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UN’s Smith meets ministers

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UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith (second left) holds a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on Tuesday. Heng Chivoan

UN’s Smith meets ministers

UN special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Tuesday held a meeting with Minister of Planning Chhay Than to discuss Cambodia’s progress in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among other issues.

Theng Pagnathun, the delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Director General of Planning, told reporters after the meeting that the government has approved the localisation framework for the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while also disseminating the plan at a national level and sub-national levels in March this year.

The 2030 Agenda outlines a blueprint for sustainable development goals intended to enhance peace and prosperity. It was adopted by all UN member states in 2015.

“In the process of formulating this localisation plan, we opened up for participation from all relevant people in ministries and government institutions, including civil society groups, development partners and the private sector,” Pagnathun said.

He went on to confirm that the ministry has proceeded according to the government’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda by complying with this year’s Voluntary National Reviews (VNR).

VNR is an initiative promoted by the UN for member states to “conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress [in meeting SDGs] at the national and sub-national levels”.

Pagnathun said Cambodia’s VNR will be approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen before the government sends it to the UN for presentation in July.

He continued that the government has already conducted this year’s national census, reporting good participation.

Smith told The Post after meeting with Than that they had discussed the progress of the SDG, as well as the progress of the national census.

“The work of the ministry is very important to ensure that the SDGs are met, and also that in the rapid development of this country, no one is left behind,” she said.

Smith said Than had explained to her in detail about the ministry’s plan for the presentation of the Kingdom’s VNR report at the UN in New York City this July.

In addition to her meeting with Than, Smith on Tuesday met with Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara.

She reported that in her meeting with Bun Heng, she was informed about the progress of Cambodia’s health sector, with a discussion on drug users and other health issues impacting the Kingdom having also been held.

“We discussed, among other issues, the involvement of the ministry in drug rehabilitation services, equal access to health services with no discrimination, and the authorities’ efforts to combat falsified and substandard medicine in Cambodia,” she said.

Smith’s visit to Cambodia began on April 29 and is scheduled to finish on Thursday.

On Friday and Saturday, she met with displaced Vietnamese and ethnic Cham villagers living on Kampong Chhnang province’s Tonle Sap Lake, before also meeting with provincial officials regarding the issue.

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