Phnom Penh (FN), Sep. 9 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen stressed that accelerating and deepening solidarity under the spirit of multilateralism is crucial to ensure robust socioeconomic recovery after the crisis.

The premier spoke at the opening session of the 7th GMS Summit under the Theme: “GMS: Renewed Strength to Face the Challenges of the New Decade”, held on Thursday, Phnom Penh.

“Currently, although we expect the Covid-19 crisis to ease in the near future with the surging momentum of global vaccination programs, the world remains at risk with a new wave of Covid-19 pandemics caused by the Delta variant which continues to disrupt public health systems, tourism and the global supply chain. In this context, 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”, said the premier.

“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 of 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”, the premier added.

“At the regional level, we have witnessed the utmost efforts by the Mekong countries in the fight against COVID19 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 COVID19 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 COVID19 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”, the premier stressed.

“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 mobilize funding especially tapping synergies and complementing with other financing programs 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.”

Samdech continued that: “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 COVID19 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.”