Address at the Degrees Conferment Ceremony for Pedagogical Graduates (Bachelor Degree + 1) of the 14th-15th Batch and Khmer-French Language Pedagogical Students (12 + 2) of the 11th-12thBatch
Phnom Penh, December 6th, 2010
-Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
-Board of Management, Teachers, Professors,
-Dear Pedagogical Students!
Today, my wife and I are extremely pleased to attend the Conferment of Degrees to 1280 pedagogical students who have successfully completed their studies. In this auspicious event, I would like to sincerely congratulate and admire the board of management, teachers, professors, education personnel of the National Institute of Education for making their utmost efforts to carefully educate and train our next generation of youth through knowledge transfer for the cause of human resource development in Cambodia. The prideful outcome that the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has achieved so far not only answers appropriately and timely to Royal Government’s policy and need of the nation with respect to human resource development, but also attains sustainable development of intellectual resource, improving economic efficiency and reduce poverty of our people.
Indeed, for the last several years, we had paid great attention to the education sector, especially training of teachers, human resource development, ensuring skill upgrading in order to answer to the demand of regional and national labor market. In parallel, both public and private human resource development centers in Cambodia have remarkably developed, and the number of graduates has also notably increased. Obviously, today we have 1,280 pedagogical students and graduates trained by the National Institute of Education.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to recall our effort in restoring and developing pedagogically qualified teachers from the scratch. Indeed, the National Institute of Education has made a huge contribution to the training and development sector in accordance with the national development trend, and has achieved glorious result since 1979 until now. Since 1979, the institute has been running pedagogical courses to supplement teaching profession, management and other relevant skills to about 30,000 teachers. At the same time, the institute has commenced conducting long-term training course, as result it has trained high school teachers, the so called tertiary education teachers, intermediary and primary education inspectors, primary education teachers, primary Khmer-French and Khmer-English language teachers, French language instructors and primary education instructors, in a total amount of about 10, 000 teachers since 1993. Along with this, since 2007 the institute has adopted new curriculum by using scientific experimentation and researches, operational activities and science fair of pedagogical students in addition to Information Technology subject for all, i.e. every student must be capable of using computer with Unicode programme for teaching respective specialization after having graduated to be professional teachers.
Most importantly, the National Institute of Education has been teaching pedagogical students to know how to learn, practice, know themselves, to be harmonized as well as to be proud of their own achievements. These factors will be deeply mainstreamed in our education sector in the following phase, and eventually our society will benefit from such efforts.
In response to the achievement made so far, on behalf of the government, myself and my wife, I would like to highly value and profoundly compliment the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the board of management, personnel, all teachers and professors of all education institutes for promoting human resource development by making utmost efforts in developing this institute as it is today. Moreover, the institute has the ability to train teachers to have full capacity, to be professional teachers of ethics and high responsibility.
Indeed, the world is currently in the information technological age with endless fast growing trend which require us to develop our education sector, especially by improving its quality by two folds because if this sector has no quality then our society will face a primary challenge, which is the development of human resources; and it will impact the development of our country, impact our national economic competitive advantages and our efforts will be in vain as all the costs including spirits and finance will be wasted through the lack of good quality education system. In addition, we also cannot improve our standard of living and our economic conditions if we do not have high quality workforce. In this regard, in the past I have attentively followed up with this sector and always made recommendations aimed to strengthen and expand the capacity of our people. Obviously, this task has become our important agenda in the development strategic policy and the cause for responding to other confronting problems, reforms, and the development of education sector in systematical and comprehensive forms. Parallel to this, we have also tried to gather resources from different sources including public sector, private sector, development partners, parents and custodians of students, and many other donators in order to invest, support and participate in the promotion of our education sector.
Furthermore, I always think the development of high quality human resources and the effective use of human resources is not only solving the job problems of our people and increasing their productivity, but it is a long-term vision for sustainable development and investment in strengthening and expanding our national capacity to better our comparative advantage than other nations. Because based on the experience of other countries in the region succeeding in developing their economies in the last 3 decades indicate that investment in education was started first as it was a key factor for increasing work productivity and ensuring long-lasting stable economic growth. In this spirit, we necessarily have to improve the quantity and quality of the education sector including technical and skill trainings with more incentives to draw greater investment in this sector. So, the promotion of quality of human resources is a core factor that Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports have to be highly focused on in order to conform with the view of the government and our society. For that we have to understand that training is an intertwined and inter-dependent mechanism from the beginning till the end, starting with the procedures for determining the requirements for entrance examinations, theories, practices, improving the education programs, teaching activities and learning activities, implementation of study activities, and the mechanisms of final examinations.
As I have brought up many times, if we have only peace and democracy and have no development of human resources we cannot development our country with sustainability. A country that can develop is certainly starting from the human resources of that country. So in order to ensure that Cambodia can become successful in the highly competitive situation of globalized economy, the strengthening of quality of education sector and technical and skill trainings is a must-be-satisfied condition.
Moreover, currently industrialized countries are facing with the increasing of old aged people but countries in Asia especially South Asia and South East Asia have an increasing number of young and energetic labor force. This trend shows that in the not so long term Asia will have a competitive advantage in global labor market in fulfilling the need of industry sector, factory and services. But we have to acknowledge that in the future low-cost labor force will not remain as a competitive advantage. In contrast, human capital, highly skilled and knowledgeable human resources will play a determining role in the global economic competition. Therefore, the development of high quality and healthy human resources will have to remain in the priority list of the agenda of national strategic policy development. In this view, certainly Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports have to be focused on improving education and training along with establishing other standard letters to ensure effective work and promotion of this sector.
