Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap), left Cambodia on Wednesday after a full-day visit to the Kingdom.
The former Indonesian Minister of State for National Development Planning, who was appointed to the UN post by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last year, met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and a few other ministers on Tuesday.
During the meeting with the prime minister, she acknowledged “the peace, security and development in Cambodia”, Eang Sophalleth, Hun Sen’s personal assistant, told reporters at the Peace Palace.
Her visit was part of her ongoing efforts to meet with leaders from the Asia-Pacific region, with a particular focus on Asean, covered under Unescap’s mandate for social and economic development.
“During her respective meetings with the government, the executive secretary discussed the need to accelerate investments toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs],” said Tim Jenkins at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia.
“In Cambodia specifically, the executive secretary mentioned the need of $3 per person per day to achieve the SDGs. She also spoke of the need to further develop an ecosystem which is supportive of innovation and entrepreneurs as 99 per cent of companies are micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs],” he said.
Jenkins noted that Unescap aims to complement the government’s efforts to improve access to finance for MSMEs, particularly for women, adding that women-led MSMEs support gender equality and sustainable development.
Alisjahbana, he continued, also spoke about Cambodia playing a larger role in Asia-Pacific’s effort to achieving the SDGs.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a press release on the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and the UN official.
It said Pornmoniroth informed Alisjahbana of Cambodia’s SDGs which consist of 18 goals, 88 points and 148 indicators, all of which have been implemented by relevant ministries and institutions.
Cambodia’s SDGs were important elements for the government’s policies, particularly the Rectangular Strategy-Phase IV, with a focus on labour increase, poverty reduction, building capacity in public institutions and strengthening governance, the release quoted Pornmoniroth as saying.
“With high economic growth, the Rectangular Strategy-Phase IV links SDGs to sustainable and inclusive development through human resource development, promoting education and vocational training, improving public services and nutrition, and strengthening gender equality and social support,” he said.
Pornmoniroth also requested Unescap to help train and provide an opportunity for Cambodian officials to intern at the body.
Moreover, he appreciated the cooperation between the Unescap and the government on development.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that Hun Sen had set May 6 as the date to hold the annual dialogue with the UN team.