A two-day regional parliamentary workshop organized by the National Assembly of Cambodia (NA), the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretariat and the Parliamentary Center for Asia (PCAsia) concluded in Siem Reap .
The workshop – entitled “The role of parliaments in promoting inclusive and sustainable responses to health emergencies: case studies of effectiveness and obstacles in national responses to Covid-19” – aimed to exchange ideas and experiences to improve the response to health emergencies.
The August 10-11 workshop was chaired by Lork Kheng, chairwoman of the 8th NA Committee, and brought together members of the legislature as well as government officials and provincial authorities.
Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and PCAsia were also present, as well as participants from ASEAN and other regions.
“The workshop is an important opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences from the legislature, the executive and civil society on the role and participation of all stakeholders, in particular the role of parliaments in promoting inclusive and sustainable responses to health emergencies,” Kheng said.
“The regional workshop should also jointly develop a study on the positive and negative aspects of the methods implemented during the fight against Covid-19, in order to more comprehensively strengthen all the mechanisms to deal with future pandemics.”
She noted that Cambodia – with “strong and rapid-response leadership” – had worked closely with the WHO in an effort to contain the pandemic, with the NA having approved laws on measures to prevent the spread. of Covid-19 and other contagious diseases. .
“During this difficult period, the government has set up the National Committee for the Fight against Covid-19 led by the Prime Minister [Hun Sen] itself to control the spread of the virus and provide monthly payments to poor and vulnerable households, as well as utility workers.
“The government has adopted a [Covid-19] vaccination policy to boost community immunity, allowing Cambodia to reopen with confidence but with caution,” Kheng said.
She said that the participation of all stakeholders in the workshop showed the strong regional cooperation between parliaments, the Cambodian government and civil society.
PCAsia Executive Director Kim Yeat Dararith said the workshop, which was held in the spirit of cooperation and partnership, discussed common concerns regarding the Covid-19 outbreak and compared the roles played by AIPA members in response to post-pandemic recovery.
“This workshop showed best practices and successes, challenges and obstacles, as well as solutions, including transparency and accountability mechanisms and anti-corruption measures.
“It demonstrated how MPs should act as legislative representatives, with added scrutiny to help improve outcomes for all.
“The consultative workshop demonstrated a shared commitment to protecting public safety and welfare in the event of a health emergency, and the principles of good and effective governance through parliamentary action,” he said. .
WHO Representative in Cambodia Li Ailan agreed that the Kingdom’s success in controlling the Covid-19 situation was largely due to the strong leadership of the government and the active participation of the Cambodian people.
“Cambodia is a good example, with 70% of the population vaccinated in September 2021.
“This was eight months ahead of WHO’s target for the roll-out of vaccination. And as the epidemic knows no borders, it is a powerful reminder of the need for cooperation to prevent its spread,” said- she declared.