Parallel to this, I hope that all students receiving the degrees today will have an opportunity to use your ability and knowledge in helping developing our country. You all should continue working hard, and try develop your personality. In addition, you should not abandon learning, including continue doing research. You should consider learning as an ongoing process that has no end, which better sharpen your knowledge and know-how of each individual. Through all these efforts, I believe that you all will become teachers and scholars with 3 characteristics, including the ability to educate, to do research, and good morality at work to help promote the capacity of human resources and national economic growth.
Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government and my wife and my own behalf, I would like to thank and appreciate the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and all related Institutions who have materially, spiritually and financially supported the National Institute of Education to be more successful. Along with that, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport must implement with more active actions in order to strengthen and expand with the objective to ensure the enrolment equality, quality improvement and efficiency of education service, staff and institutional development, which are the key strategies to promote these sectors in quanity and quality in all education levels throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Before ending, I would like the National Institute of Education to continue its utmost effort in order to achieve the vision set 2010-2015 by making sure that the teaching staffs are more competent in technical issues, foreign languages, use of Computers at the international standard, research in education, in order to strengthen their ownership of earning for life to transform Cambodia to become the society of true learners. At the same time, the Institute must support the quality education at the high school nationwide through creating Multi-information Centers and E-learning programs. These modern conditions must be coherently attached to the program of cooperation, training and pedagogy, which are significant factors for training teachers at the higher and foundation levels to be more progressive with quality, efficiency and high responsibility.
At the end, together with the congratulation to the granduates today, my wife and I would like to wish you all success in life and duties for our beloved nation and also wish Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen, the Management, Lecturers and Staffs of the National Institute of Education, National and International Distinguished Guests the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.
In this marvelous and friendly atmosphere, I am very pleased to welcome you to this Gala Dinner of the 6th General Assembly of ICAPP, held in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warmest welcome to all the Delegates to the 6th General Assembly of ICAPP, including the political parties’ leaders and representatives of relevant institutions across the globe, on the 10th Anniversary of ICAPP for its remarkable progress and contribution to the causes of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia.
We are gathering here on behalf of Asia's political parties. As we have witnessed, under powers of regionalization and globalization, Asia has gone through a sweeping change both in term of political and socio-economic landscapes during the last few decades. More importantly, after the recent global financial crisis, Asia is becoming a growth driver of the world economy. Nowhere in the world could be the pace of metamorphosis comparing to Asia. In fact, governments in Asia have actively responded to changes, reflected through number of measures to ensure peace and stability, to promote governance and to build national capacity. Asia’s proactive approach into the steadfast revolution of information and communication technology (ICT) has broken through and overcome many challenges in promoting and sharing knowledge among the growing public masses. Furthermore, new wave of regionalism took deep roots in Asia and has shaped inter-related mechanisms for free trade zones, of which a number of agreements were concluded during the 17thASEAN Summit and its related Summits last October in Hanoi as well as Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Cooperation (CLV), Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Cooperation (CLMV) and Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Thailand-Vietnam Cooperation (ACMECS) Summits recently hosted by Cambodia.
Facing these changes, I view that regional political leaders must revisit their role in order to stay relevant and effective in addressing tough issues of sustainable economic growth, climate change, food and energy security, sustainable natural resources management and environmental protection. Certainly, managing these changes is becoming more complex, as the world is now becoming multi-polar, and requires higher capacity and art of political leadership and diplomacy.
In reality, each political party is working within its country’s border and has its owned strategy. However, we have the same and single objective to best serve our people’s interests through steadily improving their living standards and security. Therefore, we have to effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities, they are facing. Since we are in trust and received mandate from our people to govern and serve them, we bear responsibilities providing them basic goods and services for their needs. Furthermore, we need to introduce long-term programs and visions of socio-economic development for the benefit of our countries and peoples, as well as for regional community and the world. However, our people judge us based on our concrete actions, which frequently reflect short-term value of provided goods and services rather than on value of progress toward welfare and long-term growth. In this regard, a key challenge of political leadership is to implement political agenda to realize gigantic ambition, while ensuring support from people, which has higher value than winning elections for each and every short-term mandate.
While the shift of international economics and politics is more concentrating in Asia, regional political parties need to set their agenda beyond the national local interests to address regional interests and the future development of Asia as a whole. In this context, I would like to put forward the following issues for consideration:
First, Recent evolution clearly shows that the gravity of international power and economy is shifting from developed countries to Asia. Thus, Asia is expected to bear growing responsibilities for the future of the world. With a strong believe that prosperity in Asia could be realized, we, political parties and Leaders of Asia, need to work collectively to improve policy coordination and address development imbalances within the region and in the world.
Second, Recovery of the Asian economies is also a sign of increasing consumption of natural resources and energy in the future. Thus, Asia cannot go on with business as usual. As a leading role in the architecture of international economy and finance, Asia need to thrive for a new plateau in transforming itself to be a center of innovation, source of technologies and role model in environmental management. Moreover, facing the threat of climate change and spreading of diseases, capacity building, cooperation and coordination in disaster management is another important need to be included in our political agenda at national and regional level and should not be overlooked. Within the new aspect, it requires Governments and its institutions, particularly Asia political parties, to pay more serious attention in preparing their agenda for long-term development.
Third, Recovery of some Asia’s economies, after the global financial crisis opened up a rare opportunity for regional development. However, it would not ensure that development gaps of all aspects within a country, among countries and across the region will automatically close. Asia remains home of largest poor people in the world. Closing development gaps within a country and among countries in region remain to be our main challenge. In this regard, Asia's political agenda should emphasize closing all aspects of developmental gaps, particularly eliminate poverty, establish social safe nets, invest in public health and education and develop other social sectors, while creating economic opportunities for all.
