Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keynote Address at the Launching of “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”

Government House, Phnom Penh, August 17, 2010

- Excellencies Members of Senate and Parliament,

- Excellencies Members of the Royal Government and Representatives from Governmental Ministries/Institutions,

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors and Representatives of Development Partners and Non-Governmental Organizations,

- Excellencies, Oknhas, Ladies and Gentlemen Representatives from the Private Sector,

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests!

Today I am very pleased to present here at the launching of the “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion” which was discussed and endorsed by the Council of Ministers on July 25, 2010. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Committee on Economic and Financial Policies, led by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, for the excellent and timely arrangements to disseminate this “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion” as decided by the Council of Ministers.

All of you may recall that during the 15th Royal Government – Private Sector Forum held on April 27, 2010 at the Government House, I instructed the Supreme National Economic Council, led by Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, to prepare the draft “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”, to be ready within one month timeframe. Then, as indicated earlier by H.E. Keat Chhon, within the deadline, on 29 May 2010, the Supreme National Economic Council submitted the draft paper to the Prime Minister to seek guidance and approval. On 31 May 2010, after having gone through the draft, I instructed the Committee on Economic and Financial Policies, led by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, to call an urgent meeting to collect additional inputs from related ministries-institutions to fine-tune the paper and ensure full participation from related ministries/institutions.

Following a meeting of the Committee on Economic and Financial Policies held on 16 June 2010, which involved lengthy discussion and collection of additional inputs, I personally led the plenary Cabinet Meeting on 26 June 2010 to review, discuss and finally approve the draft of the “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”.

Therefore, counting from the date the instruction was given by the Prime Minister, it took just two months for the drafting and final approval of the paper to take place. This, on one hand, indicates improved efficiency and capacity of the RGC’s related ministries/institutions that are able to prepare a realistic and comprehensive paper perfectly fit to real practices within short timeframe. On ther other hand, it is a clear indication of the RGC’s high commitment and attention given to agriculture development particularly the promotion of rice production and export.

Thus I would like to take this opportunity to commend all concerned ministries/institutions, especially the Supreme National Economic Council, chaired by Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth and the Committee on Economic and Financial Policies led by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, for their utmost efforts in preparing a quality and timely draft policy paper and further refining it into a complete and comprehensive final draft for review and approval by the Council of Ministers which is now being launched.

The Royal Government has given special attention to agricultural development since its 3rd Legislature of the National Assembly, which we clearly indicated the priority in the “Rectangular Strategy” for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency. During the 4th Legislature of the National Assembly, this priority was further emphasized in the “Rectangular Strategy-Phase II”, through which, the Royal Government further refined its major strategic policy measures to promote agriculture. In realizing this objective, the RGC has adopted a three-pronged strategy — productivity enhancement, diversification and agricultural commercialization (from subsistence to commercial agriculture) — through implementing a package of interrelated measures: (1) infrastructure building and enhancement (roads, irrigations, energy/electricity and information and communication technologies (ICT); (2) improvement in the provision of extension services and agricultural inputs; (3) land management reform; (4) finance; (5) marketing; (6) farmer organization; and (7) institutional building and coordination.

H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhun had reminded me in his early remarks that during time Cambodian economy was struggling to weather the storm of global financial crisis and economic downturn, among all the important, systemic and interrelated measures introduced by the RGC to reduce or address the negative impacts of the crisis, there were some measures focusing on the promotion of agriculture sector through channeling more and more public investment funds to transport infrastructure, irrigation network, improvement in agriculture productivity, establishing “Agriculture Support and Development Fund”, and the provision of tax incentives to production and processing activities and so on. Why did the Royal Government consider the promotion of agriculture as an important economic policy tool to tackle the adverse affects from global financial crisis? I would like to give my explanation to this question as follows:

If we examine the current Cambodia’s socio-economic structure we would notice that:

  1. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) consists of more than 30% from agriculture sector and sub-crop sectors, in which paddy rice contributed the most, consisting of nearly 20% of GDP.

