|A worker installs an electric power meter for ethnic Vân Kiều minorities in Cu Vơ Village, Hướng Hóa District in the central province of Quảng Trị. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngọc Hà|
HCM CITY — Lack of funding for investment and development is a major challenge for remote areas in the Asia-Pacific, posing a threat to quality of life and sustainable economic growth in the region, experts said on Thursday at a meeting in HCM City.
Representatives from the academic sector and officials from 21 APEC economies met at a high-level policy dialogue on bridging the gap in economic development in remote areas in the APEC Region.
Speaking at the meeting, Valery Sorokin, APEC Senior Official from Russia, said: “Currently, the development of remote areas is one of the most pressing issues both for global and regional economies.”
The high-level dialogue, chaired by the SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), discussed Russia’s revised proposal on convening the policy dialogue.
“One of the major challenges is the lack of funding which hinders remote areas in the Asia-Pacific region from developing and prospering,” he told Việt Nam News. “These areas are faced with limited budgets for socio-economic development.”
The Asia-Pacific region is diverse in terms of its economic development, but many remote areas suffer from deep economic and social problems.
“These problems can only be solved with active support of the governments and business communities, and timely application of appropriate measures,” he said.
Osborne Sandra, delegate from Papua – New Guinea, said remote areas faced a number of general bottlenecks, including a lower level of industrial and social development and weaker development of infrastructure.
“Insufficient development of remote areas hinders economic growth and brings a number of problems, such as social tension, a financial burden and irregular distribution, corruption and crime,” he said.
In 2015, 90 million people in East Asia and the Pacific live in extreme poverty and another 300 million people are vulnerable to falling back into poverty as a result of climate change, natural disasters, disease, and economic shock, according to the World Bank.
The majority of the poor live in rural communities in remote and isolated areas.
Representatives from APEC member economies also discussed the feasibility of implementing new holistic approaches aimed at enhancing the development of remote areas in the APEC region.
The Russian delegates said specific projects and initiatives concerning aspects of remote area development had been carried out separately without any coordination. In addition, there had not been a comprehensive approach to this problem in the APEC region.
No common definition is used by APEC economies for the concept of “remote area”, they added.
The SCE coordinates and manages APEC members’ agendas for economic and technical cooperation, which was outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda.
In 1996, an APEC Framework for Strengthening Economic Cooperation and Development was adopted to guide members in implementing the Osaka Action Agenda.
The SCE’s objectives are to support the implementation of APEC’s economic and technical activities by prioritising work based on commitments made by leaders and ministers and overseeing the work of APEC. — VNS