Saturday, June 27, 2009

Address at the “International Anti-Drugs’ Day”

Phnom Penh, 26 June 2009

Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today, it is my pleasure to participate in this important ceremony to commemorate the International Anti-Drugs’ Day. Taking this opportunity, I would like to praise the National Anti-Drug Authority and Phnom Penh’s Anti-Drug Committee for jointly organizing this important event.

As the global trend of drug production, trafficking, and abuse have evolved and continue to cause countless tragedies and social crises, the UN General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to raise awareness among human beings, especially youths, about the danger posed by drugs and provide some practical recommendations to lead a clean life, steering clear of drugs.

In this spirit, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has come up with anti-drug campaigns and slogans every year. This is the last and third year for “Do drugs control your life?” campaign, which is accompanied by “your life, your community, no place for drugs”.

The drug problem is indeed a serious global issue. Drugs have caused a series of negative consequences in all countries, whether small or large scale. Global trend of drug production, trafficking and abuse have been evolving notably, especially over recent years.

In particular, Cambodia is not a drug production base but the last country to suffer from drug abuse compared to other regional countries. Prior to 1990s, drug production, trafficking and abuse do not exist in Cambodian soil. However, after the 1993 general election, due to open market, drug problem constantly and worryingly changes, especially in recent years.

Cambodia used to suffer from the accusation of planting and exporting cannabis, when international mafia, capitalizing on our lack of law and instability, and low awareness among the people, induced our farmers to plant cannabis and export overseas, which has severely damaged the country’s reputation. Moreover, while the Royal Government is fighting hard to eliminate cannabis and locked in the rehabilitation of economic infrastructures aimed at integrating into the region, the criminals take the opportunity to traffic in drugs, especially they even attempted to use Cambodia as their discreet production ground. However, these attempts have been spoiled timely by our law enforcement units.

Also, drug abuse in Cambodia has become a major concern over recent years. According to the United Nations and some NGOs, it was estimated that around 46,300 people had become drug victims. In the case this figure is reliable, and the number of drug users continue to increase, this represents a great loss and danger for Cambodia for today and tomorrow. Daily spending on illegal drugs, leave alone drug-related crime, thievery, security issues, social unrest, violence and other social services, represent a vast loss if each one pays US$ 3 per day for illegal drugs, that means US$140,000 per day or US$ 50 million per year.

At the same time, we also know that injecting drug is also being practiced in our country, and what is the most concerning issue is that, among injecting drug users (IDUs) are found to be infected with HIV/Aids. This practice is very effective for transmitting HIV through needles sharing or unprotected sexual behaviors under the influence of drugs. To address these issues, if we do not have in place the timely preventive intervention measures, the second wave of HIV/AIDS pandemic might occur in Cambodia. Although we have made tireless efforts and used a lot of resources to successfully reduce HIV/Aids infection rate from 3% in 1997 to 0.9% at the present, however experience from other countries and the world has proven that the possibility of transmitting HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users is as high as 50% or even higher just in one year. Therefore, all institutions concerned and civil societies must jointly take appropriate and timely actions aiming at combating the widespread of HIV/AIDS as well as other harm related to drug abuse, in particular drawing on good international experience for intervention.

Linking to this concern, I would like to take this opportunity to try to elaborate the topic titled “Do drugs control your life?”; the meaning of this question applied not only to the drug-addicts, however the true meaning is also applied to all general public, including the physical and legal entity, all employers and employees despite being not using or exposed directly to drug because we cannot withdraw ourselves or avoid the responsibility and being affected by the existence of drugs in our community or our employees or family being engaged with drugs. Thus for all of us to avoid being controlled by drugs we must cooperate to make our lives and community drug-free.