  2. According to the General Population Census of Cambodia 2008, 80% of Cambodian population is living in rural area, 72% of the labor force in Cambodia is related to agriculture sector.

  3. The relationship of each family’s socio-economy among those living in rural and urban area is strongly related and complementing each other. For example, labor forces in urban area mostly have parents or relatives live in the countryside, performing agricultural work; maintaining their good family relationship, assisting each other.

The above three points have shown us that when Cambodian economy is facing hard time including economic and financial crisis, promoting agriculture sector is an emergency socio-economic measure that would assure:

First- food security and stable living condition, put it simply, “a guarantee for Cambodian people to have enough rice to eat” and no one would die of starvation.

Second- the expansion of agriculture and rural economy will create more jobs and absorb excess labor from urban economies, where laborers are losing their jobs in industry, construction and service sector.

Third- the growth in agriculture and rural economy will contribute significantly to maintaining the ongoing economic growth of the nation. In addition, it will accelerate poverty reduction by improving the living standard of the Cambodian people who most are involved with agriculture activities and living in rural areas.

Fourth- it diversifies Cambodia’s sources of growth and export. Currently, economic growth and export continue depending significantly on a number of sectors, such as garment and tourism sector and so on, which have been hit by the external economic impacts.

Hence, in general, the implementation of policy to offset the negative impacts of global financial and economic crisis in the past two years shows us the importance and potential growth of agriculture sector. In this regard, the promotion of agriculture sector is a policy that ensures food security and stable living standard for Cambodian people in the future, a policy that serves as social safety net for Cambodian people while facing crisis, a policy that ensures continuous and long-lasting economic growth, a policy that ensures further poverty reduction and a policy that diversifies the source of economic growth and export. Experience and lessons learned have encouraged the Royal Government of Cambodia to move one more step forward; that is the introduction of this policy on promotion of paddy rice production and milled rice export. The policy aims to ensure that we grab this rare opportunity to develop Cambodia in the post global financial and economic cataclysm.

H.E Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon has reminded me of my ambition to turn Cambodia into a key “rice-white gold” exporting country in the international market. It is true that we have a strong potential in rice production to boost milled rice export in the future. This potential is hidden in our weakness and low level of our development. Obviously we all know that Cambodia’s paddy rice yield is relatively low, compared to the neighboring countries with similar weather and soil condition. For example, our medium paddy rice yield is 2.6 tons per hectare in 2008, compared to 2.8 tons per hectare in Thailand, 3.5 tons per hectare in Laos and 4.9 tons per hectare in Vietnam. Furthermore, though the expansion of cultivation areas may be limited we have a lot of capacity to increase cultivation seasons. Most Cambodian farmers cultivate once a year in raining season, compared to 3.5 times a year in low land Mekong plain in Viet Nam. Hence the promotion of production growth is possible through the increase in cultivation times to two or more in each year for both dry season cultivated land and rainy season cultivated land. In this regard, investment on water irrigation system and water management promotion is a key factor in boosting productivity and cultivation season.

Thus I always tell my colleagues and other development partners that this is the Cambodia’s potential to grow while seeing dry rice fields that lack of water supply. That means we still have a lot of potential to boost rice production yields in the future through increasing and maintaining the sustainability of the intensification of rice production. Put it simply, we can increase average yields on existing land through the increase in cultivation seasons, the usage of seeds, fertilizers and modern cultivation technology, as such.

In the meantime, Cambodia has a unique opportunity to expand its milled rice market niche in the global market. The global milled rice trade has been estimated to reach 31 million tons in 2010, in which Thailand and Viet Nam will remain the biggest source of milled rice export, and Cambodia and Myanmar are expected to become new leading milled rice-exporting countries in the near future. Since the world is now facing the challenges of population growth, climate change, and changing economic structure, together with the improved living standard of people in many developing countries, the consumption of rice is expected to rise, driving higher demand for milled rice in the global market. Moreover, there are not many milled rice-exporting countries, and most of them are in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, and there are more and more countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia having become rice-importing countries. Therefore, this potential in global milled rice market will provide such a good opportunity for Cambodian farmers.

