Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today, I have a great honor and pleasure to participate with Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests in the opening of the third Asia Economic Forum on “Leadership Needs and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century: Asian Perspectives”.
On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I am highly appreciated the initiative of the University of Cambodia in organizing this Asia Economic Forum which offers opportunity for the discussion and dialogue among key policy markers and experts in the region from both public and private sector on “Leadership Needs and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century” that is very essential for our region at the present. I believe that the forum will provide good knowledge and methodologies to assess and set direction for the practices of strategic policies and development plans as well as to promote intellectual innovation and highlight new idea to enhance the needs of leadership in our Asia region and seek proper solution for some difficulties that occurred in the 21st Century.
I hope that this third Asia Economic Forum will synthesize good experiences, comments, suggestions and views to be a roadmap for advancing development in Asia Region and improving quality of life.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that the third Asia Economic Forum on the “Leadership Needs Challenges in the Twenty First Century” that is organizing today follows the momentum of economic development in Cambodia that benefit from some reforms under the framework of Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency. Indeed, the Royal Government has overcome a lot of works given the political stability and peace throughout the country, which are the pre-condition for advancing its effort to reduce poverty, respect human rights and dignities, strengthen democracy and march to sustainable and equitable development.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I would like to thank the Asia Economic Forum that is the independent consultant and University of Cambodia that organized this important forum. Furthermore, I would like to thank Dr. Haruhisa Handa (Dr. Toshu Fukami), the president of International Foundation for Arts and Culture, Tokyo, Japan that financially supported this forum.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to contribute some key overviews to set direction for the discussion on Leadership Needs and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century in the third Asia Economic Forum as follow:
1-Promotion of political stability, peace and security are the inevitable factors for the economic growth, progress and poverty reduction.
It is indeed peace and political stability is the foundation of confidence, progresses and employment creation. All investors always pay attention on this fact before making decision on investment projects in any countries. If a region or country des not have peace and political stability, there would be no development. Therefore, the maintenance of peace and political stability is very important fact of development. In front of us, our leadership should concentrate on promoting cooperation and participation as well as partnership in improving and constantly maintaining political stability, peace and security. If we have done so, the momentum of development for poverty reduction and prosperity in the region and in each country will be sustained.
2-Leadership needs for Asia is the well and effective nation management in the context of globalization.
For the present, the impetus of progress and a great disperse of new knowledge; information technology and telecommunication stimulate the rapid development in the world, particular in the Asia. In the meanwhile, it is clearly that idea, knowledge and know-how have been playing increasingly important role in creating wealth, economic growth and comparative advantages of every nation. However, the globalization currently also brought some challenges such as the risk of increasing oil price, insecurity in some regions, spread of communicable diseases, for example HIV/AIDS and bird flu, as well as development gap and poverty.
In this regard, I think that the main issue is how we, including all leaders, governments and private sectors, can pay attention on the globalization to take real benefit for the nation and people.
3-Leadership of Asia has some challenges needed to be resolved
Those challenges are the development gap between developing and developed country, poverty, environment, security and energy and stability and peace. These issues need an advanced and effective leadership to address and set the clear directions.
It means that we have to exchange ideas and views to address, at the best, risks and challenges in order to sharpen the leadership’s vision and our action plan in the future.
4-Widening the development gap in the region could threaten regional stability and future economic growth.
Although, we are proud of and enjoy the development, we yet cannot entirely reduce the poverty. Though, we made the progresses of the last century, we still face the inequality in human development. In fact, industry and services export in the region that requires highly capable and professional human resources have driven the strong development of the region. Meanwhile, millions of people are living in miserable and out of growth current. Those people not only have no income and are malnutrition, but they are also vulnerable to discrimination in gender, social classes, nationalities and social status or indigenous or unfavorable geographic area.
It is clear that there are many sorts of development gap, for example gap in social class, nationalities, religious and country as well as development gap of the region in the world. Economic growth is an important factor to address these issues, but if this growth did not link to equity and environmental sustainability, it would threaten social stability and security. Therefore, the political progress should link to the equitable distribution to all classes of people in the society, especially the poor and those are outside the development coverage. In this sense, if there is no wise, struggling and long-term strategic leadership, we cannot win of the battle of narrowing the development gap and reducing the poverty. I think that this third Asia Economic Forum will discuss thoroughly on this.
5-Sustainable environmental management is a leadership needs should not overlook to tackle the challenges in the 21st century.
