SDGs Center and KAIDEC hold the 3rd International Symposium addressing inequality

Center for Sustainable Development Goals Studies (SDGs Center, Director: Prof. Armida S. Alisjahbana) of Padjadjaran University jointly hold ‘The 3rd International Symposium on Asian Development Studies’ on October 26 and 27 in Bandung, Indonesia, with the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation(KAIDEC, President: Dr. Hee-jin Lee) under the sponsorship of the Korea Foundation (President: Sihyung Lee).

The year 2017 marks the third anniversary of the symposium with the first and second ones that took place, respectively, in South Korea in 2015 and in Malaysia in 2016. This year, many experts have exchanged valued insights under the theme of “A Partnership for Development: the Role of a Nation and a Non-state Player to Address Inequality.”

This year witnessed more productive discussions among participants from many countries around the world. The event was attended by experts in development studies from major donor countries such as South Korea, the U.S., Japan, and China as well as 24 experts in the field from 11 countries, including major recipient countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Notably, this 3rd symposium is Asia’s largest event on development studies led by South Korea, a major donor country in the region. Moreover, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and Kathmandu University of Nepal said that they are willing to hold the 4th and 5th symposiums with the KAIDEC.

KAIDEC President Hee-jin Lee (Professor at Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University) said in his opening remarks: “In the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), inequality has been growing in Asia in the process of achieving economic development. This was the main reason why inequality was selected as this year’s theme.” He stressed that major donors and recipients in Asia should cooperate and take appropriate action to address inequality in the context of international development and cooperation.

SDG Center’s Director Armida S. Alisjahbana said: “Awareness of the importance of the SDGs should spread across developing countries in Asia. This is a starting point for cooperation among Asian countries. Therefore, as part of such efforts, we have opened a website for this symposium.”

The first panel discussed the current status of inequality in Nepal, Vietnam, and Indonesia and the ways to improve the inequality in those countries.

Professor Panto from Kathmandu University of Nepal said that achieving the SDGs will play a pivotal role in mitigating inequality in Nepal, but it is a difficult challenge for the Nepal government as in the case of the MDGs.

Professor Cox from the University of Wisconsin, who participated in the symposium as an adjunct researcher of SDG Center, emphasized the importance of education in solving inequality by citing the case study of Indonesia and Vietnam.

The second panel discussed the emergence of various players for achieving the SDGs and their role in that matter.

Dr. Khieng of Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) discussed the trend of nonprofit organizations’ participation in commercialization and development and talked over the emergence of various players by citing the case of Cambodia.

Professor Kim Ji-young of Soongsil University said that the role of the private sector in the community is important in reducing poverty. She added that the harmonious collaboration among the central government, the private sector in the community, and overseas aid programs is an essential factor in reducing poverty.

On the second day, speakers from the third panel presented the cases of inequality in fields of energy, water, and financing, and discussed the ways to improve such inequalities.

Professor Yusuf of Padjadjaran University said that the fuel subsidy has aggravated inequality in many countries and therefore appropriate reform to the policy should be made to turn things around.

ASEAN cooperation officer Min-jung Park explained diverse development projects of using ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF), which was raised to strengthen a partnership between Korea and ASEAN. She mentioned the possibility of using the fund to achieve development in ASEAN countries.

Meanwhile, the KAIDEC had preliminary discussions with the PIDS over the next year’s theme of the symposium: the “International Development and Cooperation with ASEAN Countries.” The PIDS expressed its willingness to hold with the KAIDEC the 4th International Symposium on Asian Development, scheduled to take place in 2018.

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