Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference

BFA Chairman Ban Ki-moon’s Speech
BOAO Forum for Asia
Ulaanbaatar Conference
August 19-20th, 2019

 

Your Excellency Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

 

It’s a privilege to address you here as the Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Your Excellency, Mr. Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Prime Minister of Mongolia, for the warm reception and tremendous support.

I also appreciate our local partners making the effort to assist us to hold the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference.

 

As one of landlocked developing countries, Mongolia’s economic momentum revved up in the first quarter of 2019, with growth exceeding

6 percent, following an already-strong performance last year. It came primarily on the back of continuous investment in Mongolia, having the effect of spurring its export and import to faster growth. Domestic demand also strengthened as government spending rebounded while private consumption gained steam.

In addition, the government’s commitment to discipline on public spending has resulted in large outperformance on its fiscal targets.

 

It also should be stressed that Mongolia is strengthening its engagement with Asian partners to address critical regional and global challenges nowadays. Mongolia has made good progress with building closer intraregional trade integration and escalating its eco-industrial supply chains with various regional countries.

 

The cooperation between Mongolia and other Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan is stepping to a higher level.

The greater cooperation in natural resource development, electricity, renewable energy, and infrastructure sectors has benefited those countries and given a positive impetus to the Asian economy.

 

Moreover, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor (CMREC) has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening connectivity partnerships between participating countries, thereby boosting the Mongolian economy and promoting common development in the region. As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the BFA applauds for what Mongolia has accomplished, and stands ready to make contributions to Mongolia sustainable and inclusive development.

 

The BFA, based in Asia and with a global outlook, always strives to enhance the economic exchange and cooperation among Asia, emerging economies, and other parts of the world, and to promote free trade and multilateralism.

 

Since 2018, under the leadership of the new Board of Directors, the BFA recalibrates its strategy as one running theme and five focal areas.

 

In particular, the BFA would continue to devote itself to taking the economy as its mainline, while actively expanding into five areas such as scientific and technological innovation, health, education, culture as well as media. Undoubtedly, the BFA seeks to offer a high-end international platform for governments and business, helping countries in Asia and the rest of the world keep up with latest global advances, seize development opportunities, and unleash their growth potential.

 

In today’s world, all countries’ interests are inextricably intertwined. It would be erroneous that some governments in the world allow themselves to become prisoners of short-term interests and make irrevocable mistakes of historic consequences. We must bear in mind that there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland. The theme of Annual Conference 2019 of the Boao Forum constituted of three phrases in terms of Shared Future, Concerted Action, and Common Development. Our shard future guides our actions. We should respond to the people’s call and jointly make the effort to achieve shared and win-win development.

 

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. The time has come for the world to move in a new direction, so we must tap into the prevailing trend of development, as well as embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems — it will take persistent action. It is what I would like to speak about today – cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation. We are all gathering here for discussing how to take concerted action for common development and a shared future.

 

The world economy is now once again at a crossroad ten years after the global financial crisis broke out. With the world witnessing a growing backlash against globalization and surging populism and protectionism, global governance faces greater difficulties. The spreading unilateralism has increased downward pressure on global economic growth, while trade protectionism is damaging the multilateral free trade system. In addition, nuclear security, geopolitical conflicts, terrorist attacks and influx of refugees have not yet been effectively resolved and controlled.

 

Emerging markets and developing countries are vulnerable to internal imbalances and external shocks. Growth in emerging and developing Asia will dip from 6.5 percent in 2018 to 6.3 percent in 2019 and 6.4 percent in 2020. Non-traditional challenges, such as climate change, aging population, and digital divide may strongly change the future of Asian and global economy.

 

Under the circumstances, tremendous efforts must be made to uphold multilateralism, promote globalization and sustain open world economy. We should open up to embrace opportunities of development and seek win-win outcomes through further cooperation. The challenges facing the world today are related in one way or another to the development gap and deficit. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development still remains a daunting task for many countries. It is against such a backdrop that China announced the Belt and Road initiative in 2013.

The initiative has been playing a great role in mobilizing more resources, boosting connectivity links, and leveraging potential growth momentums. The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation recently has demonstrated the broad welcome and support for this Initiative from the global community, representing that more countries and regions are willing to achieve shared prosperity by mutually beneficial collaboration.

I am impressed that Mongolia’s Steppe Road program is aligned with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two countries actively support their border areas in order to expand exchanges and cooperation.

 

Meanwhile, we must keep in mind green growth and sustainable development.

The world economy is in a transition from old to new momentums of growth.

If we continue a conventional approach to meeting the rising global demand for food, energy, and infrastructure, the world will exceed its ecological carrying capacity.

Uncontrollable pollution, severe damage to human health, and irreversible loss of biodiversity systems will be the consequence of those investment decisions.

The environment should be recognized as a strong engine helping drive the region’s economic development.

 

Hence, a green development approach is the chance for emerging and developing economies to leapfrog unsustainable and wasteful production and consumption patterns. They can still factor environmental issues into their infrastructure investment decisions and can further develop agriculture and other natural resources in a way that improves livelihoods, creates jobs, and reduces poverty.

 

It is paramount for all countries to commit to supporting UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and improve energy, environmental and digital governance. We must work together to find the best way to develop a future-oriented industry structure, and switch the development paradigm from resource-consuming to environmentally friendly, thus delivering a better life to all our people.

 

In a world full of challenges and opportunities, the Boao Forum for Asia calls on Asian economies to actively contributes to open world economy.

At the same time, the Boao Forum for Asia will continue to promote connectivity within and beyond the region, through better synergies among the Belt and Road Initiative and other regional cooperation programs, to effectively mobilize regional savings and capitalize on comparative advantages of each economy. The BFA will also keep advocating on the importance of green development, to lay down a solid foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

We have reached a pivotal moment. We stand ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation — one that recognizes the common development of all Asian countries. And so, with confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values,

we call on all of you to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserved.

 

At the very end, I wish the conference a great success.

Thank you!

 

Ⓒ BOAO Forum for Asia

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