Fourth, Demographic change is affecting labor productivity and competitiveness in the global economy. Developed economies are experiencing the increase of aging population but South and Southeast economies are experiencing emergence of young dynamic labor force. Asia therefore will provide ample competitive labor for global labor demand in industries and manufacturing and services. We have to recognize however that cheap labor is no longer a comparative advantage. In contrast, intellectual capital and highly skilled labor force are the determinants of global comparative advantage. In this sense, human resources development,highly skilled and healthy, remains the highest priority in development agenda of Asian political parties and governments.
Against the backdrop of the above-mentioned trends, it reconfirmed the significance of the International Conference of Asia Political Parties (ICAPP) to promote trust and understanding among the different political parties within the continent, but as political parties they can drive policy agenda for regional cooperation, collaboration and integration. With trust and mutual understanding, we could create collective voices to successfully address emerging regional and international issues along the development path.
Finally, I would like to invite Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to raise your glasses to our long-lasting friendship and cooperation, to the shared prosperity among our people and countries, and to the good health of all Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen here present.
Keynote Address at the Inauguration of the New Office Building of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation
Phnom Penh, November 29, 2010
-Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
-Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
-Dear Civil Servants!
It is my pleasure and honor to be here to officially inaugurate “the New Office Building of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation” at this moment. I would like to congratulate the management and all officials of the Ministry on the reception of this new building. I believe it will facilitate your everyday jobs that will result in better efficiency and effectiveness.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to praise the management and all officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation for the effective and close collaboration with related ministries/institutions, local authorities, inter-ministerial committees, Vina Hong Kong Company and Rotana Cooperation for the construction of this project. This achievement reflects the firm support of the Ministry’s management and officials in implementing the Royal Government’sRectangular Strategy-Phase II that aims at enhancing growth, employment, equity, and efficiency. In this connection, I would like to encourage the Ministry’s management and officials to capitalize on the new building and work harder for the cause of social welfare, veterans and youth rehabilitation.
As raised by H.E. Ith Samheng, the Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the new Ministry’s office building, which was ex-location of the national infant complex and inter-country infant adoption buildings, is built by the two companies in exchange of the old location. In general, this project, among many others, really responds to the given exchange opportunity that is “ a horse for a horse” while the Royal Government needs the financial resources for prioritized sectors, especially the infrastructure sector including roads, bridges, irrigation systems, schools, hospitals and so forth. Moreover, the exchange, that was made when the real estate prices rose, allows us to mobilize resources from the private sector to realize this new achievement. The new building is indeed another historic achievement of the social sector. This achievement, in addition to the Royal Government’s Friendship and Peace Building which was auspiciously inaugurated by HIS MAJESTY THE KING NORODOM SIHAMONI OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA, and new buildings of other ministries/institutions, is another outcome of the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II. This is a national treasure that will be used to serve the public interests for a very long future.
Since its inception, this is the largest ever building of the Ministry. From 1979 to 1983, the Ministry was located at building No. 28, Preah Thom Lekhet Ouk Blvd (Street 184), Chey Chumneas Commune, Khan Doun Penh. From 1983 to 2000, we moved the Ministry’s office to building No. 68, Preah Norodom Blvd, opposite to Sisowath highschool. Since 2000 onwards, the Ministry’s office building has been located at the present location, an ex-prison during the Pol Pot regime. After 1979, this location was used as a military base and then transferred to the Ministry of Social Affairs in 1992 to be used as a vocational training center.
According to the history of this Ministry as well as its office building over the last 50 years, we can see that the social affair sector has taken root in all regimes. In particular, after January 7, 1979, adding to its effort to prevent the return of the Khmer Rouge, the then government of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea mobilized resources to rescue millions of people from starvation and help restore their livelihoods. However, thanks to the right policy coupled with support from friend countries such as Vietnam, Lao, Russia, East Europe, some international organizations helped Cambodia get over hardest period without leaving any person dies of disaster.
As result, for over 30 years since 7th January 1979 till today, social affairs, veterans and youth rehabilitation sector has been carefully bolstered and been taken as priority sector of society. Standing on this foundation, Cambodia is making active step forwards with confidence and reality including institutional and human resource development, and further strengthened ownership. In that, we can see through economic growth over the past was very high due to the fact that a number of sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism, construction, and infrastructure development etc. had experienced huge progress. Separately, social affair sector, education, health care, rural development, gender equity, child welfare, people with disability, veterans, the retired, the old people have been given priorities through annually increased state budget. Within that, implementation of Cambodian Millennium Development Goals was evaluated to be successful. Indeed, GDP per capita has reached USD 792 per year. Poverty rate also has been reduced from 100% in 1979 to 30% in 2008 and continues to decrease at the rate of over 1% per annum. Through this, even though Cambodia is under effect of global economic and financial crisis, Cambodia could overcome successfully those implications. For that, the government provided capital investment for increasing agricultural production, ensuring food security , providing preferential treatment for garment industry to stabilize employment for workers, providing vocational training service and create new job for the laid-off workers, and implement social rescue programme for the poor vulnerable...etc...
Moreover, the Royal Government always pays attention to increasing intervention into social affairs, veterans and youth rehabilitation sector with objective to enhance job opportunity, to reduce vulnerability of the poor, increase emergency rescue for victims of natural other disasters and expanding employability enhancement program for people with disabilities. For that, the government constantly provide support to disabled people, veteran families and the veterans who sacrifice lives for the nation as well as program to raise welfare of the old people, children, victimized women, and vagabond…etc… At the same time, the Royal Government is strongly committed to create and implement a social security system that is comprehensive and sustainable aiming at safeguard livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable.