Having seen this opportunity, in an immediate time, the Royal Government has introduced a series of measures, in cooperation with farmers, rice millers and traders as well as development partners, to address the many challenges involving the high cost of rice processing, transportation, export processing and clearance etc. However, these measures were not consistent and systematic, and when implemented, they were not sufficiently effective and the results were incomplete. Thus, I have ordered a further refine of the rice policy through the introduction of “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”.

Through the introduction of “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”, the Royal Government would expect that:

First- Cambodia can promote the diversification of Cambodia’s sources of growth by increasing paddy rice production and milled rice export in order to complement growth in garment and other sectors. Moreover, in the future, the rice sector could become an important pillar to further promote Cambodia’s economic growth while the garment sector is facing stiffer competition. It is true that the rice sector could have a big potential comparable to that of garment sector in terms of gross export value and values added generated throughout the supply chain including employment. If rice export reaches 3 million tons, the total export value would amount to USD 2.1 billion (approximately 20% of the GDP) or equivalent to about USD 600 million (approximately 5% of the GDP) in value added contributing to the national economy. If we can solve the problems of rice export in the same way as we have promoted the garment sector, we will be able to retain substantial value added in the country and the gains will directly contribute to economic growth through employment for more than 80% of people living in rural areas, increased income, particularly poverty reduction and improved living condition of farmers and most Cambodian people engaging in rural economic activities.

Second- in addition, as I mentioned earlier, the promotion of agriculture sector particularly production of rice and milled rice could provide a mechanism for equitable redistribution of economic gains for more than 80% of people living in rural areas, and have spillover effects on broader economic infrastructure, that will lead to a complete change in the image of Cambodia’s rural economy.

Third- the milled rice export promotion is the first step to promote export of other agricultural produces such as rubber and other crops. However, in the current context, we should sharpen this policy to address one issue at a time to ensure that set measures are effective and efficient and not to overstretch the capacity and financial resources of the ministries/institutions responsible for the implementation of this policy. The Royal Government of Cambodia has greater ambition. Yet, we believe that working on too many produces at the same time will overstretch our limited resources and capacity and make them less effective and efficient. At the same time, the success of the implementation of rice export policy will send a strong political message, encouraging and paving the ways for the promotion of the export of other agricultural crops.

In this sense, the policy document is aimed to transform Cambodia into a «rice basket» and key milled rice-exporting country in the global market. In this connection, the Royal Government has set the year 2015 as the target year to (1) reach paddy rice surplus of more than 4 million tons and achieve milled rice export of at least 1 million tons; and (2) ensure Cambodian rice to be internationally recognized.

In implementing this initiative, the Royal Government will adhere to the following key principles:

First- Adopt market principles by encouraging competition to effectively increase export, while ensuring the interest of farmers is protected, increasing their income, reducing poverty among them, and improving food security based on a stronger social safety net.

Second- Encourage and support participation of farmers and their organizations to protect their interests by creating an enabling environment for increased production and supply of high-quality rice, including raising farmers’ bargaining power on price negotiation.

Third- Promote cooperation and partnership between the Royal Government and development partners, civil society and private sector such as rice producers, rice millers, traders and transporters in implementing the policy to promote rice production and export.

Fourth- Enhance efficiency in coordination between ministries/institutions of the Royal Government in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency for all kinds of public service delivery related to rice production and export promotion.

Fifth- Promote domestic capacity building to export rice directly from Cambodia by encouraging every company to open up its office to buy and process rice in the country, and export it officially, while adhering to principals of fair, just and loyal competition and meeting Cambodia’s existing tax and other obligations.

