At the 2023 UN Water Conference, Minister of Rural Development Ouk Rabun reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to clean and sustainable water management and use, despite several challenges.

The March 22-24 conference, co-organised by Tajikistan and the Netherlands, was held in the US City of New York and attended by heads of state, representatives of governments, development partners, civil society organisations and the private sector from about 200 countries and institutions.

The conference aimed to review the mid-term mandate of the implementation of water sustainability work for the 2018-2028 sustainable development goals (SDGs), and an opportunity for member countries to reaffirm their commitment, plans and best practices in water and sanitation management.

“It was about sharing knowledge and experience of water and sanitation management, and taking joint action to achieve water and sanitation goals for all,” said the ministry in a March 25 press release.

“On behalf of the government, [Rabun] reported Cambodia’s achievements and challenges, as well as its strategic direction, for the sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” it said.

Rabun also attended other important events including a working dinner – organised by the King of the Netherlands and the president of Tajikistan – with senior leaders from other countries under the theme “Water unites us all”, as well as a meeting of the Steering Committee on Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).

“The discussions focussed on promoting the safe, sustainable promotion of clean water and sanitation for all, in line with UNICEF guidelines,” it said.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called on all of the conference attendees to take further action to address the global water crisis.

“This year’s conference must represent a leap forward in the capacity of member states and the international community to recognise the importance of water, and take action, for global sustainability,” he said.

In February, the National Assembly of Cambodia approved a draft law on water management, aimed at developing the sector in response to the Kingdom’s steady socio-economic development.