Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged countries to come together to maintain order, peace and ensure food security so that their people do not suffer, as he noted that the Ukraine conflict has hampered global socio-economic recovery.

Hun Sen articulated these views in a recorded video for the opening of the 78th Annual Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in the Thai capital Bangkok, saying these factors could potentially bring about long-term socio-economic and geopolitical impacts.

“At the time when our region, as well as the whole world, is looking forward with optimism, we have also been experiencing a new crisis – namely the war in Ukraine, which has not only hampered socio-economic recovery, but can also have long-term socio-economic and geopolitical impacts,” he said.

“We must work together to maintain order, peace and especially food security in the country and region by maintaining the flow of essential goods so that our people do not suffer further, and that no one is left behind.”

Hun Sen said he believed that achieving sustainable development required joint decisions to be made under multilateralism that respected international laws and the sovereignty of each nation.

He said he hoped that the 78th Annual Session of UN ESCAP would be host to “lively” discussions and lead to the establishment of new cooperative mechanisms and initiatives to promote recovery and growth in the post-pandemic crisis, and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as planned.

He announced that Cambodia is ready to participate in implementing such initiatives both as a country within the Asia-Pacific region and the chair of ASEAN this year. “Multilateralism is our hope, and the UN is our beacon of hope,” he said in his recorded speech.

The premier said sustainable development was an important global agenda that requires the participation of all stakeholders worldwide.

He said the Covid-19 crisis, as well as other emerging challenges, has not only disrupted sustainable development, “but also reflected the necessity to further enhance and strengthen international cooperation”.

Hun Sen added that, in the context of the global Covid-19 situation improving but not yet having been completely overcome, the main priority of the common agenda in the Asia-Pacific region would still be the use of vaccines as a key strategic weapon. “Cambodia highly appreciates the culture of mutual assistance, especially the sharing of Covid-19 vaccines, aimed at building . . . herd immunity worldwide,” he said.

The prime minister said that, as administrative and health measures have been gradually removed, he encourages the opening of the global economy and the strengthening of economic integration by promoting investment, trade through full implementation of free trade agreements… and people-to-people connection, especially in the tourism sector, in order to jointly revive and boost economic growth in the country and region in the post-Covid-19 era.

According to a press release from the National Committee for ESCAP, Cambodia was elected vice-chair at the opening ceremony of the plenary session, held from May 23-27 under the theme “Joint Agenda for Promoting Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region”.

Senior Minister Ly Thuch, chairman of the National Committee for ESCAP, leads the Cambodian delegation at the session.

After the ceremony, Thuch issued a statement indicating the Cambodian government’s willingness to cooperate with international partners under the multilateral framework to restore national and regional socio-economic activities to pre-pandemic levels.

On May 24, he is expected to meet with Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Undersecretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN ESCAP, to expand and strengthen cooperation especially in the field of mines, the 18th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030. He will also chair a high-level meeting on ensuring the resilience of supply chains and connections.

On May 25, he will make a statement at a meeting of the Least Developed Countries in the Asia-Pacific region on measures to boost Cambodia’s economy in the post-Covid-19 era.