opening remarks, and Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director of ESCAP-ENEA and Kim Moon-hwan, Director-General for International Organizations Bureau co-chaired the meeting. The meeting was attended by 17 international organizations, including UNDP Seoul Policy Center, UN Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT), the World Food Programme (WFP) Seoul Office, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in Korea, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This was one of a series of meetings MOFA plans to have to engage international organizations on a regular basis.
Partnership between Incheon City & Int'l Organizations
24 July 2014
Dr. Ramakrishna, ENEA Director made a speech on behalf of the international organizations in Incheon, Republic of Korea, 24 July 2014.
The ENEA Office joined other international organizations based in Songdo in a meeting with the new Incheon Mayor on 24 July 2014. Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok assumed his function in early July. The meeting, organized by Incheon Metropolitan City, aimed to strengthen cooperation between the City and international organizations in turning Incheon into a regional hub. The City reiterated its support to international organizations. The Head of the Office gave congratulatory remarks on behalf of all international organizations.
Student Visits: June - July 2014
Group of university students from the Global Leadership School by Incheon City during the briefing programme at ESCAP-ENEA.
Our Office organized two briefing programmes for local high school and university students on 27 June and 9 July 2014. Visitors from various universities in the Republic of Korea, including Seoul Nat’l University, Ewha Women’s University, Incheon Nat’l University and Wonkwang University attended the briefing. They were the participants of the second Global Leadership School by Incheon City. A group of twenty-eight students and two teachers from Dorim High School in Incheon also paid a visit to our office in early July. Students listened to an overview of the UN and ESCAP, as well as the work of the Office. They had the chance to learn about the notion of sustainable development and the role of education in the development of different countries in Asia-Pacific.
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 and two associate members (Hong Kong and Macau) in Northeast Asia: China, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation.