Statement by Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

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CNV:

Excellency Csaba Körösi, President of the General Assembly;
Excellency António Guterres, UN Secretary-General;
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

At the outset, I would like to congratulate H.E. Csaba Kőrösi on his election as President of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Session. At the same time, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to H.E. Abdulla Shahid for his efforts in leading the work of the 76th UNGA Session during a very tumultuous time.

Our theme of the 77th UNGA Session: “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges“, is indeed relevant to the current context. Global uncertainties have been exacerbated by the escalation of armed conflicts, arms race, the rise of mini security alliances, the technology and trade wars, the imposition of economic sanctions, and the mounting threats to multilateralism.

In fact, the war in Ukraine has complicated not just international relations in Europe but caused serious economic disruptions and exacerbated our food and energy security. The escalation of the hostilities involving more and more actors, directly or indirectly, and with no end in sight, coupled with the threat of a nuclear war have serious impacts on the world at large.

The situation in the Korean Peninsula remains alarming due to preparation for a seventh nuclear test. This year, North Korea has launched dozens of ballistic missiles in response to military drills. In addition, the U.S.-China tension over the Taiwan issue has also posed a concern.

Overall, in this very challenging environment, as a country that has experienced a hard-earned peace in our own history, Cambodia is making great efforts to engage constructively with the United Nations in upholding international peace and security as well as promoting respect for the fundamental principles and values of the UN Charter and international laws.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
The present gathering reflects remarkable success of our collective efforts to overcome the unprecedented pandemic, yet the battle against this global health crisis is not over yet.

New forms of variants and other infectious diseases are emerging. What else could come out the future? A strong global health system, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) with its central coordination role could assist in building up a resilient and sustainable national health system. An open and transparent multilateral engagement in the distribution of vaccines, driven by a true principle of shared responsibility, is the only way to prepare for and prevent future pandemics, coupled with the sharing of lessons learned and best practices, the transfer of technologies in vaccine research and development.

Besides that, the existential threat facing humankind is also our vulnerability to climate change. We need to change the process of addressing the climate change issues today, not tomorrow. It has been 50 years already since governments were warned about changing our production and consumption patterns to avoid disaster. Sadly, ever since, we only see more losses of biodiversity, more land degradation, and a growing scarcity of fresh water.

Our collective action must focus on global mitigation efforts to promote climate-resilient development. Our commitment to lowering the global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius requires dedicated climate financing and technology transfer to facilitate meaningful transition in mitigation and adaptation efforts. The Glasgow outcomes adopted at the COP26 must be implemented with great urgency bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Moreover, the threat of the trade and economic decoupling arising from the U.S.-China rivalry will certainly dampen the prospects for global growth. Therefore, the fundamental transformative solution of the social, economic and political process is to strengthen the rules based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its heart that can promote an open international trade, reduce trade barriers, and ensure the resilience of regional and global value chains.

Meanwhiles, we need to pay greater attention on inclusive digital policies and conducive regulatory frameworks that lead to greater investment in digital infrastructure, as it is so essential in bridging the growing digital divides and generating new sources of growth. Enhancing green economic development is also an indispensable part of nurturing sustainable socio-economic development, through the expansion of cooperation in building green infrastructure, promoting energy transition, and leveraging green technology.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
This year, Cambodia is honored to hold the Chairmanship of ASEAN. So far, this organization is 55-year-old; and we are proud to celebrate our historic milestone and the remarkable achievements we have made along the way. Throughout the years, ASEAN has been able to navigate through the constantly changing geopolitical landscape to emerge as one of the most prominent and successful regional organization, while making great strides in advancing its credibility and relevance in world affairs.

Our theme “ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together,” highlighting the strong spirit of togetherness, encompasses all the key pressing issues I have mentioned earlier. Of course, these challenges do have far-reaching implications on the ASEAN Community building process and our external relations. But as the Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia is committed as ever to consolidate our efforts to address our shared goals of bringing benefits to our peoples based on the spirit of ASEAN Centrality, Unity, and Solidarity.

Indeed, the situation in Myanmar is worrisome with its direct implications on the security and stability of the whole region; but we must recognize that the crisis is complex with deep-rooted causes. As the ASEAN Chair, Cambodia is fully committed to helping Myanmar resolve the crisis and all our efforts are aimed at seeking for the cessation of violence, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need, and the pursuit of building trust among all parties concerned to enable an inclusive political dialogue, as mandated by the ASEAN 5-Point Consensus.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Over the past two years, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s (RGC) has made great efforts in a pro-active manner to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus through the introduction of health measures, social and economic interventions and administrative measures. The RGC has set COVID-19 vaccination as a Key Strategic Measure.

As a result, Cambodia has become one of the countries with the highest coverage rate of vaccinated population globally, particularly, achieving strong “Herd Immunity” and enabling the country to fully reopen in late 2021 as well as resuming all socio-economic activities in the new normal. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all our friendly countries who have provided vaccines to Cambodia through both bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

On social sector, the RGC has worked with development partners such as the UN agencies to launch and scale up a number of important programs such as 1). Cash for Work Program aimed at improving community infrastructure and providing additional employment opportunities and 2). Cash Transfer Program for the poor and vulnerable households to help alleviate hardship and maintain the livelihood of the poor.

On economic sector, the RGC has made unremitting efforts to address chronic structural problems, competitiveness and promote economic diversification. In fact, the RGC has addressed major challenges faced by businesses through the implementation of the New Investment Law, Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035, Strategic Framework and Programs for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with Covid-19 in a New Normal 2021-2023, Law on Public-Private Partnership and adoption of free trade agreements such as Cambodia-China FTA and Cambodia-Republic of Korea FTA and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Overall, Cambodian economy is estimated to achieve a growth rate of 5.4% by 2022, supported by a strong recovery in manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.

In terms of democratization process, the recent commune election held last June has reflected our continued efforts as more than 80% of registered voters went to cast their ballots in a free, fair, peaceful, and transparent manner. The appreciation and full support of Cambodian people for the unremitting efforts of RGC in preserving peace, political stability, socio-economic development, and the successful fight against the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in an overwhelming majority vote in favor of the ruling party.

Furthermore, on peacekeeping mission, Cambodia has continued deploying thousands of her peacekeeping forces to undertake missions in countries in crisis. More than 15% of Cambodian peacekeepers serving in UN missions are “women”. They are the role models, inspiring women and girls in often male-dominated societies to perform their rights and participate in the peace process.

On the cooperation with the United Nations, I wish to note that just yesterday, the Supreme Court Chambers of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) issued its judgment to uphold the life sentence of former Khmer Rouge head of state for genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. This historical moment highlighted the great cooperation between Cambodia and the United Nations through the hybrid court in bringing justice to the people of Cambodia who had suffered the heinous crime of auto genocide. We could tell the world of the truth that is found and justice that is served, and propagate to the world that this crime should never happen again in human history. I take this moment to express appreciation to all donors for providing supporting budget and to our Cambodian compatriots for their cooperation in consolidating national reconciliation process.

In conclusion, Mr. President, despite many challenges impacting our political, social, and economic progress, we remain as committed as always to attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals.

Thank You!