About Summit

Speech by H.E. Le Luong Minh Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
at the 1st Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit - 17th October 2012


Your Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait,
Your Excellency Madam Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand,
Majesties, Excellencies Distinguishe Delegates,

On behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the Government and people of the State of Kuwait for their excellent arrangements for the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit and for their generous hospitality reserved for our Delegation. I would also like to congratulate the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand for its success n coordinating the work of the ACD. We warmly welcome the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan joining the ACD.

The Summit today marks a new milestone in the history of the ACD' s development. Since its early inception, the ACD has never ceased to strive for the promotion of the continent-wide peace, prosperity and harmony. United in diversity, ACD member states have closely worked together in two intertwined dimensions, namely dialogue and projects, to cover 20 cooperation areas of crucial importance for pan-Asian inclusive and sustainable development. While dialogue helps create a common ground on Asia's development agenda thus consolidating its shared values in the international arena, the concrete projects initiated by prime movers have advanced Asian collaboration in practical and fruitful ways. Asia, therefore, continues to be one of the world's most dynamic regions.

Yet, Asia is now facing great challenges to its development due to both external and internal risks. While the unresolved Eurozone crisis and the global weak economic recovery pose the biggest downside threat to the regional outlook, domestic structural problems are equally held liable for slowing down the pace of development of an export-oriented Asia. Accounting for more than half of the world's population and nearly 40% of its gross domestic product (GDP), Asia remains home to 2/3 of the world's poor. The region's considerable infrastructure gap has hampered cross-border connectivity limiting the expansion of its trade and services at both regional and global levels. Economic growth has been realized at the substantial environmental cost, making Asia among most vulnerable to the risks of climate change.

In order to successfully cope with the above challenges, as an exclusively region wide entity in Asia, the ACD must have a clear vision of the parameters that help drive a more sustainable, inclusive and welfare-oriented Asia.

First, Asia needs to enhance its ability to adjust to the protracted weakness of the advanced economies. Since the region's heavy reliance on trade and international markets makes it more vulnerable to global volatility, the best insurance against external risks would be strengthening domestic sources of growth, renovating growth models while boosting intraregional trade and financial integration. Accordingly, policy reforms in Asian countries should first and foremost aim to develop more effective macroeconomic frameworks, ensuring more inclusive and sustainable growth. Only by strengthening its internal economic fundamentals can Asia offset the severe impact of the weakening global environment. Besides, enhanced regional policy coordination is needed especially in the financial sector to help Asian countries respond more effectively to shocks and crises. The ACD is among the ideal venues to build a common agenda for a sustainable pro-growth Asia. In this connection, I also welcome the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the fund for development projects in Asian countries.

Second, regional cooperation mechanisms must also focus on response to development challenges directly affecting the livelihood of millions of people in the region. A long-term, concerted and sustained strategy should be developed to address the nexus of water, food and energy security in Asia. As the growth of populations, the change of consumption patterns and the craving of energy for fast economic growth in Asia have simultaneously compromised the sustainable use of water, food and energy, a nexus approach will help resolve trade-offs in the management of the three issues. Failing to recognize the impact of one on another would lead to notable inefficiencies in addressing each problem alone. Most of all, building water security, food security and energy security and sustaining them all together is an integral part of the drive toward poverty reduction.

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