Obviously, although we have made such prideful achievements, we must acknowledge that we still face many duties and tasks that we have to jointly solve and responded timely to the need of our people and society. In this spirit, the government is firmly determined and provides all kinds of support to make social affair sector capable with full and adequate capacity to clear all concerns aiming at promoting social safety net for our people. In this connection, I would like to provide a number of additional recommendations to the management and officials of ministry of social affair, veterans, and youth rehabilitation with objectives to enhance and make stride with confidence and ownership.
1. Must continue expanding social welfare services for the poor and vulnerable aiming at preventing and getting rid of misery by not leaving anyone to death without our acknowledgement and intervention. Through this, we can reduce and prevent vulnerability of our people and prepare our people for restoring livelihood and integrating into society and gain regular life according to local development.
2. Must continue strengthening and expanding child welfare service by mainly concentrating on implementing 4 child basic rights, right to live, right to education, right to protection and right to participation in conformity to constitution and international convention on child right. In that, we must pay attention to help orphans, children with disability and children from poor family. At the same time, I would like to tell our compatriots and beloved children that in response to request from children through National Council for Children of Cambodia, on behalf of the government and as honorary chairman of National Council for Children of Cambodia, in principal I have decided to create Cambodian Children Day in line with International Children Day 1st June and allow government official, workers, employees to have a day off again from 2011 on to celebrate Right Day for Children whom we consider children as the future of our nation.
3. Must keep promoting youth rehabilitation by making effort to prevent vice activities among children and teen such as violence, unlawful action, drug usage that is very danger to society. Therefore, all private and public education institutions and NGOs must promote good-3 movement for children i.e. good child, good student and good friend in order to strengthen moral and cleanness among children and teens.
4. Must strengthen and expand the welfare service of the handicapped and rehabilitate their labor ability according to the national policy for the handicapped. In that regard, we have to promote the protection and enhancement of the rights of the handicapped, to reduce and to eliminate discrimination against them by having them integrated into the society without any obstacles based on the International Convention on disabled people. Along with that, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation must continue law enforcement and other legal documents related to the protection and promotion of handicapped rights.
5. Must strengthen and expand the elder welfare sector by providing supporting services to the elder people, especially the old poor people who no have dependence according to the spirit of International Elderly Day 1 October that is annually organized. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation must strengthen and help the National Committee for Organizing the International Elderly Day, which is the inter-ministry mechanism to consult, organize and implement policies for the elder. I have always provided annual recommendations through my letters on behalf of the Royal Government during the occasion of International Elderly Day 1 October. Moreover, I would like to request you all to promote the good social tradition, the respect and gratitude and care of the elderly, who are parents, grandparents in families, and the respect of the old people in the localities, pagodas, Buddhism, Muslim or Christianity.
6. Must continue to implement the social security scheme for the civil servants according to the Royal Decree on Social Security Scheme for the Civil Servants and the Sub-decree on the Creation of the National Treasury for Social Security for Civil Servants. We have to promote the process of National Treasury for Social Security for Civil Servants, created since 2008.
7. Must enlarge and strengthen the sector of ex-soldiers by continuing to implement the national policy against ex-soldiers in response to the noble gratitude of our ex-soldiers for the nation. We have to regard the ex-soldiers as the symbol of loyal nationalism through their sacrifice acts for the nation. In this connection, the sound implementation of the policy for the ex-soldiers is the contribution to inspire nationalism, sacrifice for the nation and people that is the excellent tradition of our people. Along with that, we have to take every measure in order to compensate their heroism at the most suitable level. I would also like to appreciate the inter-ministerial committee that has defined identity of the armed forces and families until achieving the 2010 plan, consisting of 3000 families of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and 10000 families of the national police, and these people have been continuously sent to the National Committee for Social Land Concession. In this spirit, I agree with the request made by the Committee for Identification, who has requested to maintain the 4 year plan 2010-2013 in identifying 23000 families in which the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are 15000 families and national police are 5500 families, and ex-soldiers of 300 families. But, the result of land concession provision will be implemented based on the budget ability of each year, and the remaining amount will be moved to next year.
8. Must promote the preparation of comprehensive social security scheme for the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia according to the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government. We have to quickly create law on social security for the Kingdom of Cambodia. Through this law, Cambodia will be able to create the social safety net which is more comprehensive.
9. Must continue partnership with the national and international non-governmental organizations in order to enlarge the spirit of solidarity in the society, attract financial, material, technical sources to serve the request of the social works and assist the vulnerable people. For the time being, there are 186 international and non-governmental organizations who are partners of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, in which there is the budget of USD 36 million, available for implementing the plan of action annually. In this regard, the Royal Government considers the contribution of various organizations truly important for the cause of humanitarian and social affairs.
10. Must strengthen the action of the committee for solving the strike, demonstration in all signals and the professional communication working groups who are the dialogue partners with the private sector, syndicate, international labor organization and other organizations by working as an agency of the Royal Government in coordinating, solving the working conflicts with the objective to increase social harmonization as well as the policy to protect rights and freedom of the syndicate, employers, and related parties according to the international convention and laws that are in effect.
11. Must continue to build institutional capacity, human resources, spirit of responsibility, professional conscience of officials in all levels in order to response to the obligations in this new stage. We have to comprehensively implement the reform agenda in all sectors according to the policy of the Royal Government in order to increase efficiency of social service delivery. In this context, the social affairs workers in all levels must abide by their roles as agency of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, who are attached to the people, receiving services. If we have well implemented, it will bring about the betterment of the policy of the Royal Government.
At the end, together with the official inauguration of the “Office Building of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation” now, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests and all Civil Servants the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.
