UNESCAP Ends With Pledge To Plug Financing Holes

The declaration comprises 12 resolutions that focus on finding ways to build cooperation and the mechanism for implementing and financing development of infrastructure in various sectors, as well as achieving millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015.

UNESCAP Ends With Pledge To Plug Financing Holes

The adoption of the Jakarta Declaration, expected to bring the region closer to realizing financing for crucial infrastructure development, closed on Wednesday the 62nd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The declaration comprises 12 resolutions that focus on finding ways to build cooperation and the mechanism for implementing and financing development of infrastructure in various sectors, as well as achieving millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015. "The active participation in deliberations on the Jakarta Declaration underscored our collective political will and commitment to regional cooperation in infrastructure development," Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, who is also the chairman of the commission, told reporters after the closing ceremony.

He said the development would translate into improving the lives of nearly 700 million people living in conditions of vulnerability and deprivation in the region. UNESCAP, with more than 50 country members, is the regional arm of the UN. It serves as the main economic and social development center for the UN in Asia and the Pacific.

The resolutions also provide the Secretariat with mandates on regional cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, tourism, the Trans-Asia Railway network, information society in Asia and Pacific literacy, statistics and coordination of early warning system arrangements for natural disasters. One of the highlights of the session was the ministerial roundtable on enhancing regional cooperation in infrastructure development, including that related to disaster management.

Hassan said participants in the ministerial roundtable agreed that the region should work together to close a financing gap, estimated at US$180 billion, to upgrade the region's infrastructure each year. UNESCAP executive secretary Kim Hak-Su said the region needed the impetus to jump-start its economies and fight poverty. "I think we can say that we are 70 percent on the way to finding solutions to close the financing gap, which is very encouraging," he said. In the field of transportation, UNESCAP estimates that the region needs $261 billion per year from 2005 to 2015, including for the establishment of the Trans-Asian Railway. The railway network agreement will be signed during the ministerial conference on Transportation in Busan, South Korea in November this year.

UNESCAP also projected that annual investment in energy infrastructure during 2001-2030 would be around $218 billion to provide universal access to electricity, while the development of ICT would need annual infrastructure investment of $32.7 billion per year. Annual average investment requirements in water infrastructure during 2002-20025 are estimated at about $100 billion, UNESCAP reported. Kim said all participants agreed to contribute to close the financial gap.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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