The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region. Made up of 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members, with a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east, and from the Russian Federation in the north to New Zealand in the south, the region is home to 4.1 billion people, or two thirds of the world’s population. This makes ESCAP the most comprehensive of the United Nations five regional commissions, and the largest United Nations body serving the Asia-Pacific region with over 600 staff.
Established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, ESCAP works to overcome some of the region’s greatest challenges by providing results oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States in the following areas:
- Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development
- Trade, Investment and Innovation
- Environment and Development
- Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction
- Social Development
- Subregional activities for development
ESCAP promotes rigorous analysis and peer learning in our core areas of work; translates these findings into policy dialogues and recommendations; and provides good development practices, knowledge sharing and technical assistance to member States in the implementation of these recommendations.
ESCAP uses its convening power to bring countries together to address issues through regional cooperation, including:
- Issues that all or a group of countries in the region face, for which it is necessary to learn from each other;
- Issues that benefit from regional or multi-country involvement;
- Issues that are transboundary in nature, or that would benefit from collaborative inter-country approaches;
- Issues that are of a sensitive or emerging nature and require further advocacy and negotiation.
ESCAP provides a forum for its member States to promote regional cooperation and collective action in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, assisting countries to achieve shared economic growth and social equity. In addition, ESCAP gives stronger participation to the smaller and often left out voices of the region, the least developed countries, the small island developing States and landlocked developing States. ESCAP’s norm setting and policy work ultimately impacts people’s lives in a positive way by helping countries shape and implement a more balanced and inclusive development agenda for the region.
The ESCAP secretariat comprises the Office of the Executive Secretary, nine substantive Divisions, the Division of Administration, and the Strategy and Programme Management Division. The delivery of ESCAP’s programmes is supported by the subregional offices and the regional institutions.