Drugs would threaten and severely devastate societies all the time, if we fail to take appropriate measures. Furthermore, fighting drug use is a complicated task, which is connected with all sectors. To address the matter, it requires the participation and active cooperation from concerned competent institutions, civil societies, private sectors, families and every physical person. The success in fighting drug use is to make our lives and communities free of drugs. To achieve the hard duty, I would like to take this opportunity to give suggestion to all competent agencies, arm forces, civil societies, private sectors and compatriots as follows:

1. All relevant agencies must crack down and severely punish drug producers, smugglers and distributors aiming to completely eliminate drug production, smuggling, distribution and usage at your own locality and community, particularly at hotels, guest houses, pubs and amusement places.
2. Strictly monitor the import-export of all chemical substances, especially substances which could be used for producing illegal drugs. In the name of legal enforcement officials you should respect the law and code of ethics; not to be involved with any mistake and need not be tolerant with any competent forces who use their duties to commit offense or irrational activities. Indeed, those people should strongly be punished according to the law.
3. Pay high attention in taking care of drugs users, who are agreed to undergo treatment rather be considered as criminals; help them and their families to live far from drugs, encourage them to stay in rehabilitation centers or pagodas for education. Set up treatment and rehabilitation services for all drug users. At the same time, we must draw on good international experiences related to the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users; and reducing all drugs related dangers which can be applied in Cambodia.
4. Regarding to the dissemination of education, I think that monks have the great ability to educate, instruct and give mental treatment to all people comprehensively. Therefore, monks could jointly and effectively provide education on the prevention and treatment of drug addicts without discrimination. At the same time, teachers also have the important role to play in educating and instilling the sense of self confidence for students so that they can clearly understand the impact of drug use and assisting them in making better decision as well as helping them to establish peer-to-peer support teams in schools or to use the scout group to educate them about the drugs. Besides, parents and families also have the compulsory and significant roles and obligations in taking care and educating children to get away from the use of drugs.

Regarding this issue, I would like to take the opportunity to inform every parent and guardian that although we have been fully occupied in making business to support the family, still we should not fail to think about our children, leaving them behind, because they are the most valuable asset in the world. We have to educate them to learn how to refuse the use of drugs and keep themselves away from the drug-related issues. We have to educate our children to be aware of the value of human being and lives. We have to provide love, affection and caring in order to instill them to become well-behaved citizen with strong health. At the same time, I would also like to appeal to male and female students that we are now living in an age of modernization; therefore, you have to learn how to take advantage from the development of technology and modernization in order to transform yourselves to be responsive, dynamic, considerate citizens with potentials for families and society.

Please do not waste time on useless things and don’t spend the most valuable time to experiment drugs even once and please don’t believe in the persuasion of friends or individuals who said that it is the energetic drinks to eliminate stress by not recognizing or buying by yourself from the pharmacy store. I would like to inform you that if you love yourself, your parents you have to distance yourself from drugs, to be responsible for yourselves, your friends, and to recommend each other about the danger of drug use as well as refusing the use of all kinds of drugs.

I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate and thank all institutions, civil society and the private sector for having actively participated according to the 6 points of my recommendations and appeal, which were raised during the period of the position transfer of the president of the National Anti-Drug Authority on 19 June 2009. I would like to push and encourage the continuation of this kind of participating spirit like drizzling rain in order that we can move to build our community and country, free of drugs in the future.

In this regard, since the National Anti-Drug Authority has been preparing to build a National Center for Treatment, Rehabilitation of the Drug Users in Kampong Speu, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Neak Okgna, Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives from the private companies, civil societies, national and international organizations and all donors to help contribute in either cash or in kind to the process of this construction in order to enable us to accept the drug users for treatment and rehabilitation according to the standard of medical technology, maintaining the respect of human rights and laws of the country.

At the end, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are present here today, the four gems of Buddhist Blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Address at the 2nd Anniversary of Cambodian Veterans’ Day, 21 June 2009

Phnom Penh, 20th June 2009

Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Members of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Royal Government

Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Ambassadors, Distinguished National and International Guests

Dear Participants!

Today, it is my great honor and pleasure to participate in this solemn 2nd Anniversary of Cambodian Veterans’ Day, 21 June 2009.

