Phnom Penh, May 8, 2009
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished National and International Guests!
It is my pleasure and honor to participate in the 146th Anniversary of the World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day, under the theme of “Our World - Your Action”. This gathering is indeed essential for Cambodia as it represents our firm determination and effort in promoting our socio-economic development in the world’s context, especially in relieving the hardship of our people.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and on my behalf, I would like to congratulate and highly value the Cambodian Red Cross, its management, employees, Red Cross youths and volunteers, donors, national and international organizations for their tight cooperation in the fight against poverty and in protecting the value of humanity.
Over the past, the Cambodian Red Cross has performed its duty effectively in rescuing victims in various disasters such as flood, drought, and storm. The Cambodian Red Cross has faced countless challenges in mobilizing human and financial resources to rescue and support victims in time of emergency and need. In undertaking its mission, the Cambodian Red Cross has received both technical and financial assistances as well as mental support from national and international institutions, and domestic and foreign donors. The mobilized resources have been used and managed effectively and transparently without discrimination on the ground of race, color, and politics. I have observed that both domestic and foreign donors have provided humanitarian assistances to the Cambodian Red Cross, either in terms of finance or materials, to assist victims at all time, especially in time of emergency. This charitable act reflects the culture of mutual support, one of many long-standing characteristics in Khmer culture and has a comprehensive meaning for individuals as well as for the whole nation. This spirit is spreading the significant of “Culture of Sharing” which is the foundation and vision for the operation and continuous development of the Red Cross’s movement.
After taking note of the speech delivered by Her Excellency President of the Cambodian Red Cross, I think the Cambodian Red Cross has become a credible and well-known organization in the international arena, attained through countless achievements in the provision of education and health care services to the community, protection of humanity principles and value, and response to and prevention of disasters etc. I believe that the Cambodian Red Cross will remain a big humanitarian organization in Cambodia and continue to act as an agency of the Royal Government to oversee humanitarian work in order to assist and relieve the suffering of victims. In this sense, I would like to appeal to the Cambodian Red Cross to continue its current efforts to implement the strategy and realize the vision for poverty reduction and promoting human’s value 2003-2010.
On behalf of the Royal Government and on my behalf, I would like to highly value the Cambodian Red Cross for the hard work in developing itself to become a well recognized organization and receiving supports from national and international organizations, development partners, and international donors. Moreover, I would like to show my full support to the inclusion of volunteers, especially Cambodian Red Cross youths, into the prevention of and response to disasters, health care and aid services.
The Royal Government gives priority and is committed to promoting socio-economic development, including the support for humanitarian work of the Cambodian Red Cross, which plays a core role in addressing people’s needs in emergency situations, especially during natural disaster and wars. I would like to recall that we cannot forget the pain and sufferings during the Pol Pot Genocide Regime and after the 7th January 1979 when our lives suffered from fatigue, food shortage, infectious diseases, and psychological effects left behind by the Pol Pot regime. The hardship endured during that time required us all to join hand to undertake humanitarian activities by giving particular focus on mobilizing fund, resource and grant from all kinds of sources in order to help Khmer Rouge survivals. I can recall that at the time of economic and social complexity and hardship, the Cambodian Red Cross was established to help the government overcome those challenges, especially to save people’s lives from hunger and miseries.
Natural disaster has destroyed an uncountable number of houses, agriculture yield and wealth and created a huge impact on people’s daily lives which in turn become a heavy burden to the Royal Government. In this sense, the Royal Government took prompt actions to save our people although it requires giving up valuable resources and paying direct visits to the disaster sites. At the same time, leaders of the Royal Government and myself always pay great attention to the misery of our people. Furthermore, I am of the view that poverty and natural disaster still represent the challenges that we must jointly address with a high sense of responsibly.
As Lok Chumteav President of the Cambodian Red Cross mentioned earlier that the world is worrying about the negative impact of global warming, climate change and widespread of diseases such as “swine flu” which affected the livelihood of our people severely and presented many challenges to social and economic reform processes. These challenges are inevitable, unpredictable and emergent. In this regards, I would like to request the National Committee for Disaster Management and the Cambodian Red Cross to closely cooperate with one another further to prevent and prepare for disasters rather than focus only on providing assistance in order to successfully fulfill our mission to save the people.
Furthermore, it should be noticed that even though Cambodia hardly faces big natural catastrophes as other countries in the world do, however we still experienced fire, typhoon, flood and drought which occurred every year, and these problems required all of us to seek measures promptly in order to mitigate the accidental impact. Of course, we do need not only human resource, fund and materials such as foods, but also techniques and other modern facilities to combat these disasters.
The efficient, transparent and accountable management of donation is the perquisite to fulfill our mission to rescue the victim and reflects the responsibility of relief operators to donors and all aid providers. The dire need for food and clean water, evacuation from troubled site, accommodation, clothes and medicine required the Cambodia Red Cross and relevant agencies to make effort to mobilize assistance and support from all sources. Our duties to relieve the suffering and misery of the victims must be fulfilled in the context of response during disaster and post-disaster livelihood restoration which may take months or even years. Post-disaster relief program might be beyond the capacity of sub-national authority, hence there must be intervention from government at the national level to cooperate together with the Cambodia Red Cross in providing aid or loan to communities for building house, starting up business, providing health care service, clearing wreckages, repairing roads, bridges and schools…etc.
