Press Release

Transformative Partnership: delivering differently in the new context | EU-UN Partnership Dialogue 2021

03 February 2021

PHNOM PENH 3 February 2021 – Representatives of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) met in Phnom Penh on 28 January to discuss how to work together in Cambodia more effectively, accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and create even better impact in the lives of all of Cambodia’s people, to build back better after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: © Ratha SOY/UN Cambodia

“We want to be more effective, have a better impact and results in the future. For this, we need to improve the way we work together and this was the purpose of this dialogue between the EU and the UN,” said European Union Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Carmen Moreno, explaining that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a new context in which development work takes place.

“All countries will have to put resources into recovery after Covid-19. But we cannot go back to the old model. Countries need to restart economic growth, but development is much bigger than that. Development is about creating opportunities for people, enlarging their lives, and enlarging their rights. So we need to see how we can be more effective, how we can produce better results,” she continued.

“A deepened partnership is particularly critical at this time of increased inequality and recovering from Covid-19, where solidarity is needed and multilateralism is required,” noted Pauline Tamesis, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Cambodia. “The EU and the UN share common values. And we are committed to human rights, sustainable development, and ensuring empowerment and protection of humanity and the planet.”

The European Union and its Member States together are Cambodia’s second largest partner in terms of grant development assistance, with the UN frequently taking the role of implementing agency. Ongoing projects in which the EU and the UN partner in Cambodia value more than USD 100 million and involve Cambodians from every walk of life across a wide range of areas, including education, agriculture and natural resource management, governance, human rights, social protection, public finance management, private sector development and climate change.

Though the dialogue addressed the serious consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 40 delegates taking part emerged hopeful, agreeing that the new context provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform systems in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.  

“Even in despair, even in many of the disastrous consequences that we have seen from the pandemic, we have seen hope. We have seen it through the transformative policies that many governments have put in place that were previously unthinkable. It was just not imaginable and yet we are seeing it now. This is why Covid-19 gives us an opportunity for change. This gives us hope to build back better,” noted Ms Tamesis.

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