In order to recall the greatest and priceless gratitude of the veterans for the nation, the Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to set the date of 21 June every year as Veterans’ Day, which is conforming to the date of establishing Cambodian Veteran Association. Cambodian Veterans have actually had the history of nationalism long time ago and the set of this date stems from the comprehensive policy of solidarity of the Royal Government in the sector of veterans where soldiers from different factions have been integrated into a national veteran fold, which is acceptable by all with delight.

During this historical event, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and in my capacity as President of the Veteran Association, I would like to bow to respect the soul of the veterans, who have bloodily sacrificed themselves for the cause of protecting our beloved nation in all stages, in particular the brave veterans, who have sacrificed their lives protecting the territorial integrity at the Preah Vihea temple site so far.

I would like to take this opportunity to convey the visit and appreciation to every veterans and families, who have been actively pursuing to restore and develop the nation, and express warmest congratulation to the veterans, who have had elite masterworks in implementing the Competitive Movement of 3 Good Deeds, which has been prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation and Cambodian Veteran Association.

This anniversary is organized to enhance the awareness of bravery of the veterans, promoting the whole national movement, supporting and enhancing the spirit for veterans. Taking this opportunity, I would like to appreciate the civil servants of all levels of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation, the leadership and members of the Cambodian veterans, municipal and provincial authorities, commanders of armed forces of all related ministries/institutions, who have paid much attention to the veterans, especially organizing the Veterans’ Day in all cities and provinces as well as the solemnly national celebration today.

I would like to welcome the presence of Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Leadership of the Royal Government, National Assembly and Senate, Members of the Central Committee of Cambodian Veterans and all Delegates from the Municipal/Provincial Cambodian Veteran Association, who have participated in this auspicious celebration. As the countrymen and the veterans have known that our nation has been through wars and genocidal regime more than two decades, causing a great deal of serous disasters in both physical infrastructure and human lives, leaving behind a lot of handicapped, widow and orphans. In order to liberate the country, protect the territorial integrity and prevent the return of the genocidal regime and for the sake of peace, reconciliation and security for the people, Cambodian people have sacrificed their children, husbands to join the army and fight against the enemy and some of them have lost their lives and become disabled.

Conforming to the policy of reconciliation and success of this “Win-Win” policy I have set out and implemented successfully in 1998, the ex-soldiers have been integrated from all Cambodian ex-factions into national veterans. Our nation is greatly indebted to the veterans, who are the symbol and spirit of sacrifice for the sake of our beloved nation as well as the true compatriots through their own practical actions and the Cambodian veterans are also the witness of the Cambodian heroism.

Based on the report made by H.E. Ith Sam Heng, we have the veterans including the handicapped, repatriated returnees, people with disabilities, and families of the dead of approximately 90,000 people and the dependent of approximately 300,000 people, whom will be responsible by the Royal Government in solving the policy allowance in order to support their living. Currently, the Royal Government of Cambodia has constantly paid attention to the on-going improvement of policy allowance for veterans according to the ability of the national budget. As for the 4th legislature of the National Assembly, the Royal Government has been promoting the establishment of national social safety net fund for veterans.

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation for well implementing the recommendations of the Royal Government by appropriately delivering policy allowance to veterans and their families and eradicating all kinds of misconduct that happened in the past. From 2005 to 2009, 8,128 veterans who are no longer eligible for policy allowance and their 129,305 dependants have been deleted from the list, saving a big amount of national budget. More than 90% of veterans receive this policy allowance as main source of family income; also selling and pawning of policy allowance are almost completely prevented. Public service deliveries were given priorities to veterans and their families such as people with disabilities receive workability rehabilitation and training free of charge. Suffering veterans always receive support from the Government and the donors. A number of Commune/Sangkat Veteran Development Committees have been established in a number of provinces in order to promote programs that are beneficial to local veterans.

With respect to establishment and operation of the Cambodian Veteran Association, in my capacity as President of Cambodian Veteran Association, I would like to convey my compliment to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation for directly linking activities of established associations to tasks of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation, which enables the association to be smoothly operated, achieving sustainability. I am also proud of achievements, which the association has made in promoting spirit of mutual support, in particular at time of member’s death and participation to community development.

