UNICEF and the NGO Save the Children jointly hosted a forum in Phnom Penh marking the 10th anniversary of the global launch of the “Children's Rights and Business Principles”. These principles offer guidelines for businesses as they embed children's rights into their business strategies and activities.

Fifty representatives from the private sector, the government and development partners joined the forum to discuss business' responsibilities when it comes to children's rights, discuss progress made and agree on priorities for the next ten years.

Keynote speakers at the forum included Huot Pum, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Economy & Finance and Will Parks, UNICEF's representative in Cambodia as well as Reaksmey Hong, country director for Save the Children Cambodia.

Pum said that the government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992 and remains absolutely committed to protecting and fulfilling the rights of all children.

He added that all children are affected by the actions of the business sector not only as consumers but also as future employees and business leaders.

“The Children's Rights and Business Principles have provided crucial guidance as the government has worked with the private sector to embed children's rights at the heart of the Cambodian economy. Today we recognise the progress made in the last ten years and reaffirm our continued commitment to further progress in the ten years ahead,” he stated.

He also said that the forum was an opportunity to encourage and inspire businesses to adopt responsible practices with children's rights at their heart.

Parks said that children’s lives are affected every day by the private sector, and it’s essential that businesses act in ways that value, respect and support their rights. Fulfilling the promise of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles can only be achieved through close collaboration between businesses, government and development partners.

“We can be proud of the progress made, such as the drafting of a new Child Protection Law, but we must also recognise that much more needs to be done,” he added.

He called on the public and private sectors to double down on their commitment to embedding children’s rights at the heart of business operations.

Reaksmey Hong closed the forum. He noted the positive impact of Cambodia’s economic growth on children but also highlighted that they continued to face many challenges, particularly after the pandemic.

He called for their continued dedication and commitment to respecting children’s rights in every aspect of their business strategy and operations.

“Please remember that your support to your employees and community, and the changes you create in your work and in the marketplace, can have a positive impact on children’s lives. UNICEF and Save the Children will continue serving children, their families and communities, and we will always be there for you too, as partners, because a greater impact can be made when we collaborate,” he said.