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Friday, June 04, 2010

U.N. agency in Cambodia appeals for better care of women, girls

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) appealed to the world leaders to pay more care and support to the women and girls in Cambodia.

In a statement on Friday, UNFPA said the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth threaten women's lives every single day.

It said, "Though in Cambodia we have seen a two-fold increase in births attended by skilled health personnel in a decade -- progress we can all be proud of -- five women still die giving life every day, and many still lack access to essential reproductive and maternal health services."

The appeal titled "Delivering a better future for women and girls" was made just a few days ahead of the leaders from around the world to get together at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 7-9, to renew their commitments toward improving reproductive and maternal health, improving gender equality and accelerating progress toward MDG 5.

The Cambodian delegation will include Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister for Women's Affairs, Khuon Sudary and Ouk Damry, both are members of the National Assembly, Khloth Tongphka, member of the Senate, and officials from the Ministry of Health, UNFPA Representative to Cambodia Ms. Alice Levisay, and NGO representatives.

The statement said that women are a driving force in Cambodian society and in the Cambodian economy.

"When women aren't healthy, their families, their communities and the country suffer," it said.

Women Deliver representatives will call on governments, multilateral organizations, donors and non-governmental organizations to redouble their commitments and translate talk about reproductive and maternal health into action.

"Women deliver not only babies. They deliver enormous social and economic benefits to their families, communities and nations. All research shows that it pays off to invest in women. But they need to be healthy and alive to thrive and contribute," says President of the Women Deliver Initiative, Jill Sheffield.

The Women Deliver Initiative was launched at a conference held in London from October 2007 to mark the 20th anniversary of global efforts to reduce high rates of maternal and newborn death and disability in the developing world.

Source: Xinhua
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ASME to open 1st business centre in Cambodia to increase links with local firms

SINGAPORE: The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises or (ASME) will open a business centre in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to increase tie-ups between companies.

The centre, supported by SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore, is scheduled to be opened early next year.

This is the first-ever overseas centre by a Singapore business association.

Collaborating to develop Cambodia's infrastructure or providing education services in Phnom Penh are some of the sectors that Singapore SMEs can venture into.

Bryan The, CEO, Association of Small & Medium Enterprises, said: "Singapore businesses tend to lag behind some of the other competing countries in the region like Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong for example.

“And that often when business opportunities crop up, the other countries tend to snap them up faster than Singapore. So we hope that by being physically there, it could help hasten the process and also raise awareness of such opportunities to Singapore businesses.

“We think that in the next five years, Cambodia would be the next big thing, possibly even as big as Vietnam and being relatively untapped. This is the right time to be in Cambodia right now.”

ASME's business centre comes on the back of the government's recent call for Singapore companies to internationalise.

The centre will also look for opportunities in countries like Laos and Myanmar.

ASME has decided to set up a business centre in Cambodia because currently, there is no Singapore representative or assistance there.

The association believes that Cambodia has potential market opportunities worth over US$200 million. One of the key responsibilities of the centre will be to match-make Cambodia and Singapore companies for business cooperation.

And understanding consumer needs in emerging regional markets is key when expanding overseas.

Arnaud Frade, regional director, Retail and Shopper, TNS, said: "Getting to know your consumers and not making assumptions. What is working here in Singapore may not be working in China.
“If they go into this market without the real knowledge, they'd very likely waste a lot of resources, distract their management and ultimately, again risk losing share at home because all their resources have been diverted."

To better familiarise Singapore SMEs with the demands overseas, ASME will double its trade missions to over 20 this year to countries like China, Vietnam and even Uzbekistan. - CNA/vm

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Defence ministers hold summit on Asian security - Summary

AvailableSingapore - South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on Friday urged the world community to take North Korea to task over the March sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors.

"Today, the Republic of Korea government referred the matter of North Korea's attack against the Cheonan to the United Nations Security Council," Lee told defence ministers and policymakers from 28 nations gathered for the largest dialogue on Asian security in Singapore.

Pyongyang had to "admit its wrongdoing and must pledge to never again engage in such reprehensible action," Lee said.

He called on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, noting that it was "never too late to embark on the path of mutual benefit."

The three-day 2010 Shangri-La Dialogue opened amid rising tensions and sabre rattling on the Korean Peninsula after the South, backed by the findings of a multinational investigation team, blamed the North of sinking the Cheonan with a torpedo.

Lee said South Korea was not seeking confrontation and war with the North, but together with the United States and other allies had to respond firmly.

The North Koreans "must understand very clearly that they have to suffer the consequences," said Lee.

The Stalinist regime in Pyongyang denied any involvement in the Cheonan incident and threatened to start an all-out war against the neighbouring South.

The present situation on the Korean Peninsula was so grave "that a war may break out at any moment," North Korean diplomat Ri Jang Gon told a United Nations forum on Thursday.

The North Korean threat was expected to rank high among the issues to be discussed in the Singapore summit's plenary sessions and at meetings on its sidelines.

Other topics to be addressed are security partnerships in the region and humanitarian and disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates is scheduled to address the summit on Saturday.

The annual dialogue organized by the London-based non-governmental International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) represents the highest concentration of defence and security leaders in Asia.

Since its inaugural meeting in 2002, the summit has also expanded as a venue for diplomats from the United States and Europe.

Attendees are to include ministers and delegates from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Britain, the United States and Vietnam.

The summit is scheduled to conclude on Sunday.
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