Kuwait City (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesia asked Asian countries to focus on three Es - energy, environment and education - to eradicate poverty, unemployment and achieve sustainable and equitable development during the first day of the historic Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit on Tuesday evening.
"In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we have to utilise natural resources, cooperate with Asian countries and develop infrastructure. So we have to focus more on the energy, environment and education," said Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa.
But in its attempts to achieve equitable economic development during the current global financial crisis, Rajasa said that the world was encountering many serious challenges. "We still feel the impacts [of the global crisis]," he added.
Yet Indonesia, a member of G20, was able to achieve a remarkable growth of 6.5 per cent, one of the highest in Asia as well as the world. This year, Indonesia's US$1 trillion economy is expected to grow around 6 per cent.
The 32-member ACD summit will be an important platform for enhancing regional cooperation and promoting clean energy.
"The most important thing is connectivity. Asian countries must focus on regional connectivity. We will get more benefits in the areas of energy and transportation. Indonesia highlighted this issue at the ACD summit," Rajasa told The Jakarta Post and Antara news agency on the sidelines of a state banquet hosted by Kuwait Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
"There are 20 areas of cooperation. We can cooperate with other Asian countries in these areas. We need a blueprint for ACD regional connectivity and an action plan to enhance cooperation in these 20 areas," Rajasa said.
The key areas include food, poverty eradication, curbing unemployment, health, education, energy and transportation.
On the energy issue, Rajasa said that the stability of oil prices was important for Asian countries. "If we don't have stability in oil prices, how can we focus on our development programmes like eradicating poverty and creating jobs? It won't be be easy to have stability in oil prices given complex issues, including international politics and supply and demand, that are involved in it," he said.
"The ACD is an important forum where we can have a dialogue between oil producers and consumers on the issue of oil price stability".
Indonesia is the co-prime mover in the energy sector at the ACD forum.
According to Rajasa, Indonesia put forward a proposal to prioritise developing new energy sources and cutting fossil fuels to cut global carbon emissions. "In order to develop renewable energy resources, we need new investments and technologies. We are asking ACD countries to invest in new energy sector and infrastructure projects to boost regional connectivity," he said.
Kuwait, a major producer of oil with around 3 million barrels per day, has expressed interest in investing in the East Natuna gas project and building an oil refinery. Rajasa met with Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah as well as Oil Minister Hani Hussain on Tuesday to discuss Kuwait's investment plans and bilateral cooperation.