Bangkok, 29 March 2022 (TDI): The United Nations and the Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) opened the Ninth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) which is set to run from the 28th of March to the 31st of March.

The forum opened with a special emphasis on achieving SDG targets amongst Asian countries. The forum brings together a number of key development actors including UN officials, representatives from the private sector, and senior government officials.

Likewise, it brings together youth and civil society representatives to share their experiences and mobilize action under the theme of “Building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific.”

“For seven and a half decades, ESCAP has been the most inclusive platform to promote dialogue and foster joint regional action in Asia and the Pacific. Advocating complementarity of development approaches and frameworks remain at the heart of the transformation and resurgence in the region,” -Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Secretary of ESCAP

The Asia region was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with a sizeable number of people being pushed into poverty, job losses in this region account for about 70% of the total global job loss.

30 million children face malnutrition. Consequently, the region is falling behind in its ability to reach the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Over the course of the forum, participants will look at the region’s progress on four SDGs.

These are quality education, gender equality, partnerships for the goals, life on land, and, life below water. The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed said that achieving SDG targets was never easy, but it is still possible.

She also called for investments in women, young people, people with disabilities, and people working in the informal sector as well as refugees as these individuals have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.