UNDP Administrator pledges to bridge ASEAN development gap
Ha Noi - UNDP is ready to help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bridge the development gap between its older and new members, said UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown who is attending for the first time the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) held on Thursday in Ha Noi.
"While ASEAN has taken the initiative of rapidly expanding its membership, the development gap between the older and new members is a serious challenge. UNDP is helping poorer countries in the region to build the capacity and policy frameworks necessary to bridge it". The UNDP Administrator cited exemples of ongoing programmes such as helping Viet Nam develop its first national Public Administration Reform strategy, assisting Cambodia in coordinating international assistance for the February 2002 Commune Elections and supporting the Government of Lao PDR in fiscal management, governance and public administration reform.
Narrowing the development gap within ASEAN has been placed top of the agenda for the Ha Noi meeting. The ASEAN foreign ministers endorsed the Hanoi Declaration Monday afternoon at the end of a session of the 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, calling for collective efforts in ASEAN to narrow the development gap within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and other parts of the world. Priority will be given to infrastructure, human resources development, and information and communication technology.
UNDP's support to ASEAN focuses on 6 key areas including Managing Global Integration, Institution Building, Reducing Poverty in countries and between countries, Energy and the Environment, Natural disaster mitigation, Making New Technologies Work for the Poor. "These are the fracture lines where without capacity building, good policies and increased South-South cooperation the ASEAN region may miss out on global opportunities. They are the strategic areas where successful intervention now will help ensure this region continues to soar even higher in the future" said UNDP Administrator.
The PMC groups foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN members countries and its dialogue partners, including the US, Japan, China, Russia, Canada, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand the European Union and UNDP.
During his two-day stay in Hanoi, Mr. Malloch Brown will also pay a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and hold talks with Vietnamese senior officials. The main purpose of these meetings is to deepen Vietnamese appreciation and understanding of the changing role of UNDP in development cooperation, and seek feedback on how UNDP can best assist Viet Nam.
UNDP Public Information Unit at(04) 942 149