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UNDP regional chief set for visit; climate, SDGs high on agenda

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UN assistant secretary-general and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional director Kanni Wignaraja. UNDP

UNDP regional chief set for visit; climate, SDGs high on agenda

UN assistant secretary-general and UNDP regional director Kanni Wignaraja will visit Cambodia on an official mission from September 8-12 to discuss its work, contribution to the country’s development priorities and the acceleration of Cambodia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

During her week-long mission, Wignaraja will meet with senior government officials and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

“She will lead two high-level policy dialogues on Advancing Cambodia’s Climate Agenda: Carbon Neutrality, Energy Resilience, and Financing for Sustainable Development, and on Inclusive Development Models in Cambodia: Poverty Reduction, Social Protection and Resilience on September 9 and 12, respectively,” said a UNDP press release.

Her schedule would also include a field visit to Battambang province with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) to observe mine clearance and mine risk education projects and interact with the communities living on or near cleared land. She will also visit Kampong Thom province to observe climate adaptation and solar energy solutions for sustainable rural livelihoods and value chain development.

Wignaraja has more than 25 years of experience with the UN working on sustainable development and possesses a deep knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region as well as the global, regional and country-level workings of UNDP.

UNDP said it has been supporting Cambodia’s development since 1958 and has had a resident presence in the country since 1994. It worked with the government, civil society organisations and the private sector to strengthen inclusive, green and resilient growth.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on September 6 that Cambodia is ready to warmly welcome her on her visit. He said Cambodia has demonstrated to the world that it had the political will to commit to solutions to a series of global environmental issues.

“For example, we announced at COP26 that we would not build any new coal-fired power plants or hydropower dams along the Mekong River, and agreed to increasing our clean energy components [such as solar, winds and green hydrogen],” he said.

He added that the ministry has been fostering relations, cooperation and partnerships with the main goal of strengthening the role of self-reliance in defining its policies. Its priority in cooperating with development partners and diverse partners is to establish financial self-reliance in the interests of the Cambodian people.

In the fight against climate change, Pheaktra said Cambodia has stuck to the principle of “shared responsibility, but at different levels” according to their capabilities and regularly submitted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) reports and implemented the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We also laid out a long-term strategy for carbon neutrality, as announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020,” he said.

In addition, he said Cambodia has renewed its commitment to several other principles of achieving national development and accelerating the 2030 SDGs in Cambodia, while leaving no one behind.

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