So far, I have paid great attention to activities of the management of the association who always have shared condolence to and provided death allowance directly to family members of the death veterans, which is a very good attitude that is not only to help relieve suffering of the veterans’ families, but also to intertwine emotions of the management of the association and its members. Over the last 2 years, Cambodian Veteran Association has provided financial assistance to 452 families of the death members, amounting to 1.848 millions Riels.

The inspiration of the three contests, which Cambodian Veteran Association and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation are currently practicing, is the good source of motivation to our ex-soldiers to let them be independent with their living and local development. I am very pleased to present Gold Medal Award together with a Residential Houses costing from US$ 3000 to the 25 best contestants among the three competitions from whole country and Silver Medal Award to 24 members with US$ 500 package. Beside this, in the municipalities/provinces there are 1000 members who have received the Appraisal Certificates and Letter of Appreciation from the Ministry of Social Affairs Veteran & Youth Rehabilitation and Cambodia Veteran Association together with some amount of money reward. This is the beginning of the positive result from the Movement of 3 Good Deeds.

In fact, Veteran Fund is a good initiative to give away necessary loan to ex-solders with low interest rate for the sake of family development. It also assists them to resolve any difficulties to improve their living condition. This practice will replace the activities of buying, selling and pawning policy, which could affect the benefit of ex-soldiers.

Along with that, my wife and I are very pleased to be directly involved in building Ex-Soldiers Residential Development Area of 275 houses in Taken Koh Slar and contributing US$1 Million through H.E Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defense, Vice Chairman of the Cambodia Veteran Association to build ex-soldiers residence in Siem Reap.

This Veterans’ Day is also intended to inspire patriotism and solidarity from Cambodian people to support ex-soldiers and soldiers who are currently on mission in the battle field to protect the sovereignty of our beloved Angkor motherland. Taking this opportunity, I would like to also express my appreciation to our brave heroes who are currently in armed unit protecting our country sovereignty, people safety in all areas, and Cambodian mine-clearing soldiers, who join UN mission oversea.

I do agree on the ex-soldiers strategy report, given by H.E. Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation and the Secretary General of the Cambodia Veteran Association. Taking this opportunity, I would like to also add a few more tasks as follows:

1. Continue to promote model heroics and sacrifices made by veterans in the cause of the nation and people

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation; the Ministry of National Defense; the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Information must document and publicize all model heroics of our veterans in the cause of the national protection, peace and security in the society, international duties and national development in order to promote patriotism among the people, especially the youths. Along with this, we must revise people movements to permanently visit and provide support to our soldiers in border areas and closely link the battlefront with the people.

2. Continue to properly implement veteran policies

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation must ensure timely payment of policy allowance to veterans. We must strengthen the capacity of inter-ministerial working group which is tasked to identify veterans and their families, and comprises of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Interior, and municipal/provincial level working groups. This group must work harder to increase efficiency and eliminate drawbacks, especially regarding the commercialization of retirement pension by related officials.

3. Establish social safety net for veterans

With regard to this task, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation must draft a Royal Decree on social safety net and Sub-Decree on the establishment of national social safety net fund for veterans in order to increase the efficiency of pension payment and accelerate the establishment of social safety net in accordance with economic condition. Along with this, we must strengthen the enforcement of the Law on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by managing public services outlined in this law to ensure benefits for disabled people, especially veterans.

4. Development plan for veterans

A. Housing development: based on the experience in Taken Koh Sla and in Siemreap, I have recommended the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation to establish housing development areas in other provinces. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation has included housing development projects in the public investment program which was approved on May 29, 2009 in order to expand this project to other provinces in accordance with our budget. The housing grants for veterans who have been outstanding and possessed own land represents good experience. We have built 25 houses this year, and I now declare that we will build additional 26 houses as my donation in 2010. This task will be implemented by municipal and provincial Veteran Associations; each province/municipality will receive one house, except Kampong Cham that will receive three houses.

