Opening Remarks at the ASEAN Seminar on Green Productivity Improvement

Mar 17, 2014

Opening Remarks by Toily Kurbanov, UNDP Country Director in Myanmar at the "ASEAN Seminar on Green Productivity Improvement" organized 17-21 March by Union Civil Service Board of Myanmar in collaboration with UNDP in Myanmar

Your Excellency, Chairman of Union Civil Service Board of Myanmar, U Kyaw Thu
Your Excellency, Minister of Hotels and Tourism, U HtayAung
Your Excellency, Deputy Minister of Environmental Conservation and Forestry,
Dr. U Nay Htun from Green Economy Green Growth Association, former UN ASG
Distinguished representatives of ASEAN Member States,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am honored to join you this morning and to say few words by way of welcoming remarks on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme. For the sake of brevity, and if I can have your kind permission, I would like to focus my remarks to three observations.

First of all, ladies and gentlemen, let us recall that all Members States of the United Nations have come together less than two years ago, in the summer of 2012, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20. At that conference, the Member States, and indeed the peoples of the planet, have unanimously adopted the Outcome Document entitled “The Future We Want”. In it, the world has made a profound commitment to improve sustainable development through [quote] “raising productivity, empowering women, protecting labor rights” [unquote], while recognizing that appropriate roles and solutions will vary from country to country depending on national circumstances.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, the issue of raising productivity is at the center of global sustainable development discourse. While the summit was very important to attract the world’s attention to most pertinent priorities of sustainable development, it is the meetings such as this one starting today where government officials and decision-makers can share ideas and solutions and initiate the action. Therefore, I applaud the leadership of Myanmar and ASEAN Member States in embracing the role of increasing productivity for the sake of future we want for the region.

Secondly, ladies and gentlemen, let us remind ourselves that Myanmar and ASEAN are at a critical juncture of their history. Myanmar has unique culture, abundance of natural resources and favorable geo-economic location. But Myanmar also has a history and, at this time, is looking inwards – to overcome past legacies and to bring together its inner strengths – as well as outwards – to greater regional and international cooperation and welcoming private and public investments in many fields. Similarly, ASEAN is also standing at an exciting crossroad with the ASEAN Economic Community about to come into force next year.

ASEAN+3 have already shown many positive initial steps in promoting sustainable development and balancing economic, social and environmental dimensions of growth. Hopefully your seminar will help to advance this agenda by unpacking the notion of green productivity and its role for sustainable development. As ASEAN membership represents the entire development ladder – from least developed countries to some of the world’s most prosperous societies – I sincerely hope that you fill find of particular value the sharing of knowledge amongst yourselves to bring out priorities for raising green productivity in the region.

My last point is to acknowledge the need of Whole-of-Government approach to green growth and sustainable development – for which, who else can be better champions if not the national civil service institutions? Here in Myanmar, UN development system including UNDP is proud of our partnership with Ministries of National Planning and Environmental Conservation on such initiatives as supporting national capacities for safeguarding natural resources, enhancing biodiversity and nurturing climate-resilient communities. At the same time we will continue to work with UCSB and other government institutions to raise awareness and strengthen capacities of public servants to apply socially and environmentally sustainable thinking to policy making and implementation. My colleagues will stand by you during the week and will work with you to support the outcomes of the seminar.

With that, once again – Mingalabar, and I wish you most productive discussions during the week.

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