With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, member States committed to achieving “a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Goals and targets”, which integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The core emphasis placed in the 2030 Agenda is on “leaving no one behind.”
Apart from articulating the 17 “integrated and indivisible” Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Governments specified fundamental means of implementation of the new global agenda including partnerships, technology, capacity development, finance, trade, policy and institutional coherence, and follow up and review. In adopting the new Agenda and the associated SDGs, member States have also stressed the important role and comparative advantage of an adequately resourced, relevant, coherent, efficient and effective United Nations system.
This has led the Secretary-General to make the UN system more “fit for purpose.” The emphasis is on whole-of-system based on effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, inclusiveness and independence.
For the United Nations, the regional level is a key bridge between the global and country level work. The regional level analyzes and synthesizes regional trends and priorities, feeds it into intergovernmental discussions at the regional and the global level, and translates global mandates into regional normative outputs for action at the regional and country level. The regional level also initiates normative and analytical work that can become global, regional and country-level public goods.
At the regional level, the Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) is the ECOSOC-mandated mechanism, chaired by ESCAP and comprises agencies and organizations within the United Nations system. At the working level it also involves agencies and organizations outside the UN system,, including civil society organizations.
The policy-coordination function of the RCM cooperates with the regional UNDG which ensures coherent UN approaches and policy responses to substantive and operational issues at the country level through United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs), and if applicable translates the policy recommendations arrived at through the RCM into action at the country level through the UNCTs. The Asia-Pacific RCM has sought to focus areas on common areas and interest through the creation of a number of Thematic Working Groups (TWGs).
With the adoption of the new 2030 Agenda and mutually reinforcing post-2015 frameworks (The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the outcomes of World Humanitarian Summit and HABITAT III, amongst others), the Asia Pacific RCM has repositioned its TWGs to assist countries in achieving the 2030 Agenda to meet the development challenges facing the region.