H.E. Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh, PM of the Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
First of all, let me extend my warmest welcome to Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to this 6th CLV Summit held in the capital city of Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. I hope our meeting today will not only further advance the cooperation among our three CLV countries, but also contribute to the development and prosperity of our region.
We meet today to review the progress made since the last Summit and to adopt a newly revised Master Plan 2010-2020 in order to fast track our cooperation activities in our CLV Development Triangle Area. The strengthening of cooperation is truly crucial in the regional and global context after the recent global financial crisis.
I would like to highly appreciate the achievements made, especially in the area of trade and investment promotion through the organization of related trade fairs and conferences, as well as related measures such as the simplification of export procedures and business registration processes and the granting of tax incentives in order to boost private business and investment in the region.
In this regard, I would like to note with satisfaction that the signing by the CLV Joint Coordination Committee of the amendedMOU toward the Establishment of Special Preferential Policies for the CLV Development Triangle Area, as well as the effective consultations and cooperative efforts made by the CLV Joint Coordination Committee in successfully completing this newly revised Master Planto be submitted to the Summit for endorsement.
However, I believe that we must do our utmost to accelerate the implementation before schedules of all bilateral and multilateral agreements in the Development Triangle Area by putting them on a faster track list than the original schedule, particularly theCross Border Transport Agreement (CBTA), the ASEAN Economic Blueprint, the Bilateral Trade Agreements, the ACMECS Rice Cooperation and Contract Farming Projects and the ASEAN Single Window.
In order to achieve our vision of a harmonious and prosperous Development Triangle Area by the year 2020 in the context that our CLV countries are facing the shortages of financial resources for the implementation of the many programs and projects under the Master Plan 2010-2020, I believe that, firstly, we should commit to primarily shortlisting a number of prioritized projects from our cooperation sectors, such as infrastructure, trade and investment, social development and cultural conservation, agro-industry, tourism, and environment.
Since financing remains a big challenge for all of us, I would suggest that we address this issue by initiating the establishment of aCLV Fund to mobilize financial resources to fund these projects. Indeed, the Government of Japan has already provided a USD 20 million grant for the development of the Triangle Area in order ensure concrete and fruitful outcome of this cooperation. But it is still not adequate. Thus, we should continue to engage Japan and other development partners in order to mobilize more financial resources for the CLV Fund. This will be used to finance projects in our Development Triangle Area. One of the options is that we can propose to Japan to consider transferring some funds in the framework of Mekong-Japan Cooperation Fund to the CLV Fund.
Finally, I believe that the rich endowment in natural resources, more cohesive cooperation among our respective CLV members, along with the support by our development partners, would provide us with the opportunities to realize our CLV objectives in promoting growth, employment and income generation that will tremendously improve the welfare of our peoples in the CLV countries. This will also significantly contribute to the joint efforts to promote regional integration, especially in building the ASEAN Community.
I wish our deliberation a great success and may I now declare the opening of the 6th CLV Summit! Thank you for your attention!
H.E. Mr. Bouasone BOUPHAVANH, PM of the Lao PDR H.E. Mr. Thein Sein, PM of the Union of Myanmar H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
H.E.Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary General
Distinguished Delegates of the LMV countries
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to express my warmest welcome and heart-felt thanks to the Heads of CLMV Governments and their delegation for their kind participation at this August Summit in Phnom Penh. Cambodia is very honored and fortunate indeed to host the meeting, in particular while our region has just recovered from the global economic and financial crisis.
This Fifth Summit is of great significance. It offers us opportunity to reaffirm our determination to deepen the traditional relations between our people and country based on our long friendship, good neighborliness and mutual benefits by promoting the implementation of the goals set in the 2004 Vientiane Declaration.
The Summit is very timely as ASEAN is accelerating the process of ASEAN Community building by 2015. Conceptually, the CLMV cooperation was incepted with the objectives of strengthening and accelerating the integration of the four countries with the other six ASEAN members in order to narrow development gap. There were concerns from the early stage about duplication and proliferation of sub-regional frameworks as there are many sub-regional frameworks intended to facilitate integration of the CLMV countries aiming at narrowing development gap such as, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS), the ASEAN Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC), the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the CLV Development Triangles, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the East West Corridor, the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) etc.
However, we have witnessed that since the first CLMV Summit in Vientiane, the CLMV cooperation has evolved from the designing of cooperation mechanism into action plans in 9 areas of cooperation namely, coordination of economic integration policies, trade and investment facilitation and promotion, agriculture, industry and energy, transport, information and communication strategy (ICT), tourism, human resource development and health care. In addition, we successfully adopted the revised CLMV Plan of Action at the third CLMV Summit in Cebu, the Philippines and adopted 58 projects at the Fourth CLMV Summit in Hanoi in 2008. Therefore, we were able to ensure that there was no duplication of action plans, but it enhances synergy with other cooperation frameworks, especially the ACMECS cooperation. The prioritization of the projects for implementation, both short and medium term, will enhance CLMV cooperation to bring about a much better and fruitful results.
At present, we have deepened our cooperation in all sectors. In this regard, taking this opportunity, I would like to commend the successful conclusion of the CLMV Cultural Ministers’ Meeting in January 2010 in Myanmar and the first CLMV Economic Ministers’ Meeting in August this year in Danang, Vietnam.
We should incorporate the CLMV infrastructure projects into the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity that the ASEAN Leaders adopted at the recent ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, because the CLMV development projects will not only serve the objectives of narrowing development gaps in Mekong sub-region, but also will definitely contribute to the tremendous efforts to realize ASEAN Community by 2015. Since financing remains a key challenge for CLMV, the incorporation of CLMV’s projects into the Master Plan of ASEAN connectivity is part of our innovative and creative mechanism to engage ASEAN Dialogue Partners and other development partners to participate in projects of their best interest.
