The 69th session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was held in Bangkok from 25 April – 1 May 2013. UNCCD Secretariat was represented by staff and consultant of Asia RCU. The session was divided in two parts: a Senior Officials segment (25-27 April) and a Ministerial segment (29 April - 1 May).
A highlight of the Senior Officials segment was the meeting of the Special Body on Least Developed and Landlocked Developing Countries, which discussed the final regional review of the Almaty Programme of Action and the biennial review of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
The Senior Officials also reviewed issues pertinent to the subsidiary structure of the Commission and the work of the ESCAP secretariat in: macroeconomic policy; trade and investment; transport; environment and development; information and communications technology; disaster risk reduction; social development; statistics and subregional activities for development. The Working Group on Draft Resolutions which also met during the Senior Officials segment considered a record number of 17 draft resolutions.
The Ministerial segment was attended by more than forty senior leaders from the region, including the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Timor-Leste, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, as well as several Vice-Presidents, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers. In her opening remarks, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, said Asia and the Pacific cannot continue travelling on the same development path and needs a "transformational change" towards a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed in his opening statement, delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, that Asia and the Pacific "is moving together towards new, more inclusive, and more sustainable approaches to growth, security, justice and equality". Among the highlights of the Ministerial segment was a Ministerial Panel on Sustainable Development and the Development Agenda beyond 2015; a Ministerial Roundtable on the theme of the session: "Opportunities to build resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises", and a High Level Panel on the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, 2013. In addition, a side event was held to launch the United Nations "Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific".