Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keynote Address at the Dissemination of Statement on Social Land Concession Policy for Veterans and Families

Phnom Penh, December 23, 2009

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, it is my pleasure to be here in the dissemination ceremony of statement on social land concession policy for veterans and families with Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen who are the management of ministries/institutions, municipality, provinces and civil servants and armed forces. This event does not only allow us to exchange dialogue and instructions to realize some important jobs, but it also helps us to sustain the policy implementation. The policy to be launched and disseminated at the moment must be jointly and consistently implemented by all related ministries, institutions, and other stakeholders in order to bring about good outcomes and prosperity for the whole society.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my appreciation to the inter-ministerial commission led by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance and Chairman of Committee on Economic and Financial Policy and its members for composing this statement as instructed by me in the plenary cabinet meeting on September 4, 2009. Along with this, I highly value contribution from all levels of the civil servants and armed forces in the concerted effort to undertake various governments’ initiatives and measures to provide social land concession to armed forces and their families by all kinds of means and methods, which have realized outcomes as follows:

- The allocation of social land concession within the framework of military demobilization;

- The allocation of social land concession for military development;

- The allocation of many hectares of social land concession in Veal Thom Village, Treng Troyeung Commune, Phnom Sruoch District, Kampong Speu Province to disable soldiers and families of armed forces for housing construction and farming;

- The Royal Government, by the Sub-decree No. 33 ANK.PK dated April, 11, 2007 took away 2,507 hectares of forest land, of which 1,317 hectares were allocated to Siem Reap Province for the purpose of social land concession and 1,190 hectares were offered to the Ministry of Defense for further distribution to the families of soldiers.

- My wife and I are organizing villages for families of serving, disabled and dead soldiers in some regions, including the provision of 173 hectares of social land concession to 100 families of disabled soldiers in Taken Koh Sla, Kampot Provice; and additional 16,400 hectares to 1912 families in Chorm Ksan District, Preah Vihear Province.

What we are currently doing cannot fulfill our needs. In this spirit, we must continue to put more effort and do our utmost to implement the job to achieve our target.

In particular, I would like to highlight today major goals and principles as well as measures and mechanism to successfully realize this policy implementation as follows:

First: Social land concession policy for veterans do not only contribute to sustainability of social safety net and serve the purpose of military reform as stipulated in “Rectangular Strategy Phase II” , it also brings about vast benefits to support the following socio-economic goals:

1. Expressing gratitude to the veterans and their families for the enormous sacrifice through the strengthening of social safety net for them;

2. Restructuring labor contribution by transforming inactive human resources into an active production force to provide opportunity to veterans and their families to own lands and contribute to national development.

3. This policy does not only reduce military and national defense spending, but it also reflects the real substance of spending on social safety net system.

4. Updating our armed forces by recruiting new resources if needed

Second. In order to achieve socio-economic goals above, the government is adhering to some key principles as follows:

1. Equity Principle. The government has set priorities in their

policies by targeting those who deserve social land concession as well as ordering of provision of this social land concession with transparency, because the government cannot provide social land concession based on equality principle to all veteran families, because of limited state financial resource, implementation of national policy on land management based on efficiency principle, variation in livelihood of veterans and their families, it means these coexist the rich who does not need land and the poor who need land. Furthermore, need of each family are not the same.

2. Efficiency Principle in Land Management. Land, key

fundamental natural resource which can be utilized for socio-economic development and is limited resources which cannot be expanded easily, demands for efficient and rational management in order to sustainably answer the needs of the nation and people of next generations to come. In this sense, in provision of social land concession to veterans and family, the government will be associated with need for strengthening efficiency and productivity in systematic management of state land resource, especially in policy dimension related to identification and management of state reserved land, identification and reclassification of forest-covered land and deforested land which can be utilized as social land concession, transforming inactive economic land concession into social land concession and strengthening linkage between economic land concession and social land concession as envisaged in Rectangular Strategy of the government.

3. Economic efficiency in utilization of social land

concession. One of main objectives of provision of social land concession to veterans and family is to establish social safety net for the really poor veteran families so that they can build their houses, make a living with family-base farming in order to contribute to upgrade their living standards and to improve agricultural productivity and intensification for economic development and poverty reduction. Therefore, to ensure the economic efficiency of use of social land concession, the government does not allow those who possess social land concession retain it for selling, leasing, exchanging for labor, fencing it without usage.

4. Principle of integration of veteran in to society: One of the main objectives within frameworks of national armed force reform is to ensure the integration of retired, incompetent, disabled and dead armed force in to society so that they can live as civilian in harmony with their families and communities. To achieve the goal, the government will carry out a comprehensively systematic measure by developing plans for residence construction sites and business activities at concessional sites with the support of socio-economic physical infrastructures such as transport networks, irrigation system, potable water, schools, health centers, pagodas, assistance for house construction and early needed residing, provision of social service and other training to help their living for medium and long term. In the sense, the land area of the concession programs should be appropriately large. For instance, each program should prepare for 200 to 300 families with proper planning of land use, socio-economic physical infrastructure; business, agriculture and production sites, as farming so on.

Third: For policy and legal framework, the government issues some important documents as stated in the statement. In this regard, I would like to add on the work of the social land concession that we need to pay attention on the package issues of state-owned land management from land identification, land classification and planning for land use in comply with basic rule of sub-decree, particularly sub-decree on state-owned land management and sub-decree on the planning process of commune/sangkat land use. These two sub-decrees emphasize clearly the framework of the use and management of the state-owned land, the limitation of the rights and obligation of the administration and institution of the state in the arrangement and management of state-owned land.