Narrowing the development gap is one of the key components of ASEAN Community roadmap. To this end, CLMV has to enhance cooperation in building and implementing projects under the 2nd IAI Work Plan framework and enhance cooperation with regional and international institution such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and Dialogue Partners to implement necessary studies and assessment to identify common challenges and necessary measures to promote trade and investment among CLMV countries including trade facilitation and the establishment of border markets.
Finally, I can conclude that we have taken a major step forward with confidence in order to strengthen our CLMV cooperation to serve the interests of our countries and peoples. The next priority is to push our activities forward toward actual implementation to achieve concrete results in the near future. Let us not wait for the completion and perfection of the entire package. Small victories, gained early, will pave our common road to overall good results over the long haul.
In this sense, I wish our summit a successful and fruitful discussion for the high benefit to our people and nations.
-Excellencies, Heads of the Government of CLMV Countries
-Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Fifth Summit is an opportunity for us as the Leaders of CLMV countries to provide further guidance on the implementation of the revised action plan and the projects adopted at the 4th Summit in Hanoi in 2008 and set future direction for our joint cooperation.
I am pleased that our officials eventually were able to ensure that there is no duplication of CLMV action plan with other cooperation mechanisms particularly at the project levels. We have totally 58 projects in which 10 projects submitted by Cambodia, 3 projects by Laos, 26 projects by Myanmar and 19 projects by Vietnam. However, the tasks ahead of us are not just to work out innovative and creative mechanism but also to seek out sources of financing in order to translate the projects into actual implementation.
Cambodia highly appreciates and thanks Vietnam for providing scholarship to train students of CLM member countries. This is a part of fruitful cooperation in HRD. Cambodia has given high priority to promote trade and investment with member countries, including the establishment of border markets and border trade activities. Trade fair is also a practical and easy starting project which will help increase trade and investment flows among the CLMV countries and between CLMV countries and countries in the region and around the world. In this regard, I sincerely thank Vietnam for successfully hosting the 1st CLMV Economic Ministers’ Meeting.
Cooperation in transport is also indispensable for all CLMV countries that want to make the best use of economic corridors across the CLMV countries such as the East-West Economic Corridor, the Southern Economic Corridor under the GMS. In this regard, I would like to reiterate that Cambodia gives a high priority to the construction of a railway link that connects Cambodia to Vietnam from Bat Deng to Loc Ninh under the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link project, and we have taken necessary measures to seek support from relevant partners.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
As financing remains a key challenge for all of us to move CLMV cooperation forward, I would like to share with you my humble thoughts as follows:
Firstly, we should expedite the implementation of CLMV projects supported by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), in order to seek funding for new projects.
Secondly, we should enhance cooperation with ASEAN Secretariat and its dialogue partners to seek financing for those projects that are under the IAI framework.
Thirdly, we will submit 16 prioritized projects chosen by each CLMV countries to seek support from the development partners.
Fourthly, we should encourage participation of the private sector in executing those projects;
Another important point in promoting implementation of this cooperation is a consideration on the necessity of setting up a monitoring mechanism to oversee the implementation of action plan and its projects that we have put forward. We should task our SOM Officials to regularly meet and update the Leaders on the implementation progress of CLMV project.
- H.E. Mr. Bouasone BOUPHAVANH, PM of the Lao PDR - H.E. Mr. Thein Sein, PM of the Union of Myanmar - H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, PM of the Kingdom of Thailand
- H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
- H.E Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary General
- Distinguished Delegates of the ACMECS countries
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is an auspicious day for the Kingdom of Cambodia to host the 4thACMECS Summit. On behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to extend my warmest welcome and heart-felt thanks to the Heads of ACMECSGovernments and delegations for your participation in this august Summit in Phnom Penh held in the newly built «Peace Palace».
Allow me to recall briefly the history of our ACMECS cooperation, before casting an eye on to the future. There is no doubt that we have come a long way since the first Summit in Bagan in 2003, then the second Summit in Bangkok in 2005, and the third Summit in Hanoi in 2008. Initially, there were only four members in the ACMECS cooperation, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Later on Vietnam was admitted in November 2004 at the ACMECS Ministerial Retreat in Krabi, Thailand, and became the fifth member.
The Bagan Declaration adopted at the fist Summit spells out five priority areas of cooperation under ACMECS namely, (i) trade and investment facilitation; (ii) agricultural and industrial cooperation; (iii) transport linkages; (iv) tourism cooperation; and (v) human resources development. In 2006, health sector was added as a new sector of cooperation. Afterwards, agriculture and industrial cooperation was split into two separate sectors of cooperation in order to reflect the increased importance of each sector. Later on at the Summit held in Hanoi, we agreed to add environment as the 8th sector of cooperation in order to address the issues related to the threat to the environment.
This enlargement well underlines how all member countries have attached importance to this shared sub-regional economic cooperation strategy. More importantly, we should be pleased that the ACMECS has been integrated into the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. Indeed, ACMECS connectivity will not only contribute to the vision of ASEAN Connectivity but also to the ASEAN community building by 2015.
I am pleased to stress that we have made a lot progress in all areas of ACMECS cooperation. However, I believe that more efforts will be required in order to elevate ACMECS cooperation to a level that we wish to be. Indeed, further efforts in facilitation of trade, investment and tourism will further boost economic growth and social progress.
