Cambodia has declared its readiness to join relevant development partners to restore the socio-economic situation and promote prosperity at the 78th UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) session in the Thai capital Bangkok.
Senior Minister Ly Thuch said the progress of the implementation of the common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific by 2030 had been interrupted by various issues.
These include Covid-19, geopolitical competition and the disastrous effects of climate change, which required closer international cooperation, more effective connectivity, and a more open and inclusive world economy.
The journey for the common agenda in Cambodia started in 2015 when the country endorsed the UN global sustainable development goals (SDGs), and the later adoption of the Cambodia SDGs (CSDGs) Framework 2016-2030.
The Cambodian SDG 18 was titled “End the negative impact of mines/explosive remnants of war (ERW) and promote victim assistance”, said Thuch, who is also the first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).
“Unfortunately, my country, Cambodia, is one of the most contaminated by landmines and ERW with over 2,000sq km of [mine-covered] land to be cleared.
“And it stands among the top three countries in the world – Afghanistan and Iraq – with the highest numbers of people with disabilities,” Thuch said in a statement.
To battle these challenges, joint prudent decision-making under the framework of multilateralism is required by respecting international laws and sovereignty of each individual nation, regardless of size or wealth.
“As the chair of ASEAN, we aim to further advance the ASEAN Community building process and to sustain ASEAN as a region of critical importance for global trade, investment and supply chains.
“We will continue pushing for a more vibrant and harmonious ASEAN Community with better protection of migrant workers, a greener and more inclusive development agenda, and an advanced digital transformation for micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs], women and youth entrepreneurship,” Thuch said.
Thuch, chairman of the National Committee for ESCAP, led a government delegation from Cambodia to attend the conference held from May 23 to 27.
The annual session gives delegates an opportunity to discuss and shape the future of regional cooperation centred around a new form of multilateralism and regional cooperation.
The theme for the session describes pathways to achieve more inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic recovery.
It identifies elements for a common agenda for present and future generations centred on protecting people and the planet, leveraging digital opportunities, trading and investing more together, raising financial resources and managing debt.
The theme also underlines the need to listen and work with young people, placing women at the centre for crisis-prepared policy action and new people-centric partnerships, with the readiness of the ESCAP to serve.
In his May 24 bilateral meeting with Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary-General and chair of the UN ESCAP, Thuch requested that UN ESCAP consider providing opportunities for young Cambodian officials to train at the secretariat and consider supporting technical assistance to the mine action sector in Cambodia.
Accordingly, UN ESCAP will continue improving its cooperation with Cambodia in key areas, including trade, finance, economy and sustainable finance, digital environment and climate change, as well as MSMEs.