Vanuatu at the 70th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand

07 August 2014

The 70th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was recently held from 4 – 8 August, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand with the opening of the Ministerial Meeting from 7 – 8 August, 2014.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Hon. Sato Kilman who was only recently at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Palau last week, voicing Vanuatu’s position at the high-level sub-regional annual Leader meeting represented Vanuatu at the 70th Session.

The Hon. Minister Kilman stated that “it is important that Vanuatu continues to actively participate at both the regional and international level so that Vanuatu’s voice is continually heard amongst these multilateral organizations, this is where important issues on Climate Change Financing, economic integration, social and environmental issues are discussed and work programs agreed on”. The theme for this year’s Commission session is “Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity”, an essential discussion Forum for all mechanisms and linkages relating to connectivity. An important appeal that Minister Kilman made at the Commission Session is the need for the UN system and its institutions to continue to support and assist small island developing states in particular Vanuatu as it enters its four years preparatory phase for graduation in 2017.

Vanuatu had on several occasions voiced its views on its LDC status and requested the delay in graduation given the susceptibility to extreme external economic shocks, distance to external markets and vulnerability to natural disasters. However, the General Assembly had passed a resolution for the graduation of Vanuatu at its session in November 2013. The Minister delivered Vanuatu’s country statement on Friday 8th August, 2014 and informed the Session on Vanuatu’s initiatives and policies at the national level that are contributing to regional connectivity as well as Vanuatu’s views and contribution to the post-2015 development Agenda. Policies that contribute to the theme includes the significant progress made in ICT and the fibre optic submarine cable, inter-island shipping and infrastructure projects, extension and rehabilitation of the main international entry sea port, hydrographic surveys to address the increase in cruise tourism amongst others.  

The Commission is the main legislative organ of ESCAP and provides a forum for all governments of the region to review and discuss economic and social issues and to strengthen regional cooperation. The Commission meets annually at the ministerial level to discuss and decide on important issues pertaining to inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the region, to decide on the recommendations of its subsidiary bodies and of the Executive Secretary, to review and endorse the proposed strategic framework and programme of work. Vanuatu’s active participation will see programs from UNESCAP being tailored to our needs through the ESCAP Pacific Office based in Suva, Fiji.  

A senior officials segment commenced earlier in the week which was preceded followed by a the joint session of the Special Body on Least Developed, Landlocked Developing and Pacific Island Developing countries.  

Vanuatu’s delegation was led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Hon. Sato Kilman, and included the Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to UNESCAP, Mr. Kevin Lai, Director for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Yvon Basil and Senior Desk Officer, Ms. Moana Matariki. The Hon. Minister’s delegation will return next week following from the official governments high-level delegation visit to the Peoples Republic of China that is being led by the Hon. Prime Minister, Joe Natuman from 14 – 19 August, 2014.  

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 20:40

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