How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I love serving the public interest, especially the citizens of Phnom Penh. After being promoted as a Deputy General Director at Phnom Penh Capital Administration, I was assigned to a handful of exciting campaigns like sustainable and smart city committee, member of the executive board of the City Bus Authority and managing other projects with development partners such as the Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency related to mobility and transports.

Technologies and innovations have played a vital role in people’s daily lives. Like many other cities in the world, the Phnom Penh authority has been actively trying to embed technologies to better provide public services such as transport, security as well as sanitation. The Sustainable and Smart City Committee of Phnom Penh established in 2018 following the ASEAN Smart Cities Network initiative, has been implementing two key projects: the public-space rejuvenation project and public transport authority capacity enhancement project.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2019?

I was assigned as a permanent secretary of the Sustainable and Smart City Committee of Phnom Penh in 2019. I have been working with a couple of exciting teams by introducing many technologies to achieve the main goals of the two projects, with the ultimate ambition to resolve urban mobility challenges.

The most exciting thing is that I got to work with many inspiring individuals from the private sector, universities and development partners that have come together for common goals. It has been thrilling for being part of the solutions as we were working on a traffic control center, traffic simulation software, sensing technologies, and the City Bus Phnom Penh mobile app.

What is the best thing you have experienced in your career?

The best thing I have experienced in my career is the opportunity to travel around the world, share experiences and knowledge as well as learning from diverse experts on different platforms seeking to find the best solutions for their cities.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2019, what would it be?

Technologies alone won’t make a city smart. A smart city requires smart businesses, smart citizens and smart governance. Cities should thrive not only on being smart. We as city managers must thrive for resilient and liveable cities which are more people-oriented approach. Humans make use of the technologies, not the other way around.

What tool or technique particularly interest you for 2020?

Citizen engagement platform or toolbox. Engaging citizens can improve delivery and quality of public services and promote decentralisation through good governance principles. Building a citizen engagement program that works for everyone is still a work in process.

What are your priorities for 2020?

My priorities are first to see urban mobility system in Phnom Penh work in a more integrated environment. Second, I would like to be able to be involved in a process where government and citizens can collaborate through improved platform, be more engaged for the betterment of our society.

What is one challenge you would like to take on in 2020?

I like being challenged, I believe that is how one can grow stronger. As mentioned earlier, I have only been working in an environment where I need to coordinate with various actors with different backgrounds, perceptions and expectations in a project. One challenge I would like to continue on taking up is policy coordination.

What has been your fondest memory from the past year?

2019 has been wonderful, one of the best moments was when I found an old friend from high school during my trip to Zurich with my family. We had a meal together catching up and talking about old times.