APRU and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and conduct joint activities.
Among the areas of common interest and expertise that are targeted are digital economy and emerging technologies; multi-hazards and disaster risk reduction; Pacific Ocean; sustainable cities and urban development; population aging; as well as statistical geospatial data management.
The MoU was signed on May 27 at UN ESCAP Headquarters, Bangkok, Thailand, by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Christopher Tremewan, APRU’s Secretary-General.
The event took place at the 75th session of UN ESCAP, held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”
“It is a special pleasure and privilege to sign this MOU with you as a scholar who understands the value of higher education and research in contributing to international policy development and solution to Asia-Pacific challenges,” said Dr. Tremewan.
“We therefore have high expectations of this cooperation with ESCAP as each of us has deep experience in multilateral initiatives which produce specific outcomes targeted at specific needs. We know that unique and powerful contributions can be made to the well-being of societies in this region through partnerships between international organisations, governments, the private sector, research institutions and communities.” he added.
The MoU entails cooperation to enhance both parties’ capacity to access, produce, analyze and disseminate data, as well as to utilize data for quality research and evidence-based policy recommendations.
It lays the groundwork for cooperating in the UN ESCAP’s Ocean Accounts framework, including data compilation, analysis and capacity building through pilot studies, in order to better address SDG14 (Life Under Water).
The MoU furthermore calls for the joint initiation, management and promotion of research programs in the fields of mutual interest and concern, while facilitating writing and peer reviewing of papers for publication in UN ESCAP journals, including the Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Journal.
Recognizing that appropriate representation is important for the purpose of joint positioning and advocacy, APRU and UN ESCAP agreed that reciprocal invitations will be extended to the other organization to attend each other’s annual meetings, as well as conferences, seminars, and workshops that are relevant to cooperation in the priority areas.
APRU has already begun to work with UN ESCAP on a number of projects, including AI for Social Good, a network initiated by APRU, UN ESCAP, and Google to provide a multi-year platform fostering collaboration between experts and policymakers to support the development of artificial intelligence to improve people’s lives.
APRU has also provided expertise into the process of UN ESCAP’s Ocean Accounts, a free-access mechanism for an ocean data platform that seeks to help initiate regional action towards a healthy ocean future.
On the list of other joint projects are APRU and UN ESCAP in partnership with UN-Habitat currently exploring the opportunity to develop a new regional mayor training program focusing on sustainable urbanization.
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region.
The Commission’s strategic focus is to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is reinforced and deepened by promoting regional cooperation and integration to advance responses to shared vulnerabilities, connectivity, financial cooperation and market integration. ESCAP’s research and analysis coupled with its policy advisory services, capacity building and technical assistance to governments aims to support countries’ sustainable and inclusive development ambitions.