This year’s celebrations for United Nations Day will be held at the silk research centre of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, with an unnamed UN representative saying local silk is a symbol of innovation in tackling development goals, according to a university official.
Mey Kalyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at RUPP and one of the main forces behind the establishment of a silk research centre at the university last year, told Khmer Times that the UN has asked to hold celebrations for UN Day at their silk research centre.
Mr Kalyan said that this year’s celebrations to mark the holiday will revolve around the theme of innovations tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and that the UN considers the centre’s work reviving the local sericulture industry a perfect example of such innovation.
“A top official in the UN in Cambodia told me that our vision of the silk industry in Cambodia and how we aim to anchor it on the local culture and traditions is a great example of how to approach the SDGs, and that it is in line with the UN’s vision of how to help the country achieve those development goals,” Mr Kalyan said.
“We are honoured to receive this request to hold such an important event, and to have our silk chosen as symbol of innovation in achieving the SDGs,” Mr Kalyan said, adding that he has already accepted the request.
RUPP recently partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help local farmers produce their own silk. Beneficiaries of the project will be supplied silkworms and will receive training.
Construction of the university’s silk research centre cost $90,000 and was financed with the help of the Japanese government and the technical support of Thailand’s Mahasarakham University.
The centre tackles every step involved in producing silk, from silkworm rearing and silk reeling to weaving and dying. “By incorporating science and technology into the process, we will climb the value chain and create better products,” Mr Kalyan said.
“If our sericulture industry is successful, we could contribute significantly to the development of the nation,” he added.
UN Day is held on Oct. 24 every year.