B. The Ministry of National Defense must continue to implement all policies stipulated in the “White Book” of the Royal Armed Forces with regard to the distribution of social concession lands to laid-off soldiers who need lands for building houses and farming in compliance with the Sub-Decree on social concession land.

C. Related institutions and all levels of local authorities, especially municipal/provincial, district and commune councils must ensure veterans’ access to public services within their institutional competence such as the distribution of social concession lands, vocational training, health services, rehabilitation and so forth. Local authorities should consider selecting one acknowledged veteran to lead various communities such as fishing community, water-use community, and to act as village head on the basis of his/her capacity.

D. The Ministry of National Defense, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the National Police High Commissioner, Commander-in-Chief of the National Military Police, provincial/municipal and district armed units, and local armed units must cooperate closely with social affairs sector to permanently provide assistance to nearby veterans regardless of their ex-units and must take care of veterans as if we take care of ourselves.

5. Strengthen all levels of Cambodian Veteran Association

I now declare that I will be the head of Cambodian Veteran Association forever, as I am also a veteran and I will do whatever required, making this association sustainable. I would like to congratulate all 19 new members of the Central Committee of the Cambodia Veteran Association who have been recently appointed. So far, the total number of the members of the Central Committee has reached 95 comprising of leaders from various ministries, institutions, municipalities and provinces. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to Excellencies to contribute more to the Cambodian Veteran Association, especially to motivate veterans to participate in three good movements orchestrated by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation including:

1. Using policy allowance appropriately because although the funding remains small it is the government’s effort and pure benefit for veterans. Therefore, it should be used for the sake of themselves and their families.

2. Promoting livelihood of themselves and their families. Despite hardship, families should live together in harmony, avoiding family violation, sending children to school to receive other social services, be hard working and creative in earning a living or looking for jobs and should not leave their homeland for uncertain jobs.

3. Joining to better develop their locality. Participating in various activities at their living locality although lacking of resources you may contribute physically and spiritually according to the ability and must not commit any fault to the society. If possible, you will be treated as good model for local authorities and people.

In this spirit, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation should continue to cooperate with Cambodian Veteran Association to annually praise and reward to veterans, who participate in the Competitive Movements of 3 Good Deeds, according to the masterworks such as Medal, Congratulation Certificates, Awards such as Tools, or Budget, Domestic or Oversees Tour Package, or Housing...etc as provided today.

At the same time, veterans should comprehensively take part in this self-help movement of the ex-soldiers, because the Royal Government, National and International Organizations or Donors could help you only when you have to help yourselves first.

On behalf of Cambodian Veteran Association, I congratulate the relationship between Cambodian Veteran Association, Vietnam Veteran Association and Lao National Veteran Confederation. I hope that cooperation as brotherhood between veterans of Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao will be further strengthened, contributing to good neighborhood relation and collaboration. Along with this, Cambodian Veteran Association should continue to extent cooperation with various Veteran Associations of other countries for the common sake, particularly with ASEAN Veteran Associations.

Finally, May I wish Excellency, Lok Chum Teav, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests and all Veterans the four Gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Address at the Conferment of Degrees to the Senior and Middle-level Training Officials of the Royal School of Administration 2008 and the Official Ope

Royal School of Administration, 17 June 2009

Your Venerable Monks,

H.E Jean-Francois Desmazier├ęs,

Ambassador of the Republic of France to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,

Dear all the Faculty Members and Graduates!

Today I am most honored and pleased to participate in the ceremony of presenting diplomas to 214 senior and middle officials trainees in 2008 and the official opening of the continuing education for 2009 at the Royal School of Administration. The solemn ceremony this morning recalls a great deal of memories we have jointly built, especially the capacity building for our civil servants, which is always in my mindset.

Along with that, I would like to highly evaluate and honestly appreciate the masterworks and various achievements, which have been made by the Royal School of Administration in a cause to participate in the social development as well as responding to the human resource development in Cambodia as stated in the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II of the Royal Government for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency. The fruits obtained from here have become seeds, spreading all over the society.