The issue of climate change is of critical importance for our future. Last month, in a number of ACMECS member countries, including Cambodia, there were unusual heavy rains and flooding in some parts of the countries. It is also a constant reminder that the impact of climate change is here to stay and may cause unpredictable damages in the future, especially to the poor. In this spirit, ACMECS countries need to join hands to tackle the impacts of climate change. Thus, I welcome the establishment of theACMECS Environment Working Group, co-chaired by Cambodia and Vietnam.
At the same time, climate change has had considerable impact on agriculture, especially rice production. Therefore, it is important that our cooperation in rice production and exports need to be further strengthened. ACMECS countries can be considered as a «rice bowl» of the world. Thailand and Vietnam are ranked first and second respectively in terms of rice export to the world market. Myanmar also has high potential in this sector. Given the potential in the country and the opportunity in the regional and global market, the Royal Government of Cambodia has given high priority in promoting rice production and export by launching recently «the Policy on Rice Production and Export Promotion». Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the efforts made by our ACMECS SOM and Economic Ministers for the finalization of the ACMECS Rice Cooperation initiative.
To achieve the objectives and vision set out in the summit’s Declaration and Action Plan, efforts made by our governments alone are not adequate. We should crate favorable conditions for and encourage active participation of the private sector. Their support and participation at the project implementation level will have tremendous impact on the development of ACMECS countries and the realization of ACMECS’ vision. In this regards, the ACMECS governments have an important role to play to create additional opportunities for the private sector to participate in the ACMECS cooperation.
Moreover, the development and progress of ACMECS cooperation cannot be separated from the support and assistance from our development partners. As ACMECS is a part of the ASEAN Connectivity, we should join hands to mobilize support in both financial and technical resources for the implementation of ACMECS projects. I believe that these are the important points of agenda for our discussions at today’s summit.
Finally, I wish to reiterate the support for the shared vision of development among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (CLMTV). I strongly believe that the successful implementation of the Economic Cooperation Strategy will fulfill the shared development vision of our nations, namely long-term peace and stability, development and prosperity for all of our people.
I would like to declare the opening of the 4th ACMECS Summit and wish our deliberation successful.
Remarksat the 4th ACMECS Summit
on ACMECS Cooperation and Future Direction
Phnom Penh, 17th November 2010
-Excellencies Heads of the Governments of ACMECS Countries
- Excellency Secretary General of ASEAN
- Distinguished Delegates of the ACMECS countries
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
This fourth ACMECS Summit is not just an important milestone all of us to review the progress of ACMECS Projects after the implementation of the Bagan Declaration,but also provides new opportunity for us to set the future direction for deeper and more comprehensive ACMECS cooperation. Indeed, this Summit is an opportunity to reiterate our firm commitments to implement the ACMECS Plan of Action (2010-2012) in order to realize the vision of building good neighborliness among member countries, promoting peace, stability and sustainable development in our region.
I have noted that we have made some progress in all areas of cooperation, especially in implementing a number of bilateral and common projects in trade facilitation and investment, agricultural cooperation, transport linkages, tourism and human resource development. However, I think we have not done our best to implement all projects that we have prepared. Therefore, I believe much more efforts will be needed to elevate ACMECS cooperation to a higher level to further contribute to narrowing the development gap and reducing poverty in the region. At the same time, we also need to exert our greatest efforts to promote projects in the areas of industry and energy cooperation and the establishment of wholesale markets along the borders, and other common projects, which require substantial investments.
The ACMECS cooperation should be geared towards vigorously and continuously implementing its existing strategy. We have to promote the development of agricultural sector to a new height to strengthen and diversify the base of economic growth as well as to promote poverty reduction for our peoples. There is no doubt, that agriculture must be a priority under all circumstances because this sector does not only play leading role in food security, but also helps maintain political stability and accelerate the pace of socio-economic development.
The steady increase in foods prices can affect our respective economies. But, if we look from another angle, I would say that higher food prices also present opportunity for developing countries to increase investment in agriculture in order to boost productivity and export of agricultural products. We should appreciate the fact that ACMECS countries produce about 62.05 million tons of milled rice per annum, accounting for 13% of the world’s total rice production, and we export to the world approximately 16.61 million tons per year, or 45% of the world rice exports. Therefore, I believe that cooperation in rice production and trade would not only further strengthen our position on the world market, but also help significantly contribute to the promotion of the living standard of our farmers.
Moreover, having realized the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change, which could result in natural calamity, I highly appreciate the creation of theWorking Group on Environment, which is co-chaired by Cambodia and Vietnam. We hope that the working group will produce fruitful and tangible outcome as expected.
For the ACMECS’s future direction, I strongly believe that we should mobilize our resources and double our efforts to implement the existing projects and flagship projects as well as trying our utmost efforts to implement the ACMECS Plan of Action 2010-2012. In this regard, we should mandate our Ministers and Senior Officials to closely monitor and provide guidance to the respective working groups of the eight Sectors of ACMECS by focusing on the implementation at the project level.
Taking this valuable opportunity, I would like to encourage all development partners of ACMECS countries to provide financial support and technical assistance to ensure successful implementation of the ACMECS projects. At the same time, I would like also to appeal to our ASEAN Secretary General to help mobilize all the available resources in order to realize theACMECS’s vision, as it will make major contribution to the efforts of reducing gap within the region as well as to build ASEAN Community.
Together with this milestone of ACMECS cooperation, I strongly believe that we will make further progress in achieving the ACMECS cooperation’s objectives of fostering regional prosperity and welfare of our peoples.
The Outcomes of the 6th CLV Summit,
the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit
1.From 16th to 17th October 2010 Cambodia hosted and chaired the 6th CLV Summit, the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit. The Summits were held at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh and chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The main outcomes of these Summits are the following:
I.The 6th CLV Summit
2.The Summit was held to review progress and set out future direction of the CLV cooperation.
