Prime Minister Hun Manet is leading a delegation to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City, where he will highlight current affairs issues and local development.

Shortly after boarding his aircraft on the morning of September 21, Manet posted a photograph of himself with a pile of documents he planned to work on during his long-haul flight.

“Starting my journey of more than 20 hours, with a pile of documents, to attend the UNGA 78 in New York,” he wrote briefly.

While in the US through September 25, he is slated to meet with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and various global leaders, as well as members of the Cambodian diaspora.

Manet intends to highlight the Kingdom’s position on global current affairs, its socio-economic progress and sustainable development goals (SDGs), according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

According to the UN agenda, Manet is set to deliver a speech in New York shortly after 3pm on Friday, or around 2am the next day in Indochina Time (ICT).

Meas Sophorn, head of the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Unit, said on September 21 that while in New York, Manet is also set to meet with US deputy secretary of state Victoria Nuland, Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, head of Columbia University’s Centre for Sustainable Development Jeffrey Sach, as well as several other state and private sector leaders.

“He will also attend the opening of the Cambodia-US Business Forum, which is being held to strengthen trade relations and encourage more American investment in Cambodia,” Sophorn added.

This year’s UNGA theme is “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all”.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, believed that Manet’s attendance demonstrates the respect Cambodia has for its duty as a UN member.

“If we look at the UNGA theme and the topics the prime minister will touch on, the relevance is clear. He will elaborate on social progress, along with Cambodia’s commitment to transformation and sustainable development,” he said.

Phea noted the rapid development Cambodia has undergone in recent years, attributing the Kingdom’s growth to a foundation of peace, political stability and improved infrastructure, along with human resources progress.

He added that Manet’s attendance is important, as Cambodia sought to contribute to finding solutions to global and regional challenges.

Ahead of Manet’s arrival in the US, Senior Minister Ouch Borith addressed the September 19 High-Level Meeting on Global Development Initiative (GDI) Cooperation Outcomes – GDI for SDGs: Actions and Progress – held on the sidelines of the UNGA 78, according to the ministry.

The GDI was initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2021 to support the timely achievement of all 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The initiative called for global development partnerships, promoting stronger, greener and healthier global development.

During his speech, Borith underscored Cambodia’s enthusiastic participation in the GDI, which has garnered support from over 100 countries and organisations since its inception, just two years ago.

“Cambodia takes great pride in being a part of this initiative and is motivated by the substantial progress of the GDI. Its fundamental principles are to prioritise development, adopt a people-centred approach, ensure no one is left behind, and build global development partnerships,” he explained.

Borith highlighted the significant contribution of GDI’s development projects to the Kingdom’s national development goals, such as a vision of Cambodia becoming a high-middle income nation by 2030 and a high-income one by 2050.

The ministry said Borith had reiterated Cambodia’s commitment to collective action and decisive measures to address challenges and accelerate progress, leaving no country or individual behind.

“[Borith] concluded by expressing Cambodia’s readiness to work closely with all partners to unlock the full potentials of the GDI, thereby advancing the SDGs and fostering a brighter future for all,” it added.