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Cambodian Journalists, NGOs Gather in China for Sustainable Development Summit

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:

(Beijing) – Cambodian NGOs and journalists were invited to China last week by the China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD) for a discussion on sustainable development in the Kingdom.
President of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies Kung Phoak said they organized the meeting with government officials, researchers, professors to exchange ideas, raise concerns with one another and discuss China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Mr. Phoak hailed the event as a way for Cambodian NGOs and media outlets to have their concerns heard by various Chinese stakeholders. The CFPD itself has helped raise funds for businesses in low-income countries and has helped Cambodia in the education and health sectors.
“The One Belt, One Road is a big initiative. It is a step to exchange ideas with each other,” Mr. Phoak said, adding that it was imperative China understood what Cambodia thinks about the initiative and China’s larger role in the country’s development.  
“I think what they [CFPD] want from this meeting is open and honest sentiments from those NGOs, and what CFPD could do to help them in order to reduce poverty [in Cambodia],” he said.
The information gathered would be disseminated to government officials in both countries, he said.
Executive Director of Development and Partnership in Action Mam Sambath said, “It is a visit which opened and provided connections between people for people to understand each other. It also showed that China is willing to listen to our Independent NGOs and journalists.”
He added that Cambodian NGOs and journalists speak directly to Cambodian citizens and have a better understanding of the country’s needs than most, making their knowledge and information vital to Chinese companies and NGOs trying to help the country.
“They listened to us carefully and provided opportunities for us to ask or comment on development [initiatives] with honesty, in order to improve the relationship between people from both countries as well as current Chinese investors in Cambodia,” Mr. Sambath said.
One of the main things mentioned was the difficulty both journalists and members of NGOs had with contacting Chinese companies or investors, especially when it came to conflicts within garment factories, he said.

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