Asia-Europe women forum held

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn (centre) and Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi (centre left) at the Asia-Europe forum. WOMEN’S AFFAIRS MINISTRY

Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi has affirmed that gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to the Cambodian government’s development agenda.

Kantha Phavi made the remarks while attending the Asia-Europe Forum on Women, Peace and Security via video conference on October 13-14.

“Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment are key factors for the development agenda of the Cambodian government in order to enjoy sustainable economic growth and an inclusive society, as it is stated government policy that women are the backbone of the national economy and Cambodia’s social development,” she said.

The minister added that the UN Security Council resolutions on peace and security have been widely implemented with a focus on the “four pillars”.

“These four pillars are women’s participation in decision-making at all levels in the areas of peace and security; the protection of the rights of women and girls; the integration of gender perspectives into conflict prevention initiatives; and ensuring that gender considerations are incorporated into relief and rehabilitation efforts,” she said.

She said Cambodia had made marked progress in its joint efforts to protect women’s rights by implementing three national action plans to prevent violence against women from 2011 to 2023.

“Cambodia is committed to ensuring the participation of women in the peace process and increasing the number of women both in the peacekeeping missions and the security sector when the situation is favourable,” she said.

The Asia-Europe Forum on Women is one of the accompanying events hosted by Cambodia under the framework of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13), which will be held virtually under the theme “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth” on November 25-16.

The forum’s main purpose is to facilitate dialogue and exchanges between women in Europe and Asia in order to further achieve the goals of peace and security.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn said the forum presents a valuable opportunity to further the work of creating an environment conducive to promoting the role of women in achieving peace, stability, long-term security and sustainable development.

He added that Cambodia had transformed from being a country that was the site of a major UN peacekeeping operation to a country that was contributing to UN peacekeeping operations abroad by sending 7,826 members of its armed forces – including 494 women – to serve as blue helmet UN peacekeepers in eight countries undergoing conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

“We are very proud that Cambodia’s peacekeeping contributions are ranked 13th out of 122 countries and the second in ASEAN after Indonesia,” Sokhonn said.

Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An said at the event that the heroism of the women serving as UN peacekeepers had provided a significant degree of encouragement to young women in Cambodia to boldly explore their career options.

The women’s affairs ministry will report on the results of the Asia-Europe Forum at the ASEM13 summit on November 25-26 and will seek support for permanently adopting and formally establishing this accompanying forum on women as part of all future summits.