The Sustainable Development Goals in Cambodia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Cambodia:
01 June 2021
Information Note #5: Ensuring Food Security and Nutrition during COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic and measures meant to slow the transmission of the virus are resulting in economic downturns in countries worldwide, which have led to increased food insecurity and malnutrition. Before the pandemic, Cambodia had made impressive progress on food security and nutrition. Yet, the prevalence of undernourishment stood at 14% and malnutrition persisted in all its forms. One in three children under 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition and one in ten from acute malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies were widespread, and obesity was on the rise. The United Nations system in Cambodia is concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 on the food security and nutrition status of vulnerable groups including the poor, women and children, the people with underling health conditions, old and the unsheltered. Food insecurity and malnutrition are closely linked with human dignity, and access to food and nutrition is basic human right of every human being. Indeed, loss of income and livelihoods reduces access to food and aggravates the difficulties many face to access affordable, healthy and adequate diets, as well as services. A United Nations study released in April 2021 showed that in the last six months, households have increasingly adopted coping strategies to access food including reducing food intake, relying on cheaper options, and borrowing. It highlighted that IDPoor households, small size (1-3 members) and households with members having disabilities were more likely to have poor food security and nutrition outcomes. At the end of 2020 only half of Cambodian women aged 15-49 consumed a sufficiently diverse diet (down from 70% earlier in the year). Public health experts further anticipated in a Lancet article (July 2020) a 14% increase in acute malnutrition in low and lower-middle income countries due to COVID-19. Investing to protect food security and nutrition is essential in the COVID-19 response as: Healthy, balanced diets for all are key for boosting immunity and preventing non-communicable diseases that are risk factors for higher COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Malnutrition in childhood and pregnancy has many adverse and intergenerational consequences for child growth and development with life-long impacts on education and chronic disease risks. It has far-reaching consequences for human capital, economic productivity, and national development overall. In 2016, it was estimated that malnutrition costed the economy 266 million USD per year (1.7% GDP). The United Nations promotes rights-based, integrated, multi-sectoral, systems approach to food security and nutrition. Through such initiatives as the UN Nutrition, it speaks in one voice to elevate the prioritization and commitment to food security and nutrition and access to food for all while working with partners to realise the goals of the National Food Security and Nutrition Strategy as well as the recently launched roadmap for the prevention and treatment of wasting. It also supports interventions across the food, education, health, social protection, and WASH systems. With the upcoming United Nations Food Systems Summit in July 2021, the United Nations is supporting the Royal Government to conduct inclusive dialogues, promote awareness and mobilize multistakeholder action to create pathways for more sustainable food systems. Specific to COVID-19, the United Nations is contributing quality data through regular household-based primary data collection to measure the evolution of the food security and nutrition situation and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. National social assistance efforts, notably the significant increase in cash transfers and the provision of food rations in lieu of school feeding provided by the Government at regular intervals since April 2020, have played an important role to mitigate further damage on food security and nutrition of the poorest. The United Nations supported these efforts and will continue to engage through advocacy and technical assistance to enhance both the nutrition-sensitivity and shock-responsiveness of social assistance. To complement national initiatives in the COVID-19 response, the United Nations is also directly providing food packages and cash transfers - at times combined with building productive assets, technical training, and extension services - to the most vulnerable groups, including poor households affected by multiple shocks, informal workers, returning migrants, small-scale farmers, young children, pregnant and lactating women. For instance, the United Nations provided take-home rations to support over 89,500 students from IDPoor households. Another round of food distribution will take place in June 2021. The United Nations and its partners are also supporting approximately 1500 households impacted by COVID-19 in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey Province to restore their livelihoods. In relation to the recent COVID-19 lockdown measures, as highlighted in Information Note #2 on Social Protection, the United Nations system in Cambodia advocated for a human rights-based response to COVID-19 based on a “do no harm” approach with emphasis on: (i) protecting the access of all, including the most vulnerable people to diverse, balanced and nutritious diets through the provision of food assistance and the expansion of social protection; (ii) considering food production, marketing and distribution as essential services; (iii) enhancing two-way communication to more effectively address issues concerning food access; and (iv) establishing preparedness measures to enhance the response in case of future similar measures. ### UN Cambodia’s Response to COVID-19 Information Notes are official documents from the United Nations in Cambodia intended for the media and other partners. They are prepared by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator.
