Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) has made a request for financial and technical support from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) for demining in Cambodia, in a meeting between top officials from the two organisations.

The request was made at a virtual meeting on May 9 between Ly Thuch, CMAA first vice-president and president of the National Committee for Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (NC ESCAP), and Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN deputy secretary-general and UNESCAP executive secretary.

“[Ly Thuch] requested cooperation and financial and technical support in mine [action], especially in the formulation of the National Policy on Mines in Cambodia,” UNESCAP in Cambodia said in a press release after the meeting.

While making the request, Thuch noted that the mining sector is part of the Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with the complete removal of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and the promotion of victim assistance being a core part of the Cambodian SDG framework 2016-2030.

“Demining would contribute to poverty reduction and promote economic and social development, as well as promote gender equality, and eventually advance the achievement of the agenda for the Sustainable Development of Cambodia 2016-2030 [plan],” he said.

Alisjahbana said the cooperation between Cambodia and UNESCAP has been “enhanced significantly” in recent years, and was said to have taken into consideration the possibility of expanding cooperation in the field of mine action at Thuch’s request, according to the press release.

Cambodia and UNESCAP have ongoing cooperation in eight areas: social development, trade, investment and innovation, statistics, environment and development, macroeconomic policy and financing for development, information and communication technology and disaster management, transportation, and energy.

The 78th session of UNESCAP will be held from May 23-27 under the theme “A common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific”, in which Prime Minister Hun Sen will deliver a keynote address via pre-recorded video.

Alisjahbana said Hun Sen’s keynote address at the upcoming Session will be “important input” which will help set UNESCAP’s direction in Cambodia.

At the meeting, Thuch invited Alisjashbana to attend the global conference on victim aid, which is scheduled to be hosted by Cambodia next year.

“It is time to work as one to reclaim our future in the Asia-Pacific region. [I had a] fruitful virtual meeting with His Excellency Ly Thuch… again today to discuss priority areas for future cooperation and the 78th Session of the Commission,” Alisjahbana said on Twitter after the meeting.

CMAA quoted Alisjahbana as saying after the meeting that UNESCAP will continue to improve cooperation with Cambodia in the areas of trade, finance, digital, the economy, environment, and climate change.