A reception was recently held at MARA Restaurant in Phnom Penh to celebrate the opening of the Honorary Consulate of Finland in Phnom Penh on September 1, 2021. The event brought together not only the new Honorary Consul, Timo Järvinen, but also the L’ Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia, Jyri Järviaho, Elina Multanen, the Ambassador’s wife, and Deputy Ambassador, Miika Tomi.
In his address to the participants, Ambassador Järviaho said: “On Monday, I had the honor of presenting our credentials to His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace, and we are very happy about that. We have been busy all week but finally we have this chance to celebrate our new Honorary Consulate in Phnom Penh.
“This is the first time that we have an honorary consulate in Phnom Penh. We actually started over a year ago but due to Covid we couldn’t really organize anything. We are very happy to have Mr. Timo Järvinen as honorary consul here. It will help us and, of course, help many of you too. He will have lots of good contacts like you to help him too, I hope.
“It is a great moment for me and the Deputy Ambassador, Miika Tomi, to have Timo to support our operations here. He will help Finnish citizens in Cambodia with many consular issues, but also with business issues and contacts , etc. We have been looking forward to working with Timo for a very long time.
When Khmer time When asked if one of the reasons for establishing an honorary consulate in Phnom Penh could be that Nokia intends to restart its operations in Cambodia, Deputy Ambassador Tomi replied: “Nokia is a very important Finnish company, it is true. Of course, as the Finnish government, we will try to support their activities everywhere in this region. However, Nokia is not the reason we appoint an Honorary Consul in Phnom Penh.
“This is a government appointment and what we expect from the Honorary Consulate is to help us primarily in consular matters. This means that the consulate is there to help any Finnish citizen in distress. Another issue, of course, concerns business relations, where the honorary consul can help us establish business contacts in Cambodia.
In response to the question: “Why did the Finnish Ambassador to Portugal, Satu Suikkari-Kleven, ask you if you were willing to be Honorary Consul in Phnom Penh?” Järvinen laughed and said, “It’s a very long story. I was first asked four years ago, but at that time I was very busy with my work, so I said I was really sorry, but there was no way that I can do it. Then Satu, who was the former Finnish Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia, and I met in Phnom Penh in 2019. We talked about many things and I visited her and the staff of the embassy, at least once in Bangkok.
“Before its closure last year, the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia dealt with the affairs of Finnish citizens, so this is one of the reasons why I accepted to be an honorary consul. Another reason is that I know quite a lot of people in Cambodia and I would like to help Finnish companies that are already in Cambodia or are looking for business opportunities in Cambodia.
When asked how Finnish citizens living in Cambodia could benefit from the existence of an honorary consulate in the country, Järvinen replied: “Some people might need our help if they lose their passport or if their visa expired. Some people may need a certificate before they can get a driver’s license. Some people might get married here. If something unfortunate happens, like someone gets arrested or someone dies – in an accident or simply from natural causes – we can liaise with the Cambodian authorities on behalf of the Finnish government. The Honorary Consulate can help Finnish citizens in Cambodia in many ways.
Timo Järvinen is the CEO of FM-International Finnmap-Cambodia, an independent private company specializing in land management and administration, remote sensing, digital mapping, surveying and GIS. Besides being an accomplished business leader, Järvinen has many years of experience in the field of development cooperation, such as in the projects of the Mekong River Commission. The creation of a national land registration system through Finnish development cooperation has provided many people in Cambodia with legitimate proof that they actually own their land.