To realize the above-mentioned vision, objectives and principles, the Royal Government introduced a clear, systematic and interrelated measure based on two important approaches:

A- For the short and immediate term, promoting paddy rice production to meet market demand and promote export of milled rice by shifting from the informal export of paddy rice to a formal export of milled rice. These measures include: (1) continue to invest in and expand the irrigation facilities, promote the use of water, seed, fertilizers and appropriate technologies, and provide micro-credit to rice producers; (2) encourage private sector participation to invest in paddy rice processing and export of milled rice, especially by solving the issue of shortages of credit for buying and processing paddy rice, as well as trade credit by recapitalizing state-owned financial institutions and by providing incentives to commercial banks to increase loan portfolio for agriculture, including through the development of credit guarantee schemes and risk-sharing facility and (3) coordinate and fast track rice export through improvement in procedures for export and transport facilitation and elimination of informal fees.

B-For the medium and long term, to focus on enhancing competitiveness in rice export through promotion of production technology, management of soil fertility, management of water, seed and fertilizers, organization of farmer associations, rice processing quality, physical infrastructure including roads, railways, seaports, electrical energy, land use and management, short- and long term credit as well as the trade facilitation and exploring market opportunities.

Together with above principles and measures, I would to emphasize that the Royal Government of Cambodia also lays out implementation mechanism, with clear responsibilities division. It is for all ministries/institutions to strictly, effectively and efficiently implement.

For the purpose of dissemination, the Committee on Economic and Financial Policies published and distributed the “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”. It is already in your hand. I have already spent some time to briefly describe the rationales and concepts of this Policy Document. The remaining task is to mobilize forces and support among ministries/institutions, Development Partners and relevant stakeholders to successfully implement the practical measures outlined in the Policy Document. Nevertheless, I would like to take this priceless opportunity, as Head of the Royal Government and the father-architect of this policy document, to spend some more time to bring to the attention of all ministries/institutions, DPs, and all the stakeholders the practical issues which will be faced during implementation:

First- It is important to implement the quick-win measures without delays in order to produce specific outcomes in 2010-2011. Therefore, special attention should be on the following key measures:

  1. Increase paddy rice productivity by using high yield seed and modern farming techniques;

  2. Encourage participation of the private sector in paddy rice processing and milled rice export by continuing the implementation of the Investment Law, the Law on Amendment to the Law on Financial Management 2009 and related regulations and by improving the legal framework for investment and other related regulations if necessary;

  3. Continue financing for paddy rice collection by preparing and introducing some necessary financial mechanisms, including risk sharing facilities and credit facilities that is guaranteed by the government, to make it easier for the communities, rice millers and exporters to access loans, especially from commercial banks.

  4. Enhance trade facilitation, reduce informal fees and eliminate illegal check points. The task is to immediately create a rice export facilitation mechanism, which treat milled rice export “special” and similar to the garment sector, in order to reduce informal fee and time to the maximum. In this context, I would like to express my appreciation to the General Department of Customs and Excise of the Ministry of Economy and Finance that started immediately facilitated export procedures right after my guidance at the Fifteen Government-Private Sector Forum on 27 April 2010. I would like to propose a cooperation among all relevant intuitions under the implementation mechanism/framework laid out by this Policy Document to take necessary actions for effective trade facilitation.

  5. Address the issues of standard, classification and quality according to the international standard including the strengthening of skilled institutional capacity of the Royal Government in defining the rice quality standard in Cambodia and creating the independent certification system or encouraging the private certification institutions, which are internationally well known, in order to issue the certificate of quality and standard classification that is conforming to the requirement of the importing countries.

  6. Start the diplomatic campaign to seek the opportunity to export rice to the regional and global market, especially through the process of preparing a visit of the joint committee between representatives of the public and private sector to the important rice markets in the neighboring and other regions in the world such as EU.

In fact, “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion” has set out other urgent measures with immediate results that are interrelated, which require all stakeholders to promote the successful implementation. However, I believe that the 6 measures that I have highlighted above are the “key of the key” that required further attention.

