It has been five years since the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia opened its doors in Songdo, Republic of Korea (RoK) on 17 May 2010. Since its inception, the UN ESCAP-ENEA Office has served as the one and only multilateral hub for its six Member States (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation)and two associate members (Hong Kong and Macau, China) and as the Secretariat of the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC).
Working closely with ESCAP’s substantive divisions in Bangkok, the ENEA Office has developed and strengthened a number of crucial networks to promote sustainable development across its Member States. Under the framework of NEASPEC, it has helped Member States launch the North-East Asian Marine Protected Areas Network (NEAMPAN) as well as their joint work on mitigating transboundary air pollution and tackling desertification in Mongolia. The ENEA Office is also currently making efforts to place the DPRK habitat for key migratory birds near its Rason Economic and Trade Zone to the Ramsar List.
Further, the ENEA Office has supported dialogue between China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation on a trilateral agreement for transit transport by road, capacity-building of DPRK trade officials and Single Window Implementation for trade facilitation in land-locked Mongolia. On the social front, the ENEA Office has supported the launch of the Knowledge-Sharing Platform for Building Sustainable Aging Societies in North-East Asia, which holds the world’s longest life expectancy and the lowest fertility rates.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to the UN ESCAP-ENEA Office on 19 May 2015 after opening the World Education Forum in Songdo and graciously signed the ENEA Office’s 5th anniversary poster. The UN ESCAP-ENEA Office on this day hosted a special event marking the UN’s 70th anniversary, which brought together the Secretary-General with staff from all UN offices and international organizations, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), located in RoK.
At the UN family event, the Secretary-General urged the UN staff to work harder to ensure that they successfully complete the Millennium Development Goals and pave the way for the new Post-2015 sustainable development agenda. It was a great way for the UN ESCAP-ENEA to celebrate its 5th anniversary and renew its commitment to promoting sustainable development in North-East Asia.