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Development goals in focus at Siem Reap meet

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A symposium of development goals kicked off in Siem Reap on Monday. Niem Chheng

Development goals in focus at Siem Reap meet

A two-day symposium kicked off in Siem Reap on Monday, jointly hosted by members of Asean, China and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The meeting sought to focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discuss ways of alleviating poverty.

Haoliang Xu, the UN assistant secretary-general and UNDP director for Asia-Pacific said: “This symposium is about how the government, the UN agency, and other partners, including the private sector and civil society organisations can work together to achieve sustainable development goals as soon as possible.

“Development goals cannot be achieved only at the national level. They are actually achieved through local-level action.

“That’s why in this conference we are focusing on the localisation of the SDGs, and how the countries can work in partnership to achieve SDGs at the local level,” Xu said.

The event saw the presence of over 140 participants from the 10 Asean countries, China, UNDP, and relevant developmental partners.

Xu laid out five “enablers”, which included a policy and institutional framework, stakeholder engagement, reliable data, financing, and innovation.

He gave an example of Indonesia, where there is a presidential decree stating that the state should support the localisation of SDGs.

In Vietnam, he said, mountainous minorities needed special protection, while in Cambodia there is a good example within the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone where the conditions of workers have been improved.

Resources from China

Xu added that, while Asean economic growth was important, “you also need to have stronger social protection because not everybody can benefit from growth, especially marginalised populations. Also, youth need to be helped with skills, leadership and entrepreneurship”.

China, he said, played an important role in providing financial support for the SDGs.

“The UNDP has a traditional partnership with Asean, but we don’t have the kind of financial resources that are necessary to support this collaboration.

“China is very unique because the country has a lot of developmental experience to offer. After opening up to the world economy, China can also provide support,” he said.

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