On behalf of the Royal Government, my wife and I would like to express congratulations and appreciations for the efforts made by all students and trainees of the Royal School of Administration as well as highly evaluating the training provided by faculty members and professors of the Royal School of Administration, who have fruitfully and noticeably achieved the results. The joint efforts with patient spirit and high attention have actively participated and properly and timely responded to the policies of the Royal Government in integrating Cambodia into the regional and global grouping, which require the people to be more competent, highly knowledgeable for receiving the supreme competition in the labor market and improving the economic efficiency for national sustainable development. The fruitful results we have achieved today is also another witness reflecting the efforts made by the Royal Government in building human resources, which is one of the prioritized areas in implementing the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II of the Royal Government.

At the same time, today achievement will also contribute to the socio-economic development, poverty reduction and improvement of people’s livelihoods, which is the main aim of the Royal Government through strengthening the efficiency of public administration to be creative, responsible as well as behaving gentle personality.

On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to particularly thank the Government and people of France through H.E Jean-Francois Desmazier├ęs, the Ambassador of France to the Kingdom of Cambodia, who have pricelessly contributed to fund a project on solidarity, priority to sustain the modernization of the public function, especially the modernization of the Royal School of Administration since the first start and I hope that this good cooperation will still be pursued. Moreover, I would like to thank and welcome the cooperation of the GTZ and UNDP and other training institutions in the region and world, which have cooperated with the Royal School of Administration in swapping experiences and training programs with an objective to further strengthen the quality of civil servants training and research on public administration.

All graduates who about to receive the diplomas shortly, will get engaged in the public services soon; and you must maintain your personal efforts by trying the utmost to show off your talents and patience especially define and abide by personal disciplines in order to achieve success in all duties provided.

Moreover, I hope all of you will use your knowledge in a sensible manner to bring about benefits to our country. Also, you must keep in mind that the reception of certificates does not imply that you have finished your study, but you must continue to conduct research and improve your knowledge on regular basis to enhance both your competency and knowledge.

As you have been aware, the world is entering the era of knowledge and IT where human resource with competency, talent, innovation and vibrancy is deemed essential for achieving growth and poverty reduction. Prioritizing human resource development is an effective way to improve human characters, promote sustainable development, and ensure equitable distribution of growth.

In this spirit, the Royal Government is fully aware of the role of IT and communication in enhancing efficiency of the public services and national development as stipulated in the Royal Government’s policy for IT and communication development. IT and communication development indeed will enable Cambodia to realize its vision of “E-Administration” and “E-Government”, especially the vision of “Opened-Administration” which supply information on the basis of people’s demand. I think, based on IT, we can enhance the efficiency of public services with good governance and accountability and improve people’s awareness on the structure and management in public institutions. This will indeed enhance the approach how people can participate in decision-making. This vision will move public services closer to the people and serve them better.

Along with this, efficient administration is essential for bettering the quality of public services and poverty reduction, and can act as a mechanism for institutional capacity building which will change the public servants’ behaviour and attitude. People’s welfares and national development depend on many factors, and efficient public administration is one of them. I think public servants who are motivated to fulfil their duties with determination and honesty, and transform themselves from managers to respected servants to address people’s needs with efficiency, moral standard, accountability, transparency, and effectiveness is the pre-requisite to strengthening public administration to achieve the vision of “Serving the People Better”.

In this spirit, the Royal Government has continued to strengthen good governance at all levels of governmental institutions to ensure that the provision of public services are conducted in a transparent, efficient and responsible manner in order to promote state of law and social justice and ethics through broadened and deepened reforms, including judicial reform, anti-corruption, public administration reform, decentralization and de-concentration, armed force reform, economic and financial reform, land reform, natural resource management reform, and so forth.

Along with this, the Royal Government has been implementing its administration reform which concentrates on enhancing public services, raising public servants’ salary, capacity building and the use of IT. Moreover, the Royal Government has disseminated the strategic directives of public administration reform and work plan 2009-2013 which aim at bettering public services in response to people’s needs.