Fourth: In addition to policies and principles mentioned, we need to review further measures and mechanism to be implemented for this social land concession. In a spirit of transforming the statement on social land concession policy for the veterans and families into concrete actions, the government has laid out measures and mechanism as follows:

1. The Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Interior must prepare to transfer the retired and disabled armed forces with disability and the dead families to be under the management of the Ministry of Social Works, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation. In this regard, the Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Social Works, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation must prepare a data system, which has clear list in each institution, and create mechanism to constantly verify and update by closely cooperating with the Ministry of Economy and Finance in order to expand management of transferring of the retired and disabled armed forces with disability and the dead families. The Ministry of Economy and Finance must prepare the budget planning for the Ministry of National Defense for the gradual transfer of militant type- II from the Ministry of National Defense to be under the management of the Ministry of Social Works, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.

2. Based on the transfer plan, those who have not been transferred from the armed forces will continue receiving equal attention as the other armed forces too.

3. Those, who will be transferred from the armed forces based on this plan, will become the signal to identify the allocation of the prioritized social land concession first; and for those, who have been already transferred, will be in the second round of priority for the identification signal for the provision of this social land concession.

4. Create an inter-ministry committee to be a mechanism to identify the retired and disabled armed forces with disability and the dead families, who will be receiving the social land concession with the composition as set in the policy statement. This committee is obligated to set the prioritized criteria to prepare the list and update the armed forces and families, who are truly poor, homeless and landless for agriculture; and who are willing to live in the social concession land to be allocated by the state.

5. After the identification of the armed forces and families for the allocation of the social land concession, this committee must send those lists to the National Committee for Social Land Concession in order to take further action based on the priority and its network at the municipal, provincial, district and communal level.

6. The mechanism for implementation, which includes the defining of location until the division of social concession land and the observation after the allocation of social concession land, must conform to the mechanism of social land concession of the Royal Government stated in the Sub-decree 19 dated 19 March 2003. For this mechanism, the Minister of Land management, Urban Planning and Construction is the Chairman of the National Committee for Social land Concession and organizational chart starts from the local, communal levels and comprehensive legal framework. Therefore, this committee is required to ensure to achieve the target and significant principles in allocating the social land concession to the ex-soldiers and families as illustrated above. Moreover, the implementation of the work on social land concession in a greater number of provinces, which is being in process with excellent results under the management competency of this mechanism, will also contribute to ensure institutional consistency and consistency in policy implementation of the government.

7. In order to achieve the objective to ensure institutional and policy implementation consistency of the government to implement the policy on social land concession to the veterans and families, the committee for land consumption and division of the municipality, provinces and communes are necessary to be jointly responsible even this program has been initiated at the national level. In fact, we have three significant tasks related to the work of social land concession, which include the identification of the retired and disabled armed forces with disability and the dead families, to be done by the inter-ministry committee at the national level and led by the Ministry of Social Works, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the seeking of land to support the program and development work and plan, which necessarily requires information from the sub-national level, and the secretariat of the committee for social land concession at the national level and all ministries/institutions must get together and rationalize to response to the request to serve the national program.

As for the location to support the program, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have primarily collected a number of data through the line departments of the two ministries. Thus, after the meeting today, the two ministries must establish a working group to go and discuss with the committee of state-owned management at the municipal and provincial levels in order to set an select appropriate locations according to the scale of priorities to be prepared before sending information about number of armed forces to be retired, and those who will be allocated the land in each province.

Based on the location planned, the municipal and provincial governors, who are the chairman of the technical cooperation committee of the municipal and provincial councils, must study and be prepared to solve the issue of resettlement and qualification to support the family business for a living of our people. The study must be done in the spirit of integration plan either physical infrastructure or pubic services by coordinating the public and private investment programs.

As for land, which has been studied so far, stated in the policy statement include: land collected base on court verdict, economic concession land, confiscated by the disrespect of contracts, lands which were illegal controlled, eroded land which could be partially used at the appropriate areas, lands which have been identified based on the government’s circular № 06 dated on 8th November 2007, which according to the report made by the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, there have been 34,830 hectars in 12 provinces.

In the context of development goal of the government and the practical possibility, especially the location of the land to serve the program, meaning after the building of general plan related to the various municipalities and provinces, the National Committee for Social Land Concession must oversee and seek advice from the Royal Government in main activities distribution to be directly led by the national level by collaborating with sub-national level and the program which is fully responsible by the sub-national level under the technical support from the sub-national level.

Every points put forward in this meeting is to clarify the goals, principles, measures and mechanisms to implement the social land concession policy for the armed forces and families in order to achieve important purpose of armed force reform, establishing social safety net for the citizens and to promote development for poverty reduction of the people. After the announcement meeting today, all ministries/institutions and all related committees must be in hurry to design work plans related to the land identification to be used for the programs, identification to those who are worth receiving social land concession according to the level of priorities and think of the qualification to be prepared for the living of our people at the initial stage. All works must be well planned in 2010 in order to be used as a foundation for budget preparation. We hope that our national society will tremendously receive fruitful results with efficiency and success according to the set objectives.

In fact, this social land concession could also be used in distributing to the victims of natural disaster, families of new resettlement and community development and these works will contribute to the solution of various social issues, enhancement of the living condition and poverty alleviation of the people. In this sense, we will continue putting greater efforts to implement this social land concession task to be more comprehensive in the future according to the actual possibility and ability. In this regard, the Royal Government strongly believes that all people will surely contribute with related ministries/institutions of the Royal Government in order to implement this policy more effectively.

At the end, with the Dissemination of Statement on Social Land Concession Policy for Veterans and Families, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the four Gems of Buddhist blessing.

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