Second- the Royal Government wants to strengthen the role of the rice miller association by giving special treatment to this association like that of garment sector, including enhancing its role in seeking market access and protecting interest of farmers as well as improving processing capacity in order to increase value added from Cambodian rice export...etc. However, in order to fulfill this role as expected, the association itself must be obliged to pay special attention to its skilled capacity building in order to play a partnership role with the Royal Government and a representative of the rice exporting community as well as representatives of farmers with high efficiency.

Third- the policy document, set out by the Royal Government, has clearly defined the institutional mechanism for coordination and monitoring. However, feedbacks from private sector, who are the direct beneficiaries of this policy, would be even more important to assessing the rightfulness and success of this policy. Thus, in addition to the institutional mechanism stated in the policy document, I would like to suggest that we should use the framework of Royal Government-Private Sector Forum as an additional mechanism in order to receive feedbacks from the private sector about the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of this rice production and export promotion policy. In order to realize this objective, I would like to suggest the working group on agriculture of the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum to look for the possibility of creating a sub-group to be in charge of coordinating the implementation and monitoring the implementation of the rice production and export promotion policy with the private sector, especially connecting with the rice miller association and then constantly report to the forum according to the existing working mechanism that is in effect.

Fourth- the Royal Government has clearly understood that the rice export from Cambodia is a new issue and the experience and knowledge is still limited, that requires the capacity building for export of Cambodia to those markets. Therefore, in addition to the measure, set out in the “policy document on rice production and export promotion”, I would like to suggest the Committee for Economic and Financial Policies and the Supreme National Economic Council to cooperate with related ministries/institutions of the Royal Government and all development partners in order to manage the capacity building including internship or short training courses for field staff of the Royal Government and vendors, concerned operators of the private sector about the method to access the market, method to solve other needs of the markets as well as the preparation and implementation of the rice trade contracts...etc.

Fifth- the Royal Government appeals to all relevant stakeholders including development partners and non-governmental organizations to provide all necessary support, either financial, material/in-kind or technical assistance, to the ministries/institutions of the Royal Government, private sector operators and Cambodian farmers in order to ensure the success of the implementation of this important policy that will pricelessly contribute to the poverty reduction and enhancing the living standard of the people and sustainable development of Cambodia.

Though the current global milled rice market is highly protected, the Royal Government recognizes that Cambodia is blessed with opportunity to export milled rice in the future thanks to the increase in domestic paddy rice production and the potential in the world milled rice trade. So far, the performance of agriculture is outstanding especially in terms of productivity improvement and diversification, due to steadfast efforts of the RGC and all stakeholders including the participation of farmers. The rice production may achieve approximately 7.3 million tons in the year 2010-2011 after the remarkable increase during more than a decade. With domestic consumption approximately 3.14 million tons together with seed maintenance and loss during harvest time, the statistics indicates a rice surplus of approximately 3.3 million tons that can be processed for export.

In fact, high growth in agricultural sector will benefit most Cambodian people who are farmers with their living standard improved. Thus, the RGC is committed to promoting paddy rice production and removing all constraints to milled rice export from Cambodia. Indeed, the success of this policy will depend on actual implementation; and the task is complex and hard to achieve, yet it really requires cooperation, coordination and strong commitment especially by way of improving the leadership and management of all concerned ministries/agencies and stakeholders.

The RGC is strongly convinced that all ministries/agencies of the RGC and other stakeholders, including the private sector and development partners, and particularly Cambodian farmers across the country, will join hands in pursuing this mission to bring about development, progress, and prosperity to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

At the end, I would like to thank Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests who have participated in this important launching of the “Policy Document on Rice Production and Export Promotion”. With that, may I wish you all the best, good health, happiness in families, and success in all your duties!

Keynote Address at the Dissemination of the National Program for Sub-National Democratic Development

Phnom Penh, August 9, 2010

Excellency Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development,

Excellencies Deputy Prime Ministers, Senior Ministers, Ministers, and Members of the Royal Government, the National Assembly and the Senate

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors and Representatives of Development Partners,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure today to join in the Dissemination Ceremony of the National Program for Sub-national Democratic Development. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Excellencies, Ladies ad Gentlemen and all stakeholders, involved in this reform program, for the valuable contribution through this milestone decentralization and de-concentration policy.

