H.E. Mr. Chhem Kieth Rethy, Minister Delegate attached to Prime Minister and Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation (MISTI), Cambodia
Mr. Kitipong Promwong, President, Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Thailand
Mr. Souksavath Sihapanya, Director General, Department of Science, Ministry of Education and Sport (MOES), Lao PDR
Mr. Nguyen Duc Hoang, Deputy Director General, State Agency for Technology Innovation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Viet Nam
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you all to the launch of this initiative, “South-South and Triangular Collaboration on Science, Technology and Innovation among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.”
The need for collaboration between countries is more urgent than ever. Countries are facing common challenges - including post-COVID recovery, energy and food crises and the climate emergency – which transcend national boundaries.
However, it is not all bad news. The pandemic has catalyzed scientific vaccine breakthroughs and accelerated digital transformation at an unprecedented pace. Corporations, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups are realigning their objectives to the Sustainable Development Goals, developing innovations that benefit people and the planet while at the same time generating profit.
The grand challenges we collectively face today demand forward-looking and innovative solutions that go beyond business as usual. And science, technology and innovation – or STI – can immensely benefit the economy, society and the environment.
The Asia-Pacific region has many examples of the application of STI for inclusive and sustainable development.
By leveraging these experiences through knowledge exchange, technology transfer and open innovation, the CLTV countries have an opportunity to leapfrog into more advanced technological paradigms together, to enable environments for innovation, which are better suited to address the common challenges we face today.
Over the past few years, ESCAP have been actively supported governments in the Asia-Pacific region to align STI policies to the sustainable development goals, to develop more inclusive digital strategies and to motivate business to look beyond the profit imperative by promoting social and women’s entrepreneurship, inclusive business, and impact investing.
I hope that these experiences will add value to this new partnership between CLTV countries by drawing from effective practices and lessons learned across the region.
In closing, I would like to reemphasize the point that the grand challenges we face today are common challenges that require multilateral cooperation.
I commend all stakeholders from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam for committing to working together to harness STI for inclusive and sustainable development.
Indeed, the initiative we are launching today is a testament to the true spirit of the United Nations – a partnership built on the collaborative efforts of governments and all stakeholders – united to develop a shared vision and also at the same time to be pragmatic and to be able to translate it on the ground this concrete deliverables and projects.
To achieve the SDGs, countries need to leverage STI. By facilitating south-south and triangular collaboration in this area, we hope to boost national innovation capabilities, tackle high-priority challenges.
In closing, it is a privilege and honor for ESCAP to facilitate this process and we hope and I understand that this is just the beginning of a series of further meetings as well as activities and ESCAP stands ready to support you all – along the way.