Over the last 5 years, we have implemented numerous public administration reform programs, including public servant census to create an electronic database for managing human resource, introduction of electronic new payroll system for public servants, rationalization of public service, legislation and legal document for managing public servants, introduction of 1st and 2nd work plan for good governance which cover 9 priority sectors, the introduction of public services and implementation of Priority Mission Group, the implementation of merit-base payment system, and so forth. From the implementation of its Strategic Framework for Deconcentration and Decentralization which was adopted in 2005, the Royal Government has established a national committee for democratic development at sub-national levels and held successfully the local election for provincial, municipal and district councils on May 17, 2009. The victorious result of the last election, a new achievement, reflects Government’s will in strengthening democracy at sub-national level aiming at ensuring sustainable economic growth with comprehensive foundation, more competitive capacity, improving management capacity and quality service delivery aiming to meet various local needs and upgrade people health.

Indeed, the implementation of decentralization and de-concentration policy and organic laws has contributed to strengthening gender equality and promoting youth role of both sexes, particularly women in decision making at the sub-national level.

In this spirit, I would like to support the initiative of the Royal School of Administration in cooperation with the Ministry of interior under the support of Franco cooperation project and technical assistant cooperation from Germany to conduct presentation on “Theoretical and practical implementation of Cambodia’s decentralization and de-concentration” to all government officials at all level to deeply understand and effectively applied. Taking the opportunity, I would like to request to all development partners to cooperate with the Royal School of Administration in improving the training with more comprehensive climate aiming at meeting the Government’s need in the area.

Once again, on behalf of the royal government, I would like to praise and congratulate to 214 graduates, who successfully finished the course and will obtain up-coming certificate, board of directors, officials, teachers and employees in the Royal School of Administration, who exert theirs most efforts in achieving intellectual resource development mission for our nation. We must bear in mind that quality and effective task with good effort of board of directors, employees and teachers of the Royal School of Administration will bring the quality and efficiency of public service delivery application in Cambodia.

Finally, along with the Conferment of Degrees to the Senior and Middle-level Training Officials of the Royal School of Administration 2008 and the Official Opening of Continuous Training for 2009, me and my wife wish Your Venerable Monks, ladies and gentlemen, board of directors, employees and teachers of the Royal School of Administration, all graduates and new trainers with 4 Gems of Buddhist Blessings.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Remarks at the Conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science from the Korea University

Remarks at the Conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science from the Korea University

Republic of Korea, 3 June 2009

- Dear Rector, Board of Directors, Delegates and Professors of the Korea University

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today, it is my great pleasure and honor that the Korea University decided to confer upon me the honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science. At the outset, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the Rector and Board of Directors, who have highly evaluated me amongst the prominent political figures and granted the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science. The award also provides honor to the Royal Government and people of Cambodia. Moreover, this prideful honor truly reflects the progress on the right and realistic path of realizing Cambodia’s political vision that helped eliminate the country’s isolation and solve the previous crisis effectively, and prepare itself to be able to adjust to the current situation, and develop a National Strategic Development Plan with long term vision for the future of Cambodia.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to highlight some important aspects involving the position, good will and political perspective in solving and coping with the crisis in Cambodia, which responds to the high recognition and appreciation of my activities and efforts in the cause of serving my most beloved people and country. In general, every effort that I have been resolutely leading with strong commitment is based on the appropriate and realistic political vision, which reflects the reality of Cambodia and responds to the good aspiration of Cambodian people. Based on this leadership, a great deal of priceless achievements has been made, including the following:

First, After Cambodia was liberated from the genocidal regime on 7 January 1979, Cambodian people faced all kinds of difficulties, including the shortage of foods, medicines, clothes, education and training and shelters. In particular, we had to start the development from scratch. Departing from this point, we have gradually restored the country by trying to rebuild and develop, in one hand, and protect and prevent the return of the genocidal regime, on the other hand, because at that time the internal conflict was not entirely ended. Those matters include the cause of national reconciliation, strengthening and developing the national economy and capacity building of officials and institutions through the preparation of administrative, legal, educational, health, agricultural and physical infrastructure systems throughout the country. These efforts have become a strong foundation for the prosperity and socio-economic stability of Cambodia now and in the future.

