Abdul Halim Iskandar, Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration (PDTT) Minister of Indonesia, the current ASEAN Chair, said on May 12 that the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit agreed to form the AVN, an open, independent, and bottom-up network of villages, village groups, and village associations in ASEAN member countries.

A man sprays pesticides on his red onion field in Salu Dewata village in South Sulawesi on April 30, 2023.

According to Iskandar, some Indonesian villages would serve as pilot projects for the cooperation areas.

Villages that served as pilot projects for tourist villages comprise Mangunan Village in Bantul, Yogyakarta; Kembang Kuning Village in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara; and Sekapuk Village in Gresik, East Java, he said in a statement on May 11.

Meanwhile, Cibiru Wetan Village in Bandung, West Java; Duda Timur Village in Karangasem, Bali; and Kubu Village in Kubu, West Kalimantan, served as pilot projects for digital villages.

Muara Badak Ulu Village in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan; Namang Village in Central Bangka, Bangka Belitung Islands; and Blendung Village in Pemalang, Central Java, function as OVOP villages, he elaborated.

Moreover, the Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE) will be held at least once per year and chaired on a rotating basis. The meeting concerns village development and poverty eradication, Iskandar remarked.

The first annual meeting for the ASEAN Village Network is scheduled to be held in July 2023 in Indonesia.

The minister expects other ASEAN countries to take a cue from Indonesia about its village development policies since it has the best in Asia, and thus, it can become a benchmark in village development.

The ASEAN Village Network is intended to serve as a platform for the exchange of worldviews and opinions on smart solutions in confronting challenges at the village level, he noted.

"ASEAN Village Network made the voice of villages to be heard at the local, national, and regional level," he remarked.

AVN is an open platform for discussion and knowledge sharing concerning various issues related to village development, poverty alleviation, and village development policies in the future.

Indonesian Chair of SOMRDPE Sugito stated that through this forum, countries in ASEAN can collectively foster cross-sectoral collaboration to develop villages, so that they are able to synergize and be competitive.

In this way, villages can contribute to the development of the nation, country, and ASEAN.

SOMRDPE is expected to be able to accommodate issues pertaining to village development, including food security, connectivity, electricity and water supply, education or literacy, manpower, migration to urban areas, land reformation, and infrastructure deficit, he said.

Source: VNA