Hanoi, Viet Nam

13 September 2018

Secretary-General's message to ASEAN-World Economic Forum [delivered by Assistant Secretary-General Fabrizio Hochschild]

It is a pleasure to greet the Government and people of Viet Nam and the World Economic Forum on the occasion of this important gathering devoted to entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Globalization has delivered both immense opportunities and daunting challenges in recent decades.  The world has seen a historic decrease in extreme poverty, including in Viet Nam, where extreme poverty has fallen from more than 50 per cent in 1992 to less than 3 per cent in 2014.
Yet the gains of globalization have not been equitably distributed. Rising inequality has bred discontent and instability in many parts of the world, hindering our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Fair and inclusive globalization is an imperative.
Rapid advances in frontier technologies and the advent of what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution hold great promise but may also have unintended consequences and exacerbate some of the problems we face today.  We need to better ensure that new technologies offer new livelihood opportunities and steer globalization in a sustainable direction that protects the vulnerable.  It is for this reason that I recently launched a High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, so that together we can find new ways to maximize the potential benefits of new technology while managing the risks.
ASEAN is a key partner of the United Nations, and I welcome your efforts to reflect on the challenges of new technology, and to contribute practical policy recommendations for the way forward.  Cooperation among a broad set of actors will be crucial, including Member States, the private sector, scientists, civil society and academia.  Together, we can shape globalization to achieve sustainable development, seize the potential of technology advances and fulfil our shared promise to leave no one behind.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful forum.