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28 May 2021
Information Note #4: UN Support to Cambodia Prisons in the Current COVID-19 Context
The United Nations system in Cambodia works on prisons and with prison authorities based on the respective agencies’ mandates with a view to ensuring that the rights of persons in detention and those working with them are protected and promoted in line with Cambodia’s international human rights obligations. As such, the UN’s role is limited to technical assistance, whereas the Government retains obligations to uphold its commitments to protect and promote human rights of Cambodian prison population. When an urgent need arises, the UN provides humanitarian assistance to the extent possible in line with the request of the government and international humanitarian principles. In the context of technical assistance, the United Nations system in Cambodia has continuously called and offered support, and continues to call on the authorities to cooperate in protecting people who are behind bars, ensuring rational testing following guidelines, and ensuring that the COVID-19 outbreak is managed appropriately with a view to protecting the rights of prisoners and prison staff. Specific United Nations entities have also been entrusted with promoting international norms and standards pertaining to prison settings, such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners Nelson Mandela Rules (Nelson Mandela Rules), the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (Tokyo Rules) and the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules). The UN system continues to advocate for the implementation of these norms and standards. On the health response, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the United Nations has provided technical advice and operational support to Ministry of Health to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in Cambodia. In Cambodian prison settings, together with partners, the UN advice and support includes: (1)establishing Influenza-like-illness (ILI) sentinel surveillance sites in four prisons located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Kampong Cham, where at these sites, detainees presenting with ILI symptoms are tested for COVID-19; and (2) working with the Ministry of Health and advising the General Directorate of Prisons on risk mitigation measures and response planning in prison facilities. In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, UN has provided technical advice on the use of rapid tests including implication of negative test results and guidance on contact tracing and quarantine; and promoting cross-sectoral collaborative and coordinated preparedness and response. On 13 May 2021, the General Directorate of Prisons requested the United Nations to provide humanitarian support to the Cambodian prisons, which is summarized below: For Prison Operation Officials (Security and Health) No. Materials Quantity Unit 1 Quasi-PPE clothing (direct services to Covid-19 infected individuals) 2,500 Set 2 Face shields 2,500 Piece 3 Latex gloves 5,000 Pair 4 Rubber gloves 250 Pair 5 Rubber boots 250 Pair 6 Waterproof plastic aprons 250 Piece 7 N-95 masks 15,000 Piece For Inmates (10,000 Individuals) 1 Rapid antigen test kits for detecting Covid-19 10,000 Set 2 Chinese traditional anti-flu medicine (Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang) 35,000 Box 3 Multi-vitamin supplements 140,000 Tablet 4 Vitamin C 500 mg 420,000 Tablet On 27 May 2021, the United Nations handed over 5,000 pairs of latex gloves, 250 pairs of rubber gloves, and 250 pairs of rubber boots to the General Department of Prisons at the Correction Center II. These supplies are funded by the grant of the Government of Japan. They will be distributed by the General Department of Prisons to provincial prisons where there is high risk of COVID-19 outbreak, in particular where there are juvenile detainees. Concurrently, the United Nations is procuring most of the remaining items on the GDP list: 500 sets of quasi-PPE clothing, 500 face shields, 200 pieces waterproof plastic aprons, 4,500 N-95 masks, 3,000 rapid antigen test kits, 140,000 tablets of multi-vitamin supplements and 420,000 tablets of Vitamin C 500 mg. and vitamin). Delivery time will take into account availability of stocks in the domestic and international markets. In addition, the United Nations will be contributing 200 boxes (10,000 pcs) of masks and 1,080 bar soaps to the Sihanoukville prison by 1 June 2021. The United Nations will also be supplying an additional 3,000 rapid antigen test kits and other PPE supplies. The United Nations system in Cambodia continues to advocate and offers technical assistance on implementing alternatives to detention, particularly in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, the United Nations system has urged the Royal Government that detention should be used as a last resort and alternative measures to imprisonment should be considered as a matter of priority. The United Nations system notes that Cambodian Criminal Procedure Code provides that liberty, not detention, should be the norm for those awaiting trial. The challenges posed to the penal system by COVID-19 are exceptional and commensurate exceptional measures are needed to ensure that the health and rights of all of those held in Cambodia’s dangerously overcrowded prisons are protected. In the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the authorities need to take urgent steps to minimize the threat posed by the virus to those in detention including by releasing to alternate facilities, a wide range of categories of prisoners, namely pre-trial detainees, women with accompanying children, those with pre-existing medical conditions and non-violent offenders. At the same time, the United Nations system has been advocating for alternatives to detention for children in conflict with the law and supported the Ministry of Justice to develop the Diversion and Child-friendly procedures guidelines. Capacity building for police, prosecutors, judges and social workers has been provided and will continue to be provided to ensure the effective application of the Law on Juvenile Justice and relevant procedures and to implement alternative measures to detention. The United Nations system in Cambodia does not have specific information on the number of positive cases in prisons in Cambodia and calls on greater transparency to ensure that information concerning the outbreak in prisons is made available similar to other COVID-19 positive cases. ### UN Cambodia’s Response to COVID-19 Information Notes are official documents from the United Nations in Cambodia intended for the media and other partners. They are prepared by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator.
