Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration (PDTT) is focusing on the first meeting of the ASEAN Village Network to take place in Yogyakarta Province.

"We choose Yogyakarta based on many considerations, including tourist village as one of the focus (areas) in the meeting," PDTT Minister Abdul Halim Iskandar remarked after his speech at the ASEAN Collaborative Forum on Localizing 2030 SDGs in the Village Level in Yogyakarta, Tuesday.

According to Iskandar, the first meeting of the forum for establishing village networks in ASEAN was a follow-up to the agreement made by ASEAN leaders at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, last May.

Through this network initiated by Indonesia, Iskandar noted that all ASEAN member countries with villages, except for Singapore, will synergize by building connectivity that leads to economic growth and the development of human resources (HR).

"We are prioritizing two things as mandated by President Joko Widodo, namely economic growth and development of human resources," he pointed out.

The minister is upbeat that villages in the ASEAN would exchange experiences and develop innovative strategies and policies to address the unique challenges faced by rural communities and up to the regional level.

He also believes that the first meeting of the ASEAN Village Network will open up new opportunities and create synergies to expedite village development, especially in accelerating the economic leverage of villages.

"We want the villages to get to know each other, learn from each other, and exchange experiences and success stories. The principle of the village development process is the easiest by observing, imitating, and modifying," he remarked.

As part of the series of events in the ASEAN Village Network in Yogyakarta, a visit was made to Mangunan Village in Bantul District, Yogyakarta, on Monday (July 24). In addition, several small meetings were held in various tourist villages in Yogyakarta.

Meanwhile, an exhibition, titled "ASEAN Rural Culture Expo in the Framework of ASEAN Identity," will be held at Breksi Cliff, Sambirejo Village, Sleman District, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday (July 26).

Minister Iskandar and the ASEAN Village Network delegation will attend the exhibition that will showcase various superior products from each tourist village and local products from Yogyakarta.

"This exhibition can become a medium for exchanging knowledge and experience for rural communities' capacity-building between ASEAN member countries," he noted.

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Translator: Luqman Hakim, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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