【Ready and Willing】
The modern world is beset by challenges that can only be overcome by the firm resolve of a cohesive international community. It is imperative that every country and territory, despite geographic location or political circumstances, contribute based on their unique abilities and talents. For many underdeveloped and developing nations, the desire to play a part is stifled by a lack of resources and training.
So that no one is left behind in this era of unprecedented possibilities, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is committed to assisting its diplomatic allies and partners, as well as providing aid and expertise to help ensure that all can achieve their full potential. It has devoted considerable resources to matters of global importance. These range from promoting sustainable growth and bolstering food safety and security to fostering regional economic integration and strengthening small and medium enterprises, which are the source of more than half of the employment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific.
The significance of these issues is universally recognized, which is why they are prioritized for discussion at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting taking place this month in Vietnam. Taiwan places enormous value in the benefits generated through cooperation with fellow APEC member economies, and has worked to further the organization’s aims through avenues such as partnering with the U.S. to jointly support the creation of an APEC subfund on women and the economy, which is designed to offer capital for initiatives focused on women’s economic empowerment.
Taiwan’s drive to assist partners in the Asia-Pacific and around the world extends beyond APEC-initiated programs. For example, the Pacific Islands Leadership Program (PILP) seeks to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow by hosting courses and offering activities such as field trips, seminars and workshops for the region’s bright young talents. PILP began in December 2012 as a joint project between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the East-West Center, a Hawaii-based organization established by an act of U.S. Congress in 1960.
Other ongoing projects include the International Environmental Partnership (IEP), a Taiwan-initiated technical cooperation platform launched in 2014 when the U.S. joined as a founding partner. Under IEP, the two sides have worked with more than 30 countries and territories on numerous projects in order to tackle major issues threatening human health and the environment.
The government will continue expanding such exchanges, particularly with the 18 countries targeted under the government’s New Southbound Policy. This extends to areas like air pollution, circular economy, contaminated soil and groundwater, environmental education, electronic waste management, mercury monitoring and law enforcement.
It is expected that such activities will help bring to fruition the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the 17th, which entails boosting the implementation of SDGs and revitalizing international partnerships for sustainable development.
In addition to government agencies, much of the nation’s international participation is conducted via nongovernmental organizations (NGO). They provide humanitarian aid and contribute to global efforts in vital areas like food production, green energy and public health. There are more than 80,000 NGOs registered with the central and local governments, and around 3,000 participate in overseas activities on a regular basis.
Taiwan is committed to its role as a key provider of humanitarian aid and development expertise around the world. It will continue to strive for increased international participation in the hope that the global community can come together with the common goal of reaching the SDGs and ensuring peace and prosperity for generations to come.