These above factors indicated that the loss resulted from disasters is tremendous, and our effort made, resource and time spent in relieving the misery and restoring the livelihood of our people are even far bigger which requires us to have clear national strategies and policies for resolving issues that affect our economy and society. This is one of the most important obligations that the Cambodia Red Cross contributes immensely to the Royal Government. What I am also interested in is the role of Cambodian Red Cross Youth Volunteers in promoting the obedience for traffic law whose violation triggered deadly accidents and disorders on the roads at the present.
I also noticed that the violation of the traffic law which caused traffic jams and fatal road accidents is becoming a chronic social disease which requires all of us to tackle. Obviously, on some boulevards, due to the lack of obedience for the traffic law, coupled with the reckless driving of some drivers have sparked disorders which caused fatal traffic accidents and the loss of wealth and lives of our people every day. However, I am extremely surprised and proud for the activities of the Cambodian Red Cross youth volunteers, who have actively participated with the traffic police in improving the respect of traffic law. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my appreciation for the commitment and activities of the CRC youth volunteers, who have enhanced the social values with high conscience by promoting the respect of traffic law as well as reducing the traffic accidents, which is one of the Royal Government’s worries. Moreover, I would like to appeal to all people to jointly promote our national honor by strictly respecting the traffic law; and to the CRC to continue cooperating with the Ministry of Interior and other relevant ministries-institutions, all levels of authorities, national and international organizations to participate in strengthening the respect of traffic law among our people.
The mission of CRC is truly significant and I would like to highly value every effort made by the CRC in effectively implementing the humanitarian mission, conforming to its vision and policies. At the same time, I would like to solemnly stress that the Royal Government will continue supporting every activities of the CRC in a cause to salvage the vulnerable and for the sake of humanitarian acts.
I would like to take this opportunity to share a number of concepts with the meeting, especially the CRC and related institutions in order to contribute further to the strengthening of effectiveness and efficiency of its implementation to timely and effectively response to the need of the vulnerable as follows:
1. All related ministries-institutions and all levels of local authorities must continue paying additional attention by cooperating and supporting the CRC activities in disseminating extensively to the people about disaster preventive measures and preparation, and in improving the management mechanism prepared to response to the possible disasters. Along with that, I would like to request the CRC to pursue implementing its obligation in expanding the training on preventive measures and early warning system to the communities through strengthening the capacity of the Red Cross youth volunteers and related stakeholders at the central and local levels.
2. The CRC and the Committee for the Disaster Management, which is the institution responsible for managing and coordinating disaster related activities, must continue cooperating closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, all relevant ministries-institutions as well as all development partners to prepare and prevent bird flu, in particular the swine flu, which is now spreading very fast in a number of countries in the world.
3. All ministries and relevant institutions must closely cooperate with the CRC and the Committee for Disaster Management in order to implement the National Strategic Development Plan for disaster risk reduction by preparing clear-cut indicators on the achievements to measure the progress, responsibilities for reducing disaster risk and inserting the disaster management plan into the National Development and Disaster Management Plan.
4. Related institutions, especially all provincial-municipal authorities must stay with the people in order to seriously study about the impact and losses caused by the outbreak of disaster and must cooperate with the CRC in order to be well aware of the actual needs of the local people and look for timely and effective solutions for the vulnerable, as the slogan says: “Wherever there is hardship the Red Cross is there”.
5. The Ministry of Interior and all related ministries-institutions must continue the good tradition of cooperating closely with the CRC in order to enhance and boost for the effective implementation of the traffic law in order to reduce the losses of property and accidents that may happen due to the lack of respect for the existing laws.
Before ending, I would like to express my sincere and deep sentiment toward His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia for having inherited the great mission from His Majesty the King father and for providing all kinds of support to the Royal Government for the cause of acquiring peace, stability, unity, and progress for the nation, as well as for having kindly participating in promoting the living standard, wellbeing, and prosperity for the people. At the same time, I would like to whish Preah Korona Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the King Father of National Unity and Solidarity, Her Majesty Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Queen Mother of Peace, Dignity and Happiness, and His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, with good health and longevity in order to remain as a great shelter for all Cambodian people.
In this great occasion, I would like to express my deep appreciation to Your Venerable Monks, Compatriots, Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, Lok Chumteav, Lok Ouknha, national and international donors, and all development partners for contributing financial, material, and technical supports for the Cambodian red Cross’ humanitarian operation at all time.
Once again, I would like to express my appreciation and highly value the leadership, officials and staffs in all levels of the CRC and all relevant institutions, who have put greatest efforts in organizing such important meeting today and I would like to deeply thank Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, National and International Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, who have spent their valuable time to participate in today’s meeting.
At the end, I would like to wish Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, Lok Okhna, National and International Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen and Civil Servants, especially the leadership and staffs of the CRC the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.