Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Chair of the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit urged for the deepening of solidarity so as to ensure robust socioeconomic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis.

“It is crucial that we accelerate and deepen our solidarity under the spirit of multilateralism in order to ensure robust socioeconomic recovery after the crisis,” the Premier said while presiding over the opening ceremony of the 7th GMS Summit held this morning via videoconference.

On the occasion, Samdech Techo Hun Sen highlighted five important points:

“First, I am pleased to see positive development of the GMS cooperation most notably the achievements we have made in all areas that contribute to strengthening regional connectivity, promoting competitiveness, and building communities through full implementation of the Greater Mekong Subregion Strategic Framework 2022, the Hanoi Action Plan, and the Regional Investment Framework since our 6th Summit in 2018. Moving forward, our cooperation is strategically necessary as we continue working closely together to transform challenges into opportunities for the development of our region.

In this regard, I believe that the adoption the Greater Mekong Subregion Strategic Framework 2030 and our new Mission Statement for the GMS-Focusing on the fundamental strengths of communities, connectivity, and competitiveness, while embracing the core principles of environmental sustainability and resilience with integration and inclusiveness, to build the GMS Community towards a shared future will be the strong pillars for the Greater Mekong Subregion to provide adequate responses to current challenges especially to develop economic and social resilience amidst the rapidly changing regional and global context.

Second, at the regional level, we have witnessed the utmost efforts by the Mekong countries in the fight against Covid-19 through the implementation of appropriate prevention and containment measures as well as mitigation responses that support our economic activities and the livelihood of our peoples. As for Cambodia, the Royal Government has made her best efforts in controlling the Covid-19 crisis with the rollout of the nationwide vaccination campaign and enforcement of public health and administrative measures that are aimed at reducing community transmission. Nevertheless, this new wave of Covid-19 pandemic has had severe impacts on Cambodia’s economy, most notably in the areas of textiles, tourism, and other service sectors, which brings about uncertainty in her recovery for 2021. In this context, I believe that our joint efforts are essential for our post-crisis recovery and growth especially with the adoption of the GMS Covid-19 Response and Recovery Plan 2021 2023 which will enable us to launch timely responses that will pave the way for smooth operations of supply chains, trade, investment, tourism and public health in our region.

Third, as we currently combat the spread of Covid-19, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the People’s Republic of China for her role in providing vaccines to fight against the Covid-19 outbreaks for countries in the region. I would also like to express my profound thank again to the People’s Republic of China for her donation of Covid-19 vaccines to the Cambodian people. Likewise, I would like to express our gratitude to the international community through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme, as well as to other bilateral partners for sharing and providing vaccines to Cambodia. These reflect our friendship and solidarity in time of crisis, as I used to say ‘Love each other in times of need, know good friends in times of trouble’. It is this friendship and solidarity that contribute to every effort made by the Royal Government to return Cambodia to normalcy and recover her economy after the COVID-19 crisis.

Fourth, indeed in this hard time, our path forward lies not only in our strategic directions and action plans to rehabilitate our shared prosperity but also in our efforts to mobilise funding especially tapping synergies and complementing with other financing programmes in the Mekong region, as we aim to deliver tangible outcomes for our development projects. In the meantime, public-private partnership remains a key indispensable financing mechanism that helps to resolve our financing challenges.

Fifth, with regard to regional connectivity-an area that is at the heart of our cooperation – I would like to highlight the importance of digital connectivity as it serves to compensate the loss of productivity caused by the Covid-19 crisis and also to ensure effective and sustainable socio-economic development. Therefore, in the midst of our economic recovery, Cambodia urges that GMS cooperation focuses on the development of digital infrastructure, integration of the digital economy, and upskilling of our workforce in the era of Fourth Industrial Revolution so as to maintain high competitiveness for our economies. In the meantime, development of smart cities, clean energy and logistics systems should be further strengthened.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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