Thursday, October 14, 2010

Remarks at the Opening Session: “Quality of Life, Achieving Greater Wellbeing and More Dignity for All Citizens”

8th Asia-Europe Summit

Brussels, October 4-5, 2010

- Excellency Chairman of the Meeting,

- Excellencies Heads of States/Governments

- Distinguished Delegates

Today, it is my great honor to join the Distinguished Leaders of Asia and Europe to express Cambodia’s view at the 8th ASEM Summit. I would like to thank the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Belgium for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting. Taking this opportunity, Cambodia would like to join the Leaders of Asia and Europe to welcome Australia, New Zealand and Russian Federation to be Members of ASEM.

This year’s meeting marks an important historical milestone in reforming the global economic architecture especially the way we deal with the consequences of the recent global financial crisis, which has direct impacts on the wellbeing, dignity and livelihoods of our citizens.

Generally, the global economy has recovered from the crisis. However, this recovery remains fragile. The real situation shows that the recovery has been led by Asian economies, particularly China and India. Based on this, International Financial Institutions and many other major world economic and financial forums, especially the IMF and G20, emphasize on the necessity of “Global Rebalance”, meaning that it is an in-depth structural change of demand and supply structure in the world market. In this context, the role of the US and Europe markets, which used to be the main growth driver for world economy, will decline, and most of Asian countries, who used to be the suppliers to the US and Europe markets, have to shift their increasing reliance on domestic and regional demand.

The in-depth change has posed a number of challenges for the small and least developed countries including Cambodia, in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals as they used to rely greatly on the US and Europe market and ODA from the developed countries. The key question here is that, on the one hand, it is necessary and urgent to adjust economic structure in order to make a quick integration into regional production chain and trade, aimed at capturing new opportunity emerged from the “global rebalance”. On the other, the possible declining of ODA from developed countries in the short to medium term is critical as this assistance is of great importance for achieving Millennium Development Goals, especially investment in the sources of growth, education, health and other important social sectors, which help reduce poverty and promote the wellbeing of the people.

In current context, in order to achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction, as well as improvement of wellbeing and dignity our people from all walks of life, our meeting should emphasize commitments to the following principles:

(i) Actively promoting the implementation of reforms in all sectors aimed at ensuring the resilience of financial sector and economic stability, which are the foundation for sustainable development.

(ii) Promoting trade and investment liberalization, and the transfer of technology. This agenda is closely linked to the regional and sub-regional integration, such as building the ASEAN Community, the Greater Mekong Sub-region program, ACMECS cooperation, in which we want more active support from our European partners. At the global level, we are committed to exploring and using all means and efforts in order to finalize Doha negotiations on Development agenda as soon as possible.

(iii) Committing to enhance cooperation in agriculture and rural development which is important for poverty reduction and especially assuring food security.

(iv) Paying attention on effort to achieve Millennium Development Goals, which is the key effort to improve the wellbeing and dignity of people by ensuring sustainable ODA.

Indeed, apart from the key issues mentioned earlier, our meeting has a long list of agenda for deliberation covering a wide range of topics related to our cooperation in political, security, economic and cultural areas, aimed at strengthening relationships between the two continents in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. I expect that the discussions and the decisions that we make at this meeting will contribute further to our common efforts, at both regional and global levels, aimed at resolving the critical challenges facing all of us for the benefit of all our countries and people, as well as the world community.

In this regard, I wish a fruitful and great success to our Summit./.

Remarks on Sustainable Development at the 8th Asia-Europe Summit

Brussels, October 4-5, 2010

- Excellency Chairman of the Meeting,

- Excellencies Heads of States/Governments

- Distinguished Delegates

I am delighted once again to be here with distinguished Leaders of Asia and Europe to share my views on this auspicious occasion.

During the opening session, I already shared some views related to sustainable development and improvement of wellbeing and dignity for all citizens. At this juncture, allow me to reemphasize and highlight some more important issues related to sustainable development.

In order prevent a future crisis, promote development and sustainable growth, I believe that Asia and Europe could enhance partnership in the following fields:

First, Strengthen macro-economic policy coordination, expand market openness, oppose and resist to all forms of protectionism, safeguard fair and open global trade and investment. In this regard, Cambodia urges the European partners to increase their support for the efforts aimed at promoting regional and sub-regional integration, such as building the ASEAN Community, the Greater Mekong Sub-region program. At the same time, Cambodia whole-heartedly supports the efforts for the early conclusion of the Doha negotiations on Development agenda under WTO as soon as possible.

Second, Enhance cooperation in agriculture by transferring modern technology to cultivate quality seeds, strengthen environmental and ecological conservation, promote the processing of agro-products, thus increasing farmers’ incomes and reducing poverty in rural areas. Cambodia has a great potential for agricultural productivity improvement to raise the living standard of the people and to accelerate poverty reduction. This will effectively contribute to efforts aimed at ensuring domestic, regional and global food security. In this regard, Cambodia urges the support from the European partners in the areas of investment and technology transfers in order to increase the production of rice and other agricultural products, which Cambodia has a great endowment.

