Cambodian PM Highlights Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development at UN ESCAP Session

Cambodian PM highlights digital innovation as key to sustainable development, addressing challenges like digital divide and war remnants at UN ESCAP session.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Cambodian PM Highlights Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development at UN ESCAP Session

Cambodian PM Highlights Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development at UN ESCAP Session

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet emphasized the vital role of digital innovation in achieving sustainable development while addressing challenges such as the digital divide and explosive remnants of war at the 80th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) in Bangkok on April 22, 2024.

In his speech, Prime Minister Hun Manet stated that Cambodia considers digital technology a critical driver for socio-economic development in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He underlined that digital innovation is indispensable to addressing inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to the growing needs of the people.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the Cambodian government has adopted various policy frameworks to build a digital economy and society, including the 'Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework of Cambodia 2021-2035' and the 'Cambodia Digital Government Policy 2022-2035'. He also mentioned that Cambodia has been proactively engaging in digital policy agendas to achieve global and regional digital development goals, such as the 'ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025' and the UN's 'Digital Strategy 2022-2025'.

Why this matters: The Cambodian Prime Minister's address at the UN ESCAP session underscores the growing importance of digital innovation in driving sustainable development and addressing global challenges. As countries in the Asia-Pacific region strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, leveraging the power of digital technologies will be vital in promoting inclusive growth and bridging the digital divide.

However, Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia, ASEAN, and the Asia-Pacific region still face challenges such as digital gaps between countries and rural-urban areas, lack of infrastructure and quality internet access, limited digital literacy, and issues related to digital trading, cybersecurity, and cybercrime. He emphasized the need to address these challenges to achieve sustainable digital development.

The Prime Minister also highlighted that the issue of demining and removal of explosive remnants of war remains an obstacle for Cambodia's overall development, including bridging the digital gap and accessing quality internet services. As the President of the Ottawa Convention this year, Cambodia will host the 5th Review Conference in Siem Reap-Angkor in November 2024. Prime Minister Hun Manet expressed appreciation to the UN ESCAP for assisting Cambodia in drafting a National Mine Action Policy, marking the first time the UN ESCAP has participated in mine action.

The 80th session of the UN ESCAP focused on the importance of digital innovation for sustainable development, with heads of state and government underscoring the need for inclusive policies, effective resource mobilization, and regional cooperation to bridge the digital divide and harness the benefits of digital solutions. The session is expected to culminate with the endorsement of resolutions covering digital innovation and sustainable development in countries facing special situations.

Key Takeaways

  • Cambodian PM emphasizes digital innovation for sustainable development at UN ESCAP session.
  • Cambodia adopts digital economy and government policies to drive digital transformation.
  • Challenges remain in bridging digital divides, infrastructure, and digital literacy in Cambodia.
  • Cambodia to host 5th Review Conference of Ottawa Convention on mine action in 2024.
  • UN ESCAP session focuses on leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development.