Report on the Regional Commission for the Asia Pacific (RCAP) 2024

Release Date

Background: The Conference of Non Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) CoNGO facilitates the participation of accredited civil society organizations at UN conferences and decision-making. CoNGO has international secretariat offices at the UN in Geneva, New York and Vienna.

Thanks to PPSEAWA International’s lead on this project, CoNGO launched a Regional Committee in Asia Pacific (RCAP) on 12-13 May 2017, prior to the 73rd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand.

RCAP aims to facilitate Asia-Pacific NGOs’ participation in all UN and CoNGO activities globally and regionally, through cooperation with UNESCAP and other UN bodies and agencies. RCAP’s mission is to bolster the voice of civil society throughout the Asia Pacific region, with particular focus on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030.


RCAP met on 25-26 April 2024 at Siam University in Bangkok, Thailand, during the 80th session of UNESCAP. The first day included a welcome address by Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, president of Siam University and President Emeritus of the International Association of University Presidents. CoNGO First Vice President Cyril Ritchie set the stage by introducing the two facets of RCAP: the implementation of the SDGs and a panel on the role of artificial intelligence in promoting the SDGs in his opening remarks.

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs checks the progress toward specific goals each year. So, as a member of the RCAP Steering Committee, I reported on PPSEAWA programs implementing Goal 1 Poverty Alleviation, Goal 2 Zero Hunger, Goal 13 Climate Action, Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals , kindly prepared by our International Secretary Mei Chuan Chao, with input from several PPSEAWA NMOs. Another Steering Committee member also reported, Hiro Sakurai, president of Soka Gakkai International. We enjoyed an evening reception hosted by Siam University.

Dr. Ritchie drew attention to several opportunities for NGO engagement with the UN:

  • Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Antigua from 27-30 May 2024;
  • Summit of the Future (SOTF) in New York, 20-21 September 2024;
  • World Social Summit 2025 (Copenhagen + 30) in 2025
  • 2025 UN Ocean Conference France, 9 – 13 June 2025

The second day centered around a panel on “Artificial Intelligence and Yet Real, for Sustainable Development and Humanity”. Subtopics included:

  • Human Rights and Ethical Dimensions of AI
  • AI and Digital Justice
  • Regional AI Research Supporting Sustainable Development

One panelist, Peter Lin, Ph.D. (President of STUF United Fund), provided some considerations:

  • It is imperative that we leverage technological benefits while safeguarding individual privacy through transparent algorithms and robust data governance
  • We need to employ techniques that detect and mitigate AI’s biases
  • Many developing regions are without basic digital services, despite being integral to services from healthcare to government access
  • We must enforce regulatory frameworks that ensure AI technologies support fair and open democratic discourse

Dr. Lin also gave examples in the Asia Pacific on how AI supports sustainable development:

  • smart farming in India that optimizes water use and crop yields
  • AI-driven biodiversity protection in Indonesia
  • smart cities in Taiwan where AI optimizes traffic, energy consumption, and waste management

Finally, Dr. Lin highlighted how the Asia-Pacific AI for Social Good Research Network exemplifies how regional collaboration can tackle broad issues like climate change and healthcare.

PPSEAWA especially is deeply grateful for the continuing support of Dr. Mongkhonvanit and Siam University.


Photo of participants includes: Prof. Cyril Ritchie (1st VP of CoNGO), Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit (President of Siam University), Hiro Sakurai (President of Soka Gakkai International), Peter Lin, Ph.D. (President of STUF United Fund), John Lin, CPA (CEO of STUF United Fund) and Mme. Lin, Fred Chen (President of Taiwan Creative Economy Association), Patti Tang (Taiwan Creative Economy Association), Sheila Bordier (Senior Associate of CoNGO), along with Sawitta Wichitrakorn and Mondhiya Bhangsbha (PPSEAWA). Others are staff and students of Siam University.