ASEAN leaders gathering agrees to reduce disparity

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Heads of state/governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to reduce disparity in development in the member countries during an ASEAN Leaders Gathering held on the sidelines of the IMF-WB Annual Meetings.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in a press statement after the ASEAN Leaders Gathering at Hotel Sofitel here on Thursday said ASEAN leaders agreed on the importance of reducing disparity and gaps in development in each member country and between member countries.

"The step is important to assure that no one is left behind," he said in the company of Singapores Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

President Jokowi also underlined the importance of a synergy between the regional organization and the United Nations.

He also emphasized the importance of Sustainable Development Goals, which are also taken on priority by Indonesia while it is a non-permanent member of the UN.

"During the meeting, I also raised several issues including the importance of the mechanism of regional and global cooperation for sustainable development efforts after disasters," he said.

President Jokowi also emphasized the importance of prioritizing SDGs in the national development of each member country.

He also underlined the importance of synergy between regional and global organizations and financial institutions to achieve the SDGs.

"Regarding ASEAN, it is important for ASEAN and the UN to synergize the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 with the 2030 development agenda. One of the challenges to achieve the SDGs is funding," he said.

In view of that, President Jokowi said Indonesia had encouraged innovative funding sources such as blended finance.

He said technology advancement must also be used to achieve SDGs. "As an example, I refer to the development of the teachers room application in Indonesia," he said.

President Jokowi also conveyed the several steps that have been taken and achievements made toward SDGs, including the reduction of poverty from one digit to 9.8 percent in 2018 and increasing access to clean water for households to 76.74 percent.

Access to health services through national health insurance has reached 77.78 percent, while the number of stunting children has dropped to 29.6 percent in 2018 and inclusive education quality has increased, marked by a rough participation rate of 108.5 percent.

"No less important is the big progress in infrastructure development to realize SDG number 9," he said.

The ASEAN Leaders Gathering was attended by President Jokowi, Singapores Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, ASEAN secretary general Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Brunei Darussalams Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmars President U Win Mying, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Thai Prime minister General Prayit Chan-o-cha, Vietnams Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The meeting, co-chaired by the Indonesian president and Singapores prime minister, carried a theme of "Achieving SDGs and Overcoming the Development Gap through Regional and Global Collaborative Actions".

A number of cabinet ministers accompanied President Jokowi during the meeting, including coordinating minister for maritime affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, coordinating minister for economic affairs Darmin Nasution, minister/state secretary Pratikno, foreign minister Retno LP Marsudi, finance minister Sri Mulyani and central bank governor Perry Warjiyo.

Source: ANTARA News

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