Helen Clark: Message to the 8th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty ReductionAug 7, 2014
Nay Pyi Taw
Thursday 7 August 2014
I am very pleased to greet all participants in the 8th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
China and the nations of ASEAN have made remarkable progress in human development, poverty reduction, and the improvement of the quality of basic social services. While there is significant potential for this development progress to continue, there are also challenges we faced. For example, it is unlikely that Asia’s past model of growth, heavily based on exports and manufacturing, will be sustainable indefinitely. A number of countries are faced with the specific challenge of not getting stuck in that middle income trap. Significant problems of poverty remain in both rural and urban areas. Income inequality has been rising in a number of countries, and other inequalities also need to be addressed for countries to reach their full potential. And, of course, the costs incurred from exposure to frequent natural disasters are high. The significant transformative changes, already underway in the region, are tackling a lot of these issues, and they will be critical to future development success.
So I am delighted that this ASEAN-China Forum has emerged as a unique platform for dialogue and for the exchange of experiences across poverty reduction social development. These are areas of high policy priority for the region’s governments. The discussion here at the Forum contributes meaningfully to mutual understanding and to taking forward both regional and national development.
At UNDP we are proud to be supporting this Forum for several years and to be making substantive contributions to it. This year we are supporting the proceeding through a presentation on the MDGs Progress and the Post-2015 Agenda looked at from the perspectives of the Asia-Pacific region. A representative from our Asia Pacific Regional Centre in Bangkok will be delivering our presentation.
In conclusion, I congratulate the Government of Myanmar on its chairmanship of ASEAN this year and on hosting this important Forum. I thank, on behalf of UNDP, the International Poverty Reduction Centre in Beijing and the ASEAN Secretariat for their strong partnership with us.
I wish all participants very good discussions and I do look forward to hearing of the outcome of what you’ve all had to say.