Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed my pleasure to speak at the launch of Cambodia’s National Research Agenda 2025.
Harnessing the potential of science, technology and innovation (STI) will be very important to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.
To do so, we need to build innovation ecosystems and capabilities that can solve the pressing economic, social and environmental challenges of our time.
A national innovation system must be grounded on a solid research framework to deliver inclusive and sustainable development and create a resilient nation.
The National Research Agenda 2025 is a strategic and timely document to enhance and direct research efforts. It identifies the critical scientific challenges for the future of Cambodia and enables prioritization and efficient allocation of resources.
The agenda rightly seeks to steer research towards supporting national development priorities – from enhancing domestic food production to expanding quality education and health services.
The agenda also identifies four pathways to achieve such research missions: investing in research, building the capabilities of public research institutions, and supporting researchers and research collaboration.
Such a strategic agenda can only succeed if implemented by a government with a clear vision and leadership capable of seeing beyond short-term gains and committed to a long-term plan for national development.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has shown such vision and leadership: through the establishment of the new Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation; the adoption of Cambodia’s “STI Roadmap 2030,” which established a clear vision to leverage STI for inclusive and sustainable development; and now with the adoption of the National Research Agenda 2025.
However, vision alone is not sufficient ; we also need effective implementations, which in turn require substantive investments and a whole of government approach to realize the vision.
Promoting research is a long-term strategic investment in the future of the country and requires the participation of all including line ministries, public research institutions, universities, private sector and international development partners in the design, financing as well as implementation of the envisaged actions.
Fast-emerging countries in our region make substantive and sustained investments in education and in research and development. This National Research Agenda must pave the way for sustained and growing investments in critical research for the wellbeing of the people of Cambodia.
ESCAP is currently facilitating a process for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to develop a South-South collaboration programme on STI for the SDGs. Cambodia is taking advantage of this collaboration programme to further build capacities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Over the past few years, we have supported governments in aligning STI policies to the SDGs, developing more inclusive digital strategies, and asking businesses to look beyond the profit imperative by promoting social and women’s entrepreneurship, inclusive business and impact investing.
We are delighted to have supported the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation in developing evidence-based policies capable of unlocking the creative potential of the Cambodian people and guiding the country towards the realization of Cambodia’s Vision 2050.
I wish you every success with the future development of STI in Cambodia, and we stand ready to continue to support you on this journey.
Thank you very much.