The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is a UN regional commission that promotes economic cooperation among its 53 member states and nine associate members. The commission serves as the primary legislative organ of ESCAP and the highest intergovernmental regional platform. UNESCAP works to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Goals, provide capacity building and technical assistance to governments, and promote water management approaches. Specifically, the commission supports the monitoring and coordination efforts to achieve SDG 6: clean water and sanitation for all. UNESCAP members meet once a year to discuss and decide on sustainable economic and social development recommendations for Asia and the Pacific.
Topic A: Inclusive Economic Growth in Asian Economies
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific is focused on how inequality can be fought within expanding Asian economies. In this way, the growth and prosperity that Asia enjoys can be experienced by all of its people. In this committee, delegates will be asked to look at economies as a whole. Economic disparities can be dealt with by investing in quality education, development programs focused on tactile and labor skills, promoting small businesses, and, most importantly, creating an enabling and supportive environment for small businesses. A variety of countries have already made strides to close the gap, many of them focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. India, for example, has started a program called Digital India, focused on providing affordable internet connection and digital literacy to all citizens. South Korea and Singapore have taken a larger role in investing in vocational training and higher education. There are also larger international organizations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that have focused and invested in trade facilitation and investment to create economic harmony among member states and encourage cooperation. It is the role of UNESCAP to create solutions that outline a society with economic and social cohesion, create innovative programs that invigorate young minds, and address societal disparities and inequalities to create a more equitable future for all.
Topic B: Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in the Asia-Pacific Region
Despite containing the world’s fastest-growing economies, the Asia-Pacific region is home to the largest number of malnourished people. Hunger in the region declined between 2001–2019 but has recently increased due to challenges like the Russo-Ukrainian war and extreme weather events. The increased risk of food insecurity and malnutrition comes from rising food prices, currency inflation, and transport disruptions tied to these events. As of 2022, 69.1 million people are acutely food-insecure within the Asia Pacific region. This is a drastic increase from 27.6 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN advocates for “zero hunger,” “good health and wellbeing,” and “responsible consumption and production.” UNESCAP must support these goals by advocating for sustainable agriculture and food security. Sustainable food and agriculture (SFA) should meet a society’s present food needs “while ensuring profitability, environmental health, and social and economic equity.” SFA policies ease food crises by improving the availability and access to food, extreme poverty, and the growth of agricultural sectors. As food insecurity becomes more widespread and more imminent in Asia and the Pacific, it is essential for UNESCAP to promote sustainable agriculture and food security to achieve the SDGs.