3.The meeting took note of the progress of cooperation in the CLV Triangle Development Area, especially the achievements made in the area of trade and investment, including the organization of trade fairs; conferences on trade, investment and tourism promotion; simplification of export procedures and business registration processes; and the granting of tax incentives to boost investment in the region.
4.The meeting adopted the revised Socio-Economic Development Master Planin the CLV Development Triangle Area (2010-2020) and given high priority to a number of sectors, such as physical infrastructure, trade and investment facilitation, social and cultural development, agro-industry and tourism…etc. with a view to accelerating socio-economic development and poverty reduction, which are crucial for realizing the vision of creating a harmonious and prosperous Development Triangle Area by the year 2020.
5.The meeting made a firm commitment to promoting this cooperation through the adoption of «thePhnom Penh Declaration on Deepening of Cooperation in the Development Triangle Area» and the amended the «MOU on the Special Preferential Policies for CLV Development Triangle Area».
6.Moreover, the meeting was resolved to accelerate the implementation of the bilateral and multilateral agreements in the Development Triangle Area, particularly the Cross Border Transport Agreement of the GMS, the ASEAN Economic Blueprint, bilateral trade agreements, the Rice Cooperation and Contract Farming Projects and the ASEAN Single Window.
II.The 5th CLMV Summit
7.The Summit was held to review progress and set out future direction of the CLMV cooperation.
8.The CLMV cooperation was established to narrow development gap and to accelerate the integration of the four countries in order to catch up with the other six ASEAN members. As a result, since the 1st CLMV Summit held in Vientiane, under the CLMV cooperation an Action Plan covering 9 areas of cooperation was adopted and include the following sectors:(1) coordination of economic integration policies, (2) trade and investment facilitation and promotion, (3) agriculture, (4) industry and energy, (5) transport, (6) information and communication technology (ICT), (7) tourism, (8) human resource development and (9) health care. In this framework, 58 concrete projects were adopted at the 4th CLMV Summit in Hanoi in 2008.
9.At this CLMV Summit, the meeting adopted the Joint Declaration of the 5th CLMV Summit to reaffirm their determination to promote cooperation in the 9 areas and to deepen the traditional relationships based on the long-lasting friendship, good neighborliness and mutual benefits among the CLMV Countries.
10.As financing remains a key challenge, the meeting was determined to seek assistance from development partners and encourage private sector’s participation in both regional and sub-regional frameworks in order to accelerate the implementation of action plans and important projects. In this regard, the meeting agreed to prioritize and select 16 projects to be submitted to development partners, particularly Japan, China, Korea and India for their support.
III.The 4th ACMECS Summit
11.The Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) is a cooperation framework between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam established to capitalize on both economic disparities and complementarities of member countries in order to narrow the development gaps in the sub-region and contribute to building the ASEAN community.
12.The objectives of this 4th ACMECS Summit are: (1) review ACMECS cooperation and future direction, and (2) review and adopt the Declaration and the Plan of Action to expedite the implementation of ACMECS cooperation framework.
13.ACMECS cooperation includes 8 sectors namely, (1) investment and trade facilitation, (2) agricultural sector, (3)industrial and energy sector, (4) transport linkages, (5) tourism sector, (6) human resource development, (7) public health, and (8)environment, which is a new sector adopted at the 3rd ACMECS Summit held in 2008 in Hanoi. Cambodia and Vietnam are the co-chairs of the Environmental Sector Working Group.
14.The meeting adopted theACMECS's Plan of Action 2010-2012 as a roadmap for the implementation of cooperation among ACMECS member countries, as well as the cooperation with development partners to ensure its successful implementation by 2012.
15.The meeting also adopted thePhnom Penh Declaration on ACMECS and incorporated the Declaration on ACMECS Rice Cooperation into agricultural cooperation in order to strengthen ACMECS’s position in the areas of rice production and exports to world market.
16.In this connection, the Heads of the Governments of ACMECS member countries also met with ACMECS business leaders. TheACMECS Business Council was created as a common project under trade and investment facilitation cooperation. ACMECS Leaders encouraged active participation of theACMECS Business Council in the implementation of ACMECS's Plan of Action, particularly under the initiative of Governments-Private Sector Partnership, in order to ensure maximum and effective use of all the potentials of the existing business and investment opportunities in member countries.
17.The 6th CLV Summit, the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit were held as ASEAN is also accelerating the process of building the ASEAN community by 2015. From the beginning, the establishment of these cooperation frameworks at sub-regional level is designed to achieve the main goal - promoting development and physical connectivity in the newer, less-developed ASEAN members. This will make concrete contribution to the efforts in narrowing development gaps and accelerating community building in the region. First and foremost, the objective is to build the ASEAN Community, and afterward to build the East Asia Community in the longer run.
18.In this sense, we take great pride from the fact that as through our joint efforts, the CLV, CLMV and ACMECS cooperation frameworks were incorporated into the Master Plan on ASEAN connectivity recently adopted at the 17thASEAN Summit in Hanoi. The Master Plan is pre-requisite and necessary for building and realizing the ASEAN Community by 2015. As financing remains a fundamental challenge for countries like Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam, the preparation of projects of CLV, CLMV and ACMECS cooperation frameworks to be incorporated into the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity is part of our innovative and creative mechanism to engage ASEAN dialogue partners and other development partners to provide support for projects of their best interest.
19.The Heads of the Governments of all countries participating in these summits highly appreciated the capable and efficient chairmanship of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and expressed their profound gratitude to the Royal Government and People of Cambodia for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to all delegates participating in these important Summits.