- E. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister and Chair of the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting;
- Excellencies ASEAN Transport Ministers;
- Excellency Secretary-General of ASEAN;
- Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen!
Today, I have the great honor to preside over the opening ceremony of the “27th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings” via video conference.
In the current context, in addition to fighting against the spread of COVID-19 and developing strategies to revitalize and boost economic growth, the world is facing many common issues, such as geopolitics, trade wars and climate change. At the regional level, to address all these issues for the benefit and prosperity of ASEAN, Cambodia understands that ASEAN must adhere to multilateralism and solidarity, in line with the theme, “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”.
As a way forward, Cambodia views that promoting the integration of ASEAN Community in the New Normal is a necessary and appropriate task, to create a great force aimed at transforming ASEAN as a whole into a resilient, competitive and inclusive region. In this context, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 will serve as a key plan that will ensure economic growth with minimal development gaps and seamless connectivity among the ASEAN Member States and with the world, by further promoting harmony and inclusivity of the three key dimensions of connectivity, namely physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.
Starting from this, I would like to share some recommendations that the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings can consider, as follows:
First, COVID-19 will continue to disrupt global transport operations and supply chains for a long term. Therefore, the ASEAN Transport Ministers should continue to closely monitor and examine the process of implementing the Implementation Plan of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, by focusing on reinforcing regional connectivity to strengthen the potential of ASEAN markets and socio-economic resilience. In this regard, promoting smooth and timely cross-border transport between ASEAN Member States will contribute to the strengthening of strong and sustainable regional production chains.
Second, ASEAN must continue to push for further actions in all areas of the transport sector to achieve the successful implementation of the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025, as well as the prioritized activities of the mid-term review of this plan, which is the backbone of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Third, ASEAN must strive to expedite the signing and implementation of the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE-CATA), the ASEAN-New Zealand Air Services Agreement (ANZ-ASA) and the ASEAN-Korea Air Transport Services Agreement (AK-ASA). These agreements will serve as a significant foundation for socio-economic cooperation and a bridge between ASEAN and the world.
Fourth, ASEAN must further strengthen and expand cooperation with dialogue and development partners, to expand cooperation, seek funding and technical assistance, and further promote the development of transport infrastructure in the ASEAN region. I would like to emphasize that after becoming a member of the International Transport Forum, Cambodia, I hope, will be able to obtain and share good experience and knowledge with other members as an asset for the development of the transport sector in ASEAN as a whole.
Fifth, the transport sector emits around 20 percent of carbon dioxide, which is a major cause of climate change. In this regard, I would like to request ASEAN to continue to strictly implement the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025 and encourage the use of eco-friendly vehicles, as well as the promotion of the integration of road and land use planning, to address the environmental impacts caused by energy consumption, traffic congestion, gas, greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Promoting these activities will help reduce the pace of climate change, which is threatening our entire world.
Sixth, ASEAN must continue its effort to deal with traffic accidents, which remain a major challenge in the ASEAN region and the world, particularly by promoting the implementation of legal instruments such as: (1). Guidelines for improving the standard procedure for reporting road crashes based on the United Nations standards and (2). Brunei Declaration on Road Safety 2020 and the new direction of 2030 that has set a target to reduce road fatalities by at least 50% from 2021 to 2030.
- Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen!
I would like to take this opportunity to share Cambodia’s strategy to actively and proactively fight and respond to COVID-19 until the official announcement of the reopening of the country in all sectors on 1 November 2021. Overall, Cambodia has identified vaccination as a key strategic measure and launched the National Vaccination Campaign for all Cambodian people aged 5 and over. As of 5 November 2021, Cambodia has achieved a vaccination coverage rate of more than 87% of the total population of around 16 million.
After becoming a full member of ASEAN for over 20 years, Cambodia has strictly played our role in building a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious regional community and transforming ASEAN into a model of regional cooperation of global importance. As the Chair of ASEAN in 2022, Cambodia will do our utmost to work closely with ASEAN member states and other partners to achieve ASEAN’s priorities to revitalize and boost ASEAN economic growth and promote ASEAN Community after the COVID-19 crisis, in line with the theme “ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together” for Peace, Prosperity and Harmony in the whole region.
Finally, I wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen a good health and success in all your endeavors. I also wish this meeting and related meetings successful and fruitful outcome and would like to officially announce the opening of the 27th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings from now on.