JAKARTA, 13 August 2018 – ASEAN, in cooperation with China and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will hold a symposium in Siem Reap, Cambodia on August 20-21 to push for local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the region.  Dubbed as the “Symposium on Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Realising Poverty Eradication,” it will elaborate ways to mainstream the SDGs at regional and sub-national levels in the context of complementarities between the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the SDGs.

The symposium will bring together senior government officials in charge of implementing the SDGs in ten ASEAN Member States, experts, international organisations, development partners, non-governmental organisations/civil society organisations, and private sectors. Among others, their consensus and strong political will be the enabling factors to pave the way for translating and achieving specific goals at the local level, particularly in the context of socially and economically diverse ASEAN Member States.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, highlights the choice of location of the Symposium – Siem Riep, Angkok Wat – which “presents both a renowned world heritage and showcase of the success of the Government of Cambodia in eradicating poverty and localizing the SDGs”. A third symposium in a series of “leave no one behind”, the Symposium and its research aim to support ASEAN Member States to develop strategies and policies that will leverage the complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, he added.

On the agenda of the symposium are group discussions called “Under the Sun, Under the Tree” where local communities will interact directly with symposium participants to present their voices to the policy makers. The discussions will also provide participants with information on mainstreaming the SDGs at community level.

Other topics such as gender mainstreaming, disaster risk reduction, sustainable livelihood for farmers and entrepreneurs, and capacity building for workforce and local officers will also be discussed. Officials from selected ASEAN Member States will share best practices on certain aspects of localising SDGs, such as institutional arrangement, stakeholder engagement, monitoring/tracking, capacity and resources of local governments, and innovation.

The region’s percentage of the population earning below US$1.25/day ranges from 17% to 29%. ASEAN’s ageing population (those above 65 years) is expected to range from 8% to 38% from country to country by 2030.  ASEAN will also see a widely differing rate of urbanisation from 21% in Cambodia to 100% percent in Singapore in the near future. It is projected that by 2030, about 90 million people will have moved into ASEAN cities – places that are expected to drive 40%of the region’s economic growth.