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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

19 August 2021


Excellency Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation,

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,  

It is my pleasure to speak at this ceremony to officially launch Cambodia’s Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap 2030.

Harnessing the potential of science, technology and innovation – or STI - will be pivotal for Cambodia to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and build back better from the pandemic with inclusivity, resiliency and sustainability.  

The Asia-Pacific region has many examples of how STI can lead to economic development. However, if not properly managed, the transformative potential of STI can accentuate existing inequalities and create new types of social divides and environmental hazards. 

In this sense, the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the fragility of development strategies that rely on narrow economic objectives.

In the early months of 2020, the disruption of global supply chains led to shortages of essential goods, factories closures and an overall decline in global consumption.

Developing countries have been affected the most since their economies still depend heavily on a few sectors such as tourism and export-oriented agriculture and manufacturing. The crisis has also disproportionally affected marginalized communities and vulnerable groups like women, who represent  a major workforce in sectors such as the garment industry.

Therefore, it will also be essential to broaden the scope of STI policies beyond the economic imperative to consider social progress and environmental protection and put inclusion at the heart of STI policies to leave no one behind.

Such strategic policymaking can only succeed if implemented by a government with courage, ambition and leadership capable of seeing beyond short-term gains and committed to a long-term plan for national prosperity.

For that, I commend the Royal Government of Cambodia for your vision and ambition to leverage STI for inclusive and sustainable development.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Roadmap will guide government officials and other key stakeholders on the critical actions required to enhance national STI capabilities and nurture a dynamic innovation ecosystem.

Cambodia’s STI Roadmap 2030 has five policy strategies:

  1. Enhance the governance structure of the STI system,
  2. Develop the national STI workforce,
  3. Strengthen research capacity and quality,
  4. Increase collaboration and linkages between different stakeholders, and
  5. Foster an enabling ecosystem for innovation.

But the public sector cannot achieve these strategies alone.

The benefits and risks of innovation must be shared fairly. Multiple stakeholders, such as research and academic institutions, corporations, start-ups, development partners and civil society, need to actively engage in STI activities.

We must also encourage inclusive participation in the creation and management of innovation. Cambodia’s Vision 2050 will only be possible if the collective creative potential of the whole nation is fully unleashed.

Transformative ideas may originate even from the most unexpected sources.

Therefore, policy instruments should promote the participation of underrepresented groups in innovative and entrepreneurial activities, such as women, rural workers and other communities outside of the capital.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The international community and development partners have a supportive role in developing Cambodia’s national STI capabilities by providing financial and technical support to innovative activities and helping to create educational centers of excellence and modern industries in Cambodia.

ESCAP has been supporting the Government of Cambodia since 2018 in the development of national STI policies for inclusive and sustainable development.

And to this end, the STI Roadmap and accompanying report are a celebration of the fruitful partnership between ESCAP and the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation. The remarkable effort dedicated to this STI Roadmap 2030 was only made possible through the collaborative work of both institutions.

Furthermore, the contribution of multiple national stakeholders that shared their insights during national consultations and workshops must be acknowledged.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude, our partnership will also remain active even after this Roadmap is launched. Building on this work, ESCAP is also supporting the development of Cambodia’s National Research Agenda. This new and ambitious project is set to identify the overarching scientific challenges for the future of the nation and enable thematic prioritization and efficient allocation of resources.  

I sincerely hope that the ambitious STI policies that we have co-created advance the goal of building a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for Cambodia.

I wish you every success with the future development of STI in Cambodia, and ESCAP stands ready to continue to support you on this journey. 

Thank you very much.


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