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Interview


사진Has Bunton
Secretary General
General Secretariat
Cambodia’s National Science and Technology Council



Why Science and Technology for Cambodia?

Science and Technology (S&T) is crucially important in national development. It is a known fact that no nation can develop without science and technology regardless of how rich of natural resources the nation is endowed with. Developed nations of the world like the America, Germany, France etc. boast of several scientific inventions which make them to be rated as the world powers. Science and technology is the pivot of any nation’s development.

Science and technology is associated with modernity and it is an essential tool for rapid development. Modern gadgets in all aspects of human comfort are inventions of science and technology. Electricity, aircraft, telephone, television, computers and other forms of machinery could not have been invented without science and technology.

Science and technology is also very essential in the production of medicine and treatment of diseases. A nation which lacks the necessary science and technology in this area will have to depend on other developed nations for the existence of its people. Such a nation cannot be said to be independent because it has to depend on the whim and caprices of other nations with the necessary science and technology to survive.

The development of a nation depends solely on the amount of science and technology at the disposal of such nation. A strong and virile nation is a nation with adequate technology to make its people comfortable and dependable. A nation without science and technology also cannot feed its own people because agriculture requires the application of science and technology for adequate amount of food production.

In a globalization world, science and technology create competiveness and productivity to co-exist and to cooperate with other countries. A nation, therefore, needs not only to be able to develop its own science and technology capability, but also to be able to assist others for global stability and prosperity.

Seeing the importance of science and technology, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), in moving from its current low middle income status to a high middle income country by 2030, has emphasized its strategic vision to shift from an agriculture-dependent and labor intensive economy to a more stable knowledge-based economy with skilled labor, import substitution and export oriented light industry focusing on commonly used daily commodity items.

Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes Republic of Korea as a model country in socio-economic development based on science and technology capability due in part to similarity of the two countries in their history of massive destruction from war and disruption, and yet the Republic of Korea can recover and bring its country to a developed country status miraculously in just some 40 years.

The Royal Government of Cambodia appreciates the Republic of Korea that started its assistance on administration of science and technology development in an attempt to leapfrog the time wasted in its hardship period. Admitting limited resource, it is important that the development of science and technology be in concerted effort and focused direction, for which the RGC appreciates support of the Republic of Korea provided in development of first Cambodia’s National Science and Technology Master Plan, 2014-2020, focusing on establishing S&T foundation, activating S&T climate, securing R&D capabilities, and empowering of S&T based core industry capabilities.

Since the development of the S&T master plan, significant progress has been made in Cambodia in term of framework for S&T development, for which S&T is integrated into Cambodia’s Top Government Rectangular Strategy Phase 3 (RS III), and Cambodia’ National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2014-2018. As a result, Cambodia’s first National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) comprising of 26 relevant government organizations and private institutions has been formed to promote and coordinate country S&T development.

Due to challenges in S&T development, in its current status, Cambodia sees the need to move its S&T development status to a next level where its S&T ecosystem is upgraded and facilitated to efficiently cooperate internally and externally, with stronger support and sharper direction. In other words, Cambodia need to have a robust and smart science, technology, and innovation policy as a strong government direction to all relevant organizations to concertedly implement in developing its S&T capabilities. In this regard, the General Secretariat of the National Science and Technology Council (GS-NSTC) sees excellent role and experience of Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) of the Republic of Korea, and sought for STEPI’s support and cooperation.

With long and good cooperation of the Republic of Korea and the Royal Government of Cambodia, the GS-NSTC is to receive first support and cooperation of STEPI in 2018. The support is expected to assist in development of Cambodia’s first STI Policy, in building S&T administration capacity, and in public awareness raising and support on S&T development in Cambodia. The STI policy is expected to provide clear direction on further development of S&T in Cambodia, efficient S&T ecosystem with clear roles and responsibilities to upgrade and establish, and action plans to be concertedly implemented by ministries or organizations in charge. The human and establishment capacity building in 2018 is expected to focus on administration part in the implementation of the STI policy. Further support from 2019 is expected to assist in technical implementation of the STI policy.
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