A United Nations delegation yesterday met with the government to review a report on sustainable development and raise three points regarding social protection initiatives in the Kingdom.
According to the UN, a government delegation is expected to attend a series of meetings with the Economic and Social Council in New York from July 16 to 19.
UN resident representative Paulin Tamesis and her delegation yesterday met with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.
Eang Sophalleth, Mr Hun Sen’s assistant, told reporters after the meeting that the UN delegation raised three points regarding social protection, including capacity building, infrastructure, and data for policy development.
Mr Sophalleth added that the UN delegation also reviewed a national report on sustainable development before the report is published in July during the meeting in New York.
He said Mr Hun Sen told Ms Tamesis’ delegation that Cambodia has transformed itself into a country able to provide its citizens with social nettings.
“In relation to social protection, Samdech Hun Sen told the UN that Cambodia was a 100 percent poor country in the past, but now it is able to implement social protection to impoverished women,” Mr Sophalleth said. “These include reducing electricity costs and digging wells and ponds.”
Mr Sophalleth said the UN delegation during the meeting asked the government to increase its national budget and strengthen its data management on sustainable development.
He said that in response, Mr Hun Sen said the government has annually increased the national budget, and that the budget for data management will continue to be increased.
Regarding capacity building, Mr Sophalleth said Mr Hun Sen told Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron to push for more university graduates.
He added that during the meeting, Ms Tamesis congratulated the government on successes regarding its social netting initiatives.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Cambodia’s GDP grew by seven percent last year, but growth in 2020 is expected to be capped at 6.8 percent due to a slowdown in advanced economies, including China.
Soeung Saroeun, executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, yesterday said the government needs to find a balance between economic growth and social development.
“Cambodia needs to strike for balanced infrastructure development and economic growth,” Mr Saroeun said. “It needs to do so by aiming for sustainable environment, social inclusion, and democratic development.”
He added that Cambodia should implement a principle of no one left behind.
“Access to quality education and health services for impoverished and marginalised groups should be promoted,” Mr Saroeun said.
Yang Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, said the government should pay more attention to the social protection of informal workers, such as construction workers.
“We have seen some people who live below the poverty line not receiving social protection,” Mr Kim Eng said.