– Excellency Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman of the Meeting,
– Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to be here among friends and distinguished leaders. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for making excellent arrangements of this timely and important meeting. Today, we have gathered once again to review opportunities and to address challenges before us.
Globalization has brought countries, communities and different regions of the world closer together in multifarious ways. We seek to improve our own countries to achieve sustainable development through mutual support, fair competition, integration, collaboration and transfer of knowledge and technologies. Indeed, the sustainable development would not be possible if we do not address the issue of security effectively and efficiently because when there is security we will be able to ensure a strong and harmonized society. I believe that our dialogue today will contribute to improving the climate of peace in the region and the world.
Without doubt, we are now facing uncertainty caused by the waves of financial crisis, which is taking a grip on the entire global economy. Combining with some other unfavorable conditions such as rising oil price and food crisis since late 2007, this crisis is threatening the global economy, especially it has put our hard-earned achievement in poverty reduction effort at risk. In this context, with the warm welcome for the joint efforts of the EU and other major economies in the region and the world to immediately address the financial crisis in the short-term, Cambodia believes that it is necessary for both continents to reiterate the commitment to strengthen collaboration and facilitation to improve our ability to cope with risks and challenges, as well as to promote development and balanced economic globalization that we all can benefit.
The current crisis should not be allowed to become a major obstacle in our energetic journey toward sustainable development and elimination of the development gap in the region. In contrast, we should consider these challenges as a valuable lesson which should be transformed into opportunities for both continents through cooperation and mutual support in order to enhance growth and poverty reduction. In this sense, we must be fully committed to realize MDGs, the minimum development goals for our people.
Within this context, I regret that the Monterey Consensus on the transfer of necessary resources in order to achieve the MDGs, which was approved in 2002, has not been fully implemented. It should be noted that only a few European countries have so far met or exceeded the commitment of 0.7% of their revenue for official development assistance. We want to see the Monterey Consensus to be fully and quickly implemented. Certainly, the failure to fulfill this promise will continue to keep millions of people in misery.
Another serious challenge we face is the accelerating environmental deterioration and global warming which can endanger human lives, security, and social cohesion. Deteriorating climate and environment in some countries have caused droughts and famines, conflicts and regional violence. Global warming has had negative effects on food supply, giving rise to food shortage and driving up food prices which impinge adversely on our efforts to reduce poverty. Indeed, we have an opportunity to deal with climate change and energy security through the mechanisms offered under the United Nations Framework Convention in Climate Change (UNFCC) and Kyoto Protocol as the main channels for international negotiation and cooperation.
Sustainable development would not be possible if our dependence on fossil fuels continues unabated because the cost of energy remains relatively high. As energy security is closely related to the sustainable growth of the world economy and sustainable development of all nations, each nation must address its development needs by fully utilizing the natural resources that we have. Together, we need to improve energy efficiency by optimizing energy consumption structures, developing and utilizing renewable energies, and promoting the transfer of advanced energy technologies to developing countries.
The current food shortages around the globe has compelled us to renew our attention on rural development and agricultural productivity improvement. In particular, 80 percent of the population in Cambodia lives in rural areas and relies on agricultural production. There is still a great potential for agricultural productivity improvement to raise the living standard for the people and to accelerate poverty reduction. Agricultural productivity improvement will broaden the economic base, ensure the sustainability of growth, as well as to minimize vulnerability to external shocks as we currently witness. In this sense, I would like to appeal to all partners to help Cambodia increase its agricultural productivity to create more opportunities and raise the income for our people in rural areas.
In conclusion, I strongly hope that our meeting today will significantly contribute to our determination to deal any challenge before us and strengthen cooperation for long-term sustainable development.