Excellency Chair of the Meeting,
Excellencies GMS Leaders and ADB President,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
On behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, I would like to congratulate H.E. U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on his assumption of the Chairmanship of this 4th GMS Summit. I would like also to express our deep gratitude to the People and Government of Myanmar for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
Since we have limited time, allow me to contribute my comments as follows:
1- The New GMS Strategic Framework
I highly appreciate the ADB President for the comprehensive report including the proposed new GMS Strategic Framework to meet the challenges over the next decade. The new Strategic Framework will have wider implications for regional integration and cooperation. In this spirit, in order to implement this new framework, we should together define clearly the key priorities, and consider how to engage partners and mobilize enough resources for the program. Thus, ADB’s continued and proactive role is indispensible in this new development stage.
2- Strengthening of GMS Resource Mobilization
A sufficient resource mobilization has proved to be very critical to the success of the first GMS strategic framework and programs adopted in 2002 in Phnom Penh. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the substantial funding provided by ADB over the past decade on specific projects of the hard components including cross-border infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications and power. A lot of resources both financial and technical assistance were put on the soft components including sub-regional policies, regulations and strategies on facilitation of travel, transport, trade, investments, information and HRD.
An adequate resource mobilization will continue to be even more important for the GMS’s overall success in the implementation of the new Strategic Framework (2012-2022). Therefore, I would like to urge the ADB to continue its critical role in this endeavor especially when we are pursuing the multi-sector approach and inter/intra-sector coordination. Here I would like to make a proposal to the President of ADB. There have been positive changes in Myanmar, which has been warmly received by the international community. As a matter of fact, our Summit is being held in the Capital Nay Pyi Taw , and the President of Myanmar is chairing and hosting this Summit. Myanmar will assume ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014. However, Myanmar, an active member of the GMS, has not received a full support from the ADB. I think it is time for change. In this new context, I would like to ask the ADB to consider providing a full support to Myanmar- the same support ADB extends to other countries who are the members of ADB, and the equal members of ASEAN and GMS cooperation program. Reconsidering such a full support will realistically and substantially contribute to our efforts in reducing the development divide and regional integration.
In contributing and further strengthening efforts in resource mobilization for our GMS, I would like to propose as follows:
- Strong commitment by all stakeholders to play their respective role in the development of GMS. Thus GMS member countries should improve their functionality and effectiveness through increasing institutional capacity and better coordination for effective implementation of GMS’s programs. This will help strengthen the trust and confidence of development partners on our GMS’s programs, resulting in growing long-term support for the implementation of our new strategic framework and action plans.
- Continued special attention on capacity building of the less-developed members including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to enable them to benefit from and contribute fully to the sub-regional and broader regional cooperation and integration. This requires us to continue the development of concrete projects and programs, drawing experiences and lessons learnt from the previous works such as in the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management (PPP).
- Exploring a ‘south-south cooperation’ where big and small member countries will share resources and cost of financing of our program activities. In this context, I highly appreciate the substantial contribution provided by China in the past to the development of GMS’s programs, and wish emphasize the increasingly important role of ADB in its capacity as secretariat, advisor, financier, and lead development partner in coordinating the implementation of our new activities.
- The prioritization and sequencing of our future investments and policies in order to engage private sector to participate in major infrastructure and other key development projects. The public private partnerships (PPP) must be encouraged to be even more active. Thus special attention should be given to enhancing and encouraging SMEs participation. Therefore, I appreciate the assistance to Cambodia provided by ADB, aiming to strengthen the Public-Private Sector Participation framework which was introduced recently.
- The GMS connectivity is not a stand-alone project. It is one of the key components under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, in which the ADB is the lead development partner in making the ASEAN Infrastructure fund operational in the near terms. This Fund will play an important role in promoting private sector participation in investing in the infrastructure connectivity among countries and economic corridors in the region. Moreover, we should explore possibility to create a window for concessional borrowing in the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund in order to enable the poorer countries who are both GMS and ASEAN members to access this source of funding. All these require us to ensure that the GMS Program is better coordinated with the broader ASEAN cooperation framework in order to engage all ASEAN Partners, including the Plus 1, the Plus 3 and other partners concerned. This will not only build up synergy for related regional and sub-regional programs but also reduce cost/burden on member states and leverage funding from different sources.
Excellency Chair of the Meeting,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
For the topic on economic corridors, I would like to have a short comment as follows:
I noted that tremendous progress has been achieved in connecting the GMS countries with each other. Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) measures have been implemented. Moreover, the recent plan made by the GMS Ministers in Vietnam to connect regional rail lines under the GMS cooperation will not only allow the Singapore-Kunming rail link to be materialized in 2020, but also constitute achieving the connectivity between ASEAN and East Asia in the longer term.
Yet, in order to transform the GMS from the transport corridors into real economic corridors, we should promote more effective implementation of software aspects of the program in order to take the full benefit from past investments on hardware components. This should be a new direction in our cooperation. Thus, it is important to focus on the policy coordination, institutional infrastructure development and trade facilitation, including the promotion of economic activities and investments, especially through the removal of non-tariff barriers and facilitation in terms of inspection procedures for cross-border trade, transit and transport as well as the establishment of SEZs along economic corridors and so on which we have strived for many years in order to translate them into a real facilitation for the free flows of good, services and investment.
In this regard, Cambodia highly appreciates the valuable contribution of ADB, and would like to welcome all the development partners like Australia, EU, Japan, and others, those who expressed continued commitment in assisting the GMS Cross Border Trade Agreement (CBTA), and providing other financial and technical supports for the implementation of trade and transport facilitation, energy and human resource development program.
It is indeed challenging to promote the software cooperation. It is more sophisticated than the hardware cooperation or physical infrastructure connectivity. Thus it requires strong political determination and commitments, flexibility and innovation, including active coordination in the preparation and implementation of policies, strategies, programs and action plans at all levels – national, sub-regional and regional ones. At national level, we should incorporate all aspects of GMS and other sub-regional and regional cooperation into the national policies, strategies and development plans at all levels. At the sub-regional and regional levels, we need to ensure consistency and complimentaries of all the initiatives, programs and projects of all the concerned cooperations.