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Opening Remarks Given by Mr. Nicholas Rosellini on the Launch Event of Economic & Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017

Opening Remarks

Economic & Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017

Launch Event

Large Conference Room, UN Compound

Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator in China

14:30-14:40, 8th May 2017

 


Good Afternoon
,

Professor Lin Shuanglin

(Professor of the National School of Development and Director of China Center for Public Finance at Peking University)

 

Mr. Wang Zhenyu

(Director of the Secretariat of China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation)

 

Mr. Daniel Jeongdae Lee

(Economic Affairs Officer, ESCAP)

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, Colleagues

 

I’m delighted that you could all joins us here today for the National Launch event for ESCAP’s Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific. Running into its 6th decade this year after the first launch back in 1947, the Survey is one of the longest standing reports continuously produced by any Agency in the UN System and is a flagship publication of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Through efforts put in by the teams that produce these reports as well as the dedication and cooperation between different country offices to bring together data from across the region, the Survey shows the UN’s ability to produce high quality report under a sustained time.

 

The report provides cutting edge analysis and valuable information for decision makers on regional progress and opens a window into future trends. In guiding policy discussions on inclusive and sustainable development, it helps support policymakers and leaders to turn ideas into reality and make promise into practice. Highlighting the importance of effective governance and fiscal management, this year’s report takes measure of the diverse challenges found across the region to sustainable development. As Secretary-General Guterres commented, “Striking a balance between economic growth, social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability is [itself] the essence of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Discuss China’s changing socioeconomic situation with comments from the Survey

 

The Report comes at an especially timely moment with the Belt & Road Forum right around the corner and recognising China’s current economic transformations to move towards services and higher value-added sectors that can boost medium-term output and growth.

 

We’ve seen an increased sophistication of the labour force, employment and wage gains coupled with increasing shares of consumption, all alongside at least reasonable progress in tackling environmental problems. As noted in the Survey, alongside Japan, China accounts for nearly half the world’s commercial investments in clean technology, whilst it alone holds most of the filings in the world for patents on climate change mitigation technologies! Furthermore, China’s remarkable gains in poverty alleviation are well-known.

However, there are doubtless still challenges to be faced. On the poverty side of the equation, there remains a share of people still unable to lift themselves out of poverty. What’s more is that even with ‘poverty by definition’ being tackled, vulnerability to poverty is still an important issue to be tackled in the longer-term of socioeconomic development. Perhaps of equal if not greater concern is the issue of inequality, that spans both between and within provinces as well as within and between urban and rural areas, which is tied with China’s current efforts to restructure its household registration system. As the so-called ‘Industrial Revolution 4.0’ takes hold and automation becomes a growing trend, impacts on social and economic growth and China’s preparedness, for example through upgrading skills training and education systems, are important matters to be kept in mind, alongside the importance of social mobility.

 

Whilst economic growth certainly plays an important role in reducing poverty and expanding job availability, it is by no means the be all and end all. In China especially, decades of rapid growth have played into the rising inequalities and environmental degradation. Coherently addressing this mixture of intertwined economic, social and environmental challenges is vital for moving forwards effectively.

 

Much as highlighted by Dr. Akhtar, USG of the UN and Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, effective governance and fiscal management are crucial factors for social and economic progress and inclusive sustainable development. Institutional reform, a balancing of Government & Market towards more sophisticated governance and systemic engagement with fiscal reforms all play a big role in dealing with the kind of challenges that China faces on its journey towards realizing its Dream of achieving national prosperity for all.

 

Taking note of this ongoing rebalancing taking place in China and so the ever-increasing importance of Governance, we very much look forward to the findings and policy guidance of the Survey for 2017, which examines Governance in the specific context of fiscal management, in recognition of the role that fiscal policy also has to play in supporting the economy and addressing diverse social and environmental challenges.

 

Thank you!

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