Second, based on the effort of restoration and development, Cambodia has come across in-depth reform from the planning economy to the planning-market oriented economy and then to a free market economy in late 1980s. This reform has been carefully conducted step by step, conforming to the process of socio-economic development, which aim to promote the active participation of the private sector in order to enlarge the base for production, agriculture, trade and service, which have upgraded the living of people and social development. Resulting from this careful reform, Cambodia has built strong and comprehensive economic foundation, which is consistent and intertwined as well as creating excellent business environment for Cambodia.

Third, through the efforts in implementing the policy of national reconciliation with consistency and commitment, Cambodia closed the dark historical page, resulted from its internal conflict, in the late 1990s by internally integrating all Cambodian factions from different political tendencies into a national fold as well as created a new era of “liberal and multi-party democracy regime”, which has brought about a full peace, the respect for human rights and dignity and the real development. The achievement of full peace throughout the country stemmed from the implementation of the “win-win” policy, which is the philosophy of respecting human rights, ensuring all sorts of security and safety for the ex-opponents in the conflict. This perspective has been resulted from the real aspiration of the people, who have been fed up with the crisis and decades of chronic wars, for peace in the society together with the arts of concession and sharing for the common interest of the nation.

Fourth, Cambodia has been actively integrated into the regional and global groupings in an attempt to expand opportunities and the scope of the scale economy through the policy of liberalization in trade and investment as well as the facilitation of capital flow and technology transfer in order to attain a quick prosperity for the country. Cambodia is currently becoming a significant actor and actively participating with equal rights and footings in all regional and global affairs.

Fifth, the right policy and leadership with strong will in the condition of full peace and sustainable stability has helped Cambodia to believe in herself that we are now on a critical path in moving toward a bright future with optimism and hope. Indeed, during the last decade, economic growth has increased on average of 9.4% and the poverty rate has declined on average of more than 1% per year. This achievement has been achieved in the difficult context and condition, which Cambodia has to manage and overcome the external unfavorable climate and continuous storms of the crisis including the current global financial crisis.

In general, the achievements stemming from strong and long term political perspectives did not happen by chance. In fact, we have thought and planned beforehand with high attention and scrutiny together with firm and realistic position, according to the changing environment and requirements of the socio-economic development. During the day-to-day leadership at the present time, I have always considered peace and political stability as a strong basis for development, and the reform is a life and death issue for Cambodia. If we have not consistently implemented the policy of national reconciliation and deep reforms, Cambodia cannot truly escape from the darkness of war tragedy and conflict as well as the trap of crisis and chronic poverty.

Before ending, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Government and people of Korea, who have always continuously supported in the form of grants and soft loans and have promoted the flow of more Korean private investment and tourists to invest and visit Cambodia, which is an important contribution to the restoration and development of the Kingdom of Cambodia. With this great honor today and for the sake of strengthening and expanding relationship between our two nations we will continue our joint efforts and closer relationships, leading to a more comprehensive cooperation and long term stability for our two countries and peoples.

Moreover, I would like to express great pleasure to the ASEAN-ROK 20th Commemorative Summit, which has been deeply expanded. With the ceremony today, I would appeal once again to all Korean investors to seek opportunities of cooperation and investment in Cambodia.

I would like to thank all colleagues and officials from Cambodia, who have tried their utmost to serve the beloved country and people by fulfilling duties in a spirit of high responsibility and national interest, leading to the realization of the political perspective with the objective to ensure peace, poverty reduction and socio-economic development for the country and people of Cambodia. The honor provided to me by the Korea University today is also their honor. In this regard, I would like to share this pride with my dear wife, Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen, and all beloved children and grandchildren, who have always stayed close to me, encouraged and supported me in every mission to serve the nation.

Finally, may I wish the Rector, Board of Directors and all Professors of the Korea University, Delegates, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, prosperity and every success.