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28 May 2021
The young Cambodian peacekeeper inspiring change: Paving the road to lasting peace amidst the pandemic
In South Sudan, Imam Malyko, a 29-year-old Cambodian peacekeeper, is among 70 Cambodian peacekeepers going the extra mile every day to protect civilians from both the conflict and the pandemic. Even when COVID-19 surged in South Sudan, the peace operation mission for Sudan continues. As the Cambodian UN Police, their roles include enforcing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) traffic regulations, ensuring law and order among civilians and military, acting as police personnel, and conducting accident investigations. In this unprecedented time, the Cambodian UN Police work also involves promoting COVID-19 health and safety measures. Now Malyko and her fellow peacekeepers are at the front-line of two major calamities: a conflic zone and the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite dealing with stress resulting from the pandemic, Malyko and her team are resilient enough to adapt to the new normal, and she has never lost her nerve. Malyko explained there are many challenges, especially amidst the pandemic, that female peacekeepers like her have to embrace. “In Cambodia, there is a mindset that women have to stay at home and must do household chores and have to be obedient daughters. But when I am here in South Sudan, I have my responsibility, I work under the sun where the weather is almost 40°C. But when we love the job, we do it with love,” Malyko said confidently. Against all odds, Malyko joined the National Peacekeeper Center as a soldier in 2010. Her friends and relatives told her that peacekeeping is dangerous for a woman like her and that she would not go far in this career path. Even though none of her family members were soldiers, her parents were very supportive. They encouraged her to be brave and move forward with her goal. She joined the Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan in 2017. “In South Sudan, we are a small unit, having only 70 personnel. But as part of the UN Charter, everyone recognizes us. We have good interactions and good communications with other personnel. We love and we are very proud of our work,” Malyko added. “I would like to share a message to women in my country [Cambodia]. I want to see more Cambodian females join the peacekeeping missions. I want to see more women working in higher positions. I want to tell all fellow women that we can do more than we ever think. One day you will realize that you are doing something beyond just for yourself but you do it for others. When you help other people, that makes you feel like you are born to help other people. That’s the meaning of life,” she added. The involvement of youth and women is essential for peace, security and human rights. Malyko emphasised that peace is fundemental to every society, that to her peace means waking up to have food, to feeling secure, and to not having to move to a different place to feel safe. As someone passionate about helping other people, Malyko has been involved in a number of charity activities since a young age, including acting as a translator for an international de-mining team when they cleared mines from the land close to her hometown. Malyko felt inspired and wanted to become like them. “To acquire peace, young people have to have access to quality education and respect diversity,” said Malyko. Promoting young people involved in peacebuilding is key to achieving long-term peace and promote human rights. From peacekeepers to volunteer work in society, young people help bring together new ideas and innovation in the mission they serve and the society that they live in. Just like Malyko dreamed of becoming a peacekeeper and helping her society achieve peace, the seed was planted since she was young. Even though women’s involvement in peacebuilding work has risen, more needs to be done. Women are often overlooked, but they are undoubtedly the most effective agents to bring lasting peace in peace operation missions. Malyko, too, believes that her work as a female peacekeeper has brought important change to the communities that she serve—by setting examples for women and girls to advocate for their own rights. “People are very happy to see women in uniform because they usually only see men. Every time I visit the community, women always come and interact with me, they say they want their children to grow up to become a peacekeeper like myself,” said Malyko. As we mark International Peacekeeping Day, Malyko and other young peacekeepers play an important role in bringing new ideas and innovations to peacekeeping efforts, which is more critical than ever in light of the pandemic. They are paving the way forward to peace, and for other young people to participate in building their future world. As of March 2021, Cambodia is the 27th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping. It currently deploys 767 peacekeepers, 95 are women, to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, and South Sudan.
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