Sweden’s new Ambassador Björn Häggmark presented his credentials to His Majesty King NORODOM SIHAMONI of Cambodia. Starting his mission, the Ambassador looks toward the future of the relations between Sweden and Cambodia based on a longstanding and constructive partnership.
“I am honoured and delighted to represent Sweden in Cambodia. Sweden is an open and creative society in a world that changes rapidly. The voices of civil society, and efforts to achieve gender equality, have contributed to Sweden’s progress. I believe this is of interest to Cambodia with its young population. I will work hard to deepen and broaden the relations to the benefit of Cambodians and Swedes,” says Ambassador Björn Häggmark.
Sweden and Cambodia established diplomatic relations in 1961. Sweden provided its first development cooperation support to Cambodia in 1979. At present, the Swedish bilateral development cooperation with Cambodia focus on three areas: human rights, democracy and the rule of law; education and employment; and climate change and sustainable use of natural resources. Sweden has provided over 120 million USD for development cooperation to the Kingdom of Cambodia between 2014-2019.
Sweden remains one of the main donors to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and is also one of the most significant donors to UN in Cambodia within human rights, gender equality as well as to climate financing.
“Respect for human rights is at the heart of Swedish policies, also in our development cooperation. The same goes for the European Union, of which Sweden is a member. The voices of everybody should be heard in order to build inclusive and sustainable societies”, says Ambassador Häggmark.
During the last years, Sweden has geared more attention towards broadening the bilateral relations. Sweden seeks to enhance economic relations with South East Asia, including Cambodia. Sweden’s imports from Cambodia in 2018 amounted to approx. 66 million USD (+12 percent compared to 2017), and the exports to Cambodia to approx. 5,8 million USD. Products from the garment industry make up the main part of Cambodia’s exports to Sweden. Swedish companies with an interest in trade with Cambodia are engaged in efforts and dialogue on labour rights and other aspects key to a positive and sustainable business climate.
“Trade enables growth. However, we must be ambitious with regard to sustainability. Business has an important role to play in achieving the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030. I believe that platforms such as the Global Deal where Sweden and Cambodia are partners in efforts to enhance social dialogue and strengthen partnership are useful in this respect,” says ambassador Häggmark.
The number of Cambodian students studying in Sweden has grown during the last decade. Around 20 Cambodian students per year obtain a master’s degree in Sweden. The Swedish Institute offers scholarships for university studies.
“Enhancing knowledge and skills will be crucial for development in every country. I am glad that Sweden plays such an active role in strengthening education and research in Cambodia. Education, research, vocational training and a strive for innovation in a creative and open society can fulfill the potential of each individual and build a sustainable future,” says Sweden’s new Ambassador in Phnom Penh.