The environmental issue is vital for life of human, animal and nature. Our region and world will face continuous challenges, if those issues were not addressed properly. Indeed, if the weather keep changing , flood and drought alternative occurred, Ozone layer were deteriorated, global warming increased, natural disasters would become more serious. If the natural balance were damaged, not only the development, even the existing of human life would hard to keep. Therefore, the leadership in the region and each country in the environmental sector should be promoted in order to prevent the erosion and damage of natural environment and to assure environmental sustainability that protect the life of a nation and people as well as the happiness, development and succession of the next generation. I believe that to address these issues, we must continue to implement Kyoto Protocol on the climate change. The third Asia Economic Forum should discuss on the immediate and future measures to protect the environment and sustainability. In this regard, I would like to propose the forum to mobilize good comments and suggestions that benefit to promoting leadership and prevent the challenges in the environment.
6-Leadership needs in the 21st Century and energy security
So far, the instability of oil price is a common concern both in Asia and other regions in the world. Indeed, the instability of oil price has great affects on economic growth in the region and each country. Moreover, the high oil price exacerbated poverty and ill-progress of some countries in the region. In this sense, I envision that the immediate measures that need to concentrate on our leadership to promote the cooperation in the energy sector as much as possible in order to find alternative sources of energy such as hydroelectricity, bio-fuel, wind power, wave power and solar energy etc. Besides, there are more measures that the forum may find out after the 2 days discussion.
7-Leadership needs and role of ASEAN in Asia-Pacific and the world
At the same time of great progress in economic, information technology, technical science and development in China, India and Japan, the association of Asia nations have some development in economic and sciences also. Indeed, the progresses have made ASEAN prestigious and important in the Asia and Pacific as well as in the world.
The annual Summit of ASEAN Leaders and ASEAN+1 Summit, ASEAN+3 as well as the Regional ASEAN Forum on security and international cooperation, every year there is an internal Asian meeting, especially a meeting on South East Asia to establish South East Asian community in the near future and a process of establishment of Asian community, which can be implemented in the year 2015. The Asian meeting and all above forum is a profound and speedy development in Asian region, which can get an attention from the rest of the world and broader work collaboration. Therefore, the need for leadership role for enhancing occupation and the importance of Asian in the local and the rest of the world is a leadership role which needed to be continued and pursued to the future. I am confidence with all these meetings, which help strengthening the Asian and expand the group and strengthening internal work collaboration in that region for the better development of the Asian as well as development of the countries member.
In order to reduce problem we are facing in this twenty-first century; what leadership role we need most is acknowledgement of problem we are facing and rationale solution to the problem in trying to eradicate these problems. Obviously, with all of the achievement we are getting from leadership, there are still some issues we need to face with underlying principle and preparation.
First, continue to promote political stability, peace, security in the region and in each country to enable opportunity for development to bring confidence and increase job creation.
Second, continue to promote economic growth and share the wealth of the development to be equitable by encourage stability of macro economic and create friendly environment for investment and participating of private sector, also by providing opportunity to people of all levels to enjoy these successes.
Third, promote leadership by reducing gap of development and poverty reduction by encourage to participating in work collaboration and partnership and helping each other in facing problem, which exist from the globalization and economic liberalization.
Fourth, continue encouraging the implementation of “Millennium Development Goal” to reduce poverty incident which the roof cause of poverty and starvation by putting effort to achieve “Education For All” and also by promoting “Gender Equity”, equal rights and all privileges to all females in every sectors; reduce mortality rate; combatant the spread of HIV/AIDS and all the communicable diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability and encouraging global partnership in order for sustainable development.
Fifth, continue to encourage leadership role and good governance by considering public service delivery for citizen as an important focus; eliminating believes/paradigm that consider leader as commander; instead, accepting a new ideas/paradigm that consider leader as a brilliance servant and facilitator or supporter to serve the need of people.
Sixth, jointly effort to encourage spirit of forecasting and assessing the impact of development in order to narrow down the gap of development and poverty reduction and also promoting decentralization in public services delivery to be secured accordingly and to establish safety protectionism network in the society for citizen, especially the poor in order to prevent vulnerability, which cause by climate change, economic depression, natural disaster and other epidemic and communicable diseases.
Seventh, continue to strengthen and expand regional and global integration through encouraging the establishment of Asian community and South East Asian community in order to widen jointly collaboration in maintaining political stability and security for the development, happiness and prosperity in the region and the world.
I strongly believe that the topic on “Leadership Needs and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century” which we will be discussed in this third Asia Economic forum is extremely important and in the right time for formulating a comprehensive development plan in the future. I hope that after this forum we will be able to mobilize new valuable ideas and new knowledge which is useful for promoting leadership and reducing challenges in this globalization era.
In conclusion, I would like to wish you all with the Five Gems of Buddhist Blessings. May I now declare the official opening of the Third Asia Economic Forum from now on.