Addressing global leaders at a virtual summit calling for international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic on Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said only if nations worked together will the world defeat the crisis and thrive in its aftermath.
He said the spread of Covid-19 had posed unprecedented challenges to public health and security, had disrupted gatherings and stymied global supply chains, all of which had seriously impacted livelihoods and exacerbated a global economic downturn.
In this context, a joint response and universal solidarity were needed, he said, at the summit entitled World Rally of Hope: Building and Renewing Our Nations in the Post-Covid-19 World: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values.
Hun Sen expressed a desire to avoid racism and playing the blame game, which he believes will only lead to disunity at a time when the world needs to band together to fight the pandemic.
“Moving forward, we need to be strategically well-prepared for [the] post Covid-19 crisis.
“To realise this, we should develop a specific recovery plan by setting out several scenarios for the gradual reopening of cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region and to recover the sectors severely hit by the crisis,” he said.
Countries, Hun Sen said, had to continue strengthening cooperation to promote globalisation and multilateral mechanisms to ensure a conducive environment to promote economic growth, eradicate poverty, and improve people’s livelihoods.
The prime minister said countries have to ensure their cooperation remains open and supportive of the multilateral trading system, especially in accelerating their social and economic connectivity to advance development agendas of each country and achieve a global agenda of sustainable and inclusive development.
He said building and maintaining peace is an indispensable foundation for development and should be a top priority for each country.
“Peace cannot be achieved by chance. We must promote mutual love, mutual respect and humanitarian values, coexist peacefully and harmoniously and respect the diversity of faith, religions, and cultures within and between societies,” he said.
Hun Sen also expounded on Cambodia’s successful efforts at containing Covid-19, which is centred on preventing imported cases and community transmission, and treating the infected.
He said Cambodia had experienced no community transmission and none had died in the country from Covid-19 as yet.
Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, spiritual advisor to President Donald Trump Paula White, member of the House of Councillors of Japan Chuichi Date and former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich delivered speeches at the summit.
Other leaders and former leaders of countries spoke as well, including Senegalese president Macky Sall, Nigerien prime minister Brigi Rafini, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, former Albanian president Alfred Moisiu and former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.
Ban said that the world is continually facing challenges which threaten peace and that arrogance and material greed has led to territorial disputes, conflicts among religions and ethnic groups, and family breakdowns.
He said rampant nationalism is threatening the security of humanity and that these factors are also increasing the effects of climate change
In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, he said unsettling trends have intensified, including growing tension between the US and China, a potential new Cold War.
Increased racism and protectionism had caused countries to deviate from pluralism and international cooperation, he said.
Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of the Global Peace Federation said the divisions between the two Koreas were posing obstacles to peace.
Last year, she presented Hun Sen with a medal for leadership and good governance when Cambodia hosted the 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit, which discussed the government’s cooperation with civil society organisations to promote development.