Session Briefs: Asia Pacific Regional Management Meeting 2017

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Session I: Future trends in Asia and the Pacific with the Economist Intelligence Unit

The 2017 Regional Management Meeting in Bangkok was opened today by welcoming speeches from Administrator Helen Clark, Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Regional Director Haoliang Xu and Luc Stevens, UN RC and UNDP RR. The opening speeches were followed by a panel with H.E. Saleumxay Kommasith, Foreign Minister of Lao PDR, H.E. George Milner Tozaka, the Solomon Island’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and Namita Vikas, Group President and Global Head of Climate Change and Responsible Banking at the Yes Bank of India.

In the first working a session, Simon Baptist, Chief Economist and Asia Managing Director of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), introduced a set of five megatrends that may shape the region in the future. The shifts in balance of power, urbanization, climate change, rising inequalities and automated manufacturing will all drive rapid change and have the potential to disrupt the course of development. With the help of the EIU, three possible scenarios were presented that sparked discussions about implications for UNDP, its partners and the region as a whole among participants. These scenarios included automation happening much faster than anticipated, US unilateralism and a rise of populism in the region, as well as the eruption of conflicts. A detailed report will be available after the meeting.

Session II: Adapting UNDP to the Emerging Challenges

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The afternoon session, chaired by Deputy Regional Director Valerie Cliff, focused on analyzing UNDP’s long-term capability to assist countries in Asia-Pacific respond to 21st century challenges. It was opened with a presentation by Haoliang Xu which established the progress we made in reforming our structure, reinventing our offer, championing innovation, and mobilizing new resources. He highlighted the challenges ahead of us this year, particularly the need to increase by 15 percent both domestic co-financing as well as delivery. Special Advisor to the Administrator Heather Simpson presented how the next UNDP Strategic Plan will position us as an SDG implementing agency. Darshak Shah, deputy director of the Bureau of Management, talked about the future financing strategies.

The deputy director of the Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett elaborated on partnership and fund-raising opportunities with the IFI’s, private sector, philanthropies and the public. Patrick Keuleers, head of Governance and Peacebuilding at the Bureau for Policy and Program Support, reflected on our continued role in crisis context. A detailed report will be available after the meeting.

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