Monday, March 9, 2009

Keynote Address at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Second Phase of the Phnom Penh Flood Prevention and Sewage System Improvement Project

13th December 2007

- Your Venerable Non Nget, the Chief of the Monks in the Kingdom of Cambodia and all Your Venerable Monks,

- Members of Senate, Parliament and the Royal Government,

- Your Excellency SHINOHARA Katsuhiro, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- Your Excellencies Ambassadors, Representatives from National and International Organizations,

- Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today, I have a great honour and pleasure to participate with H.E. Mr. SHINOHARA Katsuhiro, Ambassador of Japan and all Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Second Phase of the Phnom Penh Flood Prevention and Sewage System Improvement Project, which is financed under the grant assistance from the Government and People of Japan to the People and Government of Cambodia. Indeed, this achievement is another new symbol of the close and long lasting friendship between the Japan and Cambodia.

In the past the Government of Japan has provided various supports to Cambodia in terms of intellectual and technical assistances; and in terms of material and financial helps for the causes of rehabilitation and development of Cambodia. In particular, for the capital city of Phnom Penh, the Government of Japan has provided a development grant to reconstruct and expand the capacity of the clean water treatment factory and clean water distribution network to cover some areas in the city and I am convinced that this 2nd project will certainly contribute to the poverty reduction of people in the city and at the outskirt of Phnom Penh. This is consistent with the policies and the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government that are emphasising on promoting economic growth, employment creation for Cambodian workers, enhancing equity and social equality, including strengthening efficiency of public services by focusing on deep and comprehensive implementations of different reform programs.

At the same time, I would like to highlight that putting for the implementation the Second Phase of the Phnom Penh Flood Prevention and Sewage System Improvement Project are initiated by the high accountability of the managers, civil servants of all levels at the Phnom Penh municipality as well as officials, engineers and technicians of the Phnom Penh’s Office of Public Work and Transports, including other relevant agencies that have made their utmost efforts to made this project to be successfully implemented. Moreover, the people that is leaving around this area is willing to accept the adverse affect on their houses and land; all these factors are the join efforts in order to promote the development of the capital city of Phnom Penh to have further peace, safety, good appearance and progress.

Water Strategy of the Royal Government of the third legislation of the Nation Assembly is to increase irrigation coverage on the paddy field through the establishment of water user groups in order to strengthen capacity and ownership at the grassroots. In this regard, the Royal Government has paid attentions on the establishment of a sustainable and reliable hydraulic information management system on all river basins in order to provide basic information to formulate water strategy and development plan, which include irrigation network, hydroelectricity, clean water supply, flood prevention, environment and etc.

For the past several years, drought and flood were the major causes of natural disasters in Cambodia. It has caused damages and destroyed lives of human, animal, crops as well as social and economic infrastructures. Because of flood prevention has not been efficient enough, including the means to monitor people activates were lacking, thus the impacts of floods have been intensified. In this decade, due to water flow along creeks and rivers were blocked, the Mekong has been under severe floods. In the past, the flood in Cambodia resulted in the losses of many lives, wealth, crops and public infrastructures that put additional burden to the Royal Government.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to compliment and highly appreciate the managements and staffs of the Committee for Disaster Management (CDM), Provincial-Municipal CDM, District-Khan CDM, Communal-Sangkat CDM, local authorities, Ministries and Institutions of the Government, Cambodia Red Cross, Cambodia Royal Armed Force, Military Police and National Police for taking campaign to save and help victims from droughts and floods with the ownership and to be ready to provide foods, fuels, mobile shelters, boats at the places where disasters are likely to hit. In fact, such strong commitment could reduce losses of our crops and lives of human and animals as well as immediately respond to save victims of drought and flood.

At the same time, I would like to express sincere thanks to development partners, UN agencies, international organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, national and international benevolent persons, monks, government officials, armed forces, Your Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen and fellow citizens that have contributed together with the Royal Government to address the hardship of our people who have been affected by natural disasters of droughts and floods.

Indeed, drought and flood that have been repeatedly hitting Cambodia have negatively affected the efforts of the Royal Government to uplift the national economy and our social wealth. During the periods of droughts and floods, we have been forced to reallocate our limited budget from other development programs in order to straight away address the issues such as repairing damaged infrastructures and helping and easing the hardship of drought and flood’s victims. However, we are proud to reduce the causalities of our people during the disasters and Cambodians have a good habit of sharing their resources to help their fellow citizen during disaster times.

Moreover, it should be noted that some countries have been recently hit by serious flood due to the climate changes. Thus, we should be careful and extremely vigilant in protecting properties and lives of our people by preventing disasters, especially the Phnom Penh capital city that has the wok-shape terrain and close to the Chaktomuk River. The municipality has to focus their attention and put more efforts to constantly maintain dams, sewage system, water storages and pumping stations to drain away rain and sewage water from the city.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and encourage with the strong hope that the Kubota Construction Co., Ltd, the implementer of this project will successfully complete the construction on time or before the due date with the high quality that is able to prevent floods and improve sewage system. Consequently, rain-floods could be released from the central and northern region of the Phnom Penh, such as the Wat Phnom, Central Market, Kandal Market, Royal Palace, National Museum and former National Assembly areas, where are frequently been flooded during the rainy season.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to appeal to all-levels of municipal officials as well as civil servants, engineers and technicians of the Phnom Penh’s Office of the Public Work and Transports, relevant institutions, local authorities and people who live along the drainages to continue their cooperation to restore and develop the good appearance of Phnom Penh. Moreover, I would like to emphasize that construction will take 2 years and a half and the location will be fenced for two years. It is true that fencing is not a good appearance, but it is required for the security reason during the construction. Thus, I would to seek understandings from the Phnom Penh dwellers and ask the Phnom Penh’s Municipality to minimize inconveniences for our people during the construction period.

Once again, through the Ambassador of Japan H.E. Mr. SHINOHARA Katsuhiro, I would like to thank the People and Government of Japan that have been always a main supporter of the Cambodia in the past, at the present and in the future. I highly appreciate the friendship, cooperation and supports from the People and Government of Japan provided to the People of Cambodian to develop its nation.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you with the five gems of Buddhist Blessing. Now, I would like to announce the construction of the Second Phase of the Phnom Penh Flood Prevention and Sewage System Improvement Project.


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