Third, climate change has posed serious challenges to sustainable development at the global level. Therefore, “green” economy must be at the top of the priority list of our development agenda. By recognizing the two-way interaction between biodiversity and climate change, we must ensure that climate change is incorporated into all aspects of development policy to promote sustainable management of natural resources.

Fourth, sealing a new climate change agreement will require unwavering political will. Cambodia fully supports the efforts to address climate change based on the key principles of the United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change, namely “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”, “specific needs and special circumstances of developing country parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” and the “precautionary principle”. Moreover, the principles of the Kyoto Protocol shall be valid for any new international agreement on climate change. Therefore, Cambodia would like to emphasize on the important linkage between the efforts made by developing countries to address challenges of climate change with the financial support and technology transfer committed by developed countries.

Fifth, improved energy efficiency and better use of alternative and renewable energy are key response to address climate change. Therefore, we must encourage increasing investment in clean development mechanisms. At the same time, we must find the fine balance between, on one hand, the development needs of developing countries, especially the least developed countries such as Cambodia and, on the other hand, the urgency to address climate change. In this regard, I would like to reiterate the needs of financial, technical and technological support for least developed countries to deal with critical challenges.

As a least developed country, Cambodia has always attached great importance to sustainable development efforts. During the most difficult period of the global financial and economic crisis, the Royal Government of Cambodia took timely measures to counter negative impacts on Cambodian society and economy. As a result, Cambodia has managed to maintain the stability of the financial sector as well as macro-economic and social stability, especially the normalcy of the people’s livelihoods. The Gross Domestic Product experienced a positive growth of 0.1% in 2009, though very small, as agriculture and services sector maintained robust growth. Moreover, the efforts made by Cambodia in promoting agriculture and the rural economy turned out with a good outcome, i.e. reduction of poverty by 1% per year in spite of the negative impact caused by the global financial and economic crisis. Economic growth in 2010 is estimated to be 5%. Next year the economy is expected to grow over 6%.

We fully acknowledge the bonded link between the major components of sustainable development, such as economic development, social safety nets, the need for environmental protection, including sustainable management and sustainable use of natural resources, and responses to climate change. In this spirit, Cambodia has been working hard to fulfill its own obligation, according to its capacity and capability, within regional and global frameworks./.

Remarks for Press Conference at the 8th Asia-Europe Summit

Brussel, October 4-5, 2010

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

H.E Chairman and other speakers have already underlined key points of the meeting. Taking this opportunity, as ASEAN coordinating country, I would like to highlight some key points from the ASEAN perspectives.

First of all, I believe that this year’s Summit is a relevant and important forum to discuss issues related to the recovery in the post global financial crisis and issues related to sustainable development in the long run.

We all recognize that it is necessary to exert joint efforts internationally, at regional, inter-regional and global level, in order to prevent future crises and to ensure sustainable development that would bring progress and prosperity to our countries and people. In this regard, Cambodia expresses her full support for the cooperation agenda and the enhanced Asia-Europe partnership which our meeting discussed and agreed upon, reflected in the Chair Statement and the Declaration of the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting on Global Economic Crisis, as the outcome of our meeting.

If we look back for a while, we will see that Asia-Europe cooperation, under the ASEM framework, has achieved significant progress both in terms of quantity and in terms of quality since its establishment in 1996. Indeed, the enhanced understanding and closer cooperation between Asia and Europe will not only bring about peace, security, stability, progress, development and prosperity to countries and nations of our two regions, but will also make an invaluable contribution to our joint efforts in achieving peace and progress of countries and people in the world.

There is another point which I would like to emphasize. Indeed, for ASEAN, Europe is the region which has achieved a remarkable progress in regional integration and community building. Although, ASEAN is in different political, economic, cultural and historical context from Europe, our aspiration in building ASEAN Community living in peace, prosperity and harmony might not be different from the vision of the European people. Therefore, ASEAN has attached a great interest in learning, exchanging experience and promoting cooperation with Europe. In this regard, we always reemphasize again and again our aspiration to encourage our European partners to increase support for regional and sub-regional integration efforts such as ASEAN Community building, GMS and ACMECS, etc.

To sum up, as a member of ASEM and ASEAN coordinating country, Cambodia would like to express our satisfaction with the importance and the growing cooperation between Asia and Europe in the ASEM framework. Moreover, we also admit, in our cooperation framework, many potentials have not yet been maximized its usage. Therefore, we all expressed a joint commitment to enhancing this cooperation to be more proactive for the benefit of our countries and people as well as of the world community.

Finally, I would take this opportunity to thank people and government of Belgium for the excellent arrangements for this meeting and warm hospitality extended to all of us.

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