Your Excellency Xi Jinping, President of People’s Republic of China
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today, I have great honor and pleasure to attend the “2015 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum”. At the outset, I would like to express my high appreciation to the Government of People’s Republic of China for perfectly hosting this forum and warmly welcoming me and Cambodian delegates. Today’s topic on “Common Development through Shared Effort on Poverty Eradication” is of great importance and at a right time while countries and nations around the world just adopted global development agenda that continue to focus on poverty reduction in the next 15 years. As a highlight, this forum is held to celebrate the “23rd Anniversary of International Day for Eradication of Poverty” and the “2nd Anniversary of China’s Poverty Reduction Day” and this is important event for the global leaders and other related stakeholders to share experiences and perspectives on strategies of poverty reduction.
Certainly, in the past two decades, through implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations (UN) and implementation of each country’s policies and strategies, the poverty specifically extreme poverty, has been drastically eliminated. According to the report of UN on MDGs, around 1 billion people have been brought out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015. Out of this figure, the number of poor people in developing countries whose earned income under 1.25$ per day have decreased from 50 percent in 1990 to just 14 percent in 2015. Southeast Asian is considered as the leading in term of achieving the target of reducing the rate of people living below poverty line, as poverty rate decreased from 46% in 1990 to only 7% in 2015. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the People’s Republic of China on the great achievement in reducing poverty from 60% in the early 1990s to just 4% in 2015.
Similar to other countries around the world, Cambodia has also introduced sector-wide and sectoral policy and strategy as well as has heavily invested in economic and social infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and irrigation systems, education, health, and other social services in order to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, socio-economic development and ensure poverty reduction of more than targeted 1% per annum. With these efforts, Cambodia achieved annual average economic growth 7.7% in these past two decades in which listed as one of the 8 highest rate of growth in the world by the World Bank. GDP per capita has remarkably increased from 253 USD in 1998 to 1,225 USD in 2015. As the result, poverty rate was reduced from 53.2% in 2004 to 13.5% in 2014, which Cambodia is ranked the world’s 4th most successful country in poverty reduction by achieving CMDGs poverty reduction target well before the end of 2015 along with four other targets, including child mortality rate, maternal health, and so forth.
The above achievements of Cambodia could not be possible without the generous supports from all development partners, especially the Chinese friend, who has helped Cambodia in physical infrastructure investment as well as building institutional capacity and human resource. In this regard, People’s Republic of China has not only succeeded in eradication of poverty in its own, but has also actively contributed to poverty reduction of many countries around the world, which we witnessed and should acknowledge its role. Therefore, on behalf of the people and government of Cambodia, I would like to deeply appreciate the people and government of People’s Republic of China for the contribution in this cause. In addition, I also would like to reiterate the support and highly appreciate the key role of China in the regional development through the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative as well as the initiative of H.E. President Xi Jinping aimed at contributing to the realization of Post 2015 Development Agendas that recently announced in UN Summit.
Along with the proudness of poverty reduction, I think that eradication the remaining poverty and elevate livelihood of people just above the poverty line remains our primary challenges. The people are living closely to the poverty line, the people living in rural areas, those who are deprived of any protection from the government or those who receive minimal economic opportunity are prone to falling back into poverty against economic shock or natural disasters such as droughts, rising food price and oil price, etc. Furthermore, the current economic and social architecture of the globalization, the rapid evolution of inter-dependency in social and economic environment around the globe or in some regions such as political conflict, social instability, uncertainty in the world’s economy and finance, and the falling price of agriculture products have complicated and challenged the efforts of reducing poverty in the future.
Because poverty is a multifaceted issue, and in order to ensure the success of our undertaking in continuing to eradicate poverty in the future, I think that what we all must do is to create opportunity for all the people to participate in socio-economic activities through the following important measures:
First, maintaining long-term high economic growth and promoting a transformation of economic structure to be more productive, particularly through promoting SMEs development, attracting investment and increasing investment in physical infrastructure for better linkages between rural to urban areas and to market as well as to other countries in the region;
Second, since the majority of poor people are farmers, especially during the time of falling price of the agriculture products, we need to pay more attention to investing in agriculture and relevant infrastructure such as irrigation and water management system, and continue to provide support services, new technologies as well as other inputs to the sector for enhancing productivity, production and export. Additionally, severity of natural disasters such as droughts and floods are predicted to be frequent due to climate change. Therefore, the future solutions for food security will become even more pressing priority, particularly the management and mitigation of negative impacts of climate change as well as adapting agriculture system along with more frequent natural disasters;
Third, accelerating implementation of trade liberalization policies especially through improving trade facilitation, providing preferential treatments to developing countries, and reducing trade barriers for diversifying export products and markets in the region and the world;
Fourth, upgrading quality of education and skill trainings that generate value addition, particularly in science, technology, and engineering as well as promote professional careers and strengthen vocational education along with other important social protection programs; and
Fifth, promoting financial inclusion and providing easy access to sources of finance in order to give opportunity to all the people to use financial services.
Obviously, each individual country will not able to achieve the greatest endeavor of eliminating poverty alone. We need to come together to achieve this goal. This indicates the significance of strengthening global alliance to reduce and eradicate poverty which remains our main global issues in the post-2015 development agenda or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this spirit, Cambodia urges all nations and relevant stakeholders to exhibit political will and economic and financial commitment to achieve this primary objective.
Finally, I wish the Forum great success and wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen good health and prosperity in your endeavors.