We can recall that since 1993, the Royal Government has fulfilled its mandate to seek peace and national unification, and introduced an array of policies to rebuild the nation following years of chronic civil war and internal conflicts. Starting from scratch and chronic civil wars, Cambodia has gone through a rapid transition period to achieve what we see today including peace, political stability, macro-economic stability and national progress. The current peaceful, stable and safe condition is the pre-requisite for growth and future prosperity of Cambodia. With this concrete foundation, Cambodia is striving to deepen its reform programs and strengthen the national economic policies to ensure sustained growth for rapid poverty reduction and improved people’s livelihoods.

These achievements indeed stem from the firm implementation and deepening of various reform programs which also include decentralization and de-concentration reform. Along with this, as it implements this historic reform program, the Royal Government has a clear policy agenda and strategy to create a new realistic opportunity for addressing issues arising from governance reform within the framework of the national reconstruction.

In particular, after 7 years of our effort, we have made a notable achievement as the decentralization and de-concentration reform has positively changed the behavior of communal councils and people in the development of their own localities. This positive behavioral change is the core of local development and poverty reduction and plays an important role in promoting equitably sustained social welfare at the local level.

Along with this, the achievements and experiences of the commune/sangkat councils have encouraged the Royal Government to expand this sub-national level reform program attested by the adoption of Strategic Framework for Decentralization and De-Concentration Reform in June 2005. Based on this framework, the Law on the Administration of the Provinces/Municipalities and Districts/Khan was adopted in May 2008 and another historic event – the election of the provinces/municipalities and districts/khan councils took place in May 2009. Through the election and based on the Law on the Administration of the Provinces/Municipalities and Districts/Khan, we are restructuring the above administration authorities to transform them into a governance authority which acts as a unitary authority with full capacity to deliver services to local people and be the backbone for local development.

To achieve this objective, we are obliged to clear many obstacles with long-term political determination to build the provinces/ municipalities and districts/khan and strengthen commune/sangkat councils according to the principles stated in the organic law.

Moreover, the principles of the organic law require ministries/institutions to transfer appropriate responsibility and resources to sub-national level with appropriate authority to fulfill the role and manage resources to ensure sustained sub-national democratic development. The Royal Government still oversees the implementation to ensure that the local authorities fulfill their role in accordance with the constitution and national interests. Although decentralization and de-concentration aims at providing local autonomy to sub-national authorities, this does not mean they have sovereignty over their administered zones. Moreover, the implementation of decentralization and de-concentration policy does not either mean the separation between lower and higher authorities but it requires strengthened cooperation and mutual support between all levels of authorities.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to reveal the issue of local autonomy which is the core of the program to clearify some misunderstandings.

Based on the vision of the organic law, the national program is designed to support the sub-national level autonomy. There are two major causes for the support of sub-national autonomy, including:

1. Assurance of improved effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of national policies and public expenditure. That means if the sub-national levels are linked with the national level authority through an appropriate delegation of power and appropriate autonomy for formulating and implementing policies within their administered zones, sub-national authorities can do better as they are fully aware of local issues.

2. The provision of autonomy to sub-national levels can be both essential and obligatory. Apart from helping the national level authorities in implementing national policies and providing public services, they must fulfill their mandate in sub-national democratic development stated in the organic law. Sub-national authorities are able to prepare and use the budget and implement policies and programs for local development in response to opportunity and demand.

In general, providing the autonomy to the sub-national level will contribute to the use of national budget resources and attract various resources of the locality for further effective local development.

I would like to illustrate that decentralization and de-concentration has not just been done at the commune/sangkat level, but also at the whole sub-national levels. In this spirit, this reform will be complicated by not just affecting the governance institution of the sub-national level, but also deeply affecting the national institutions, that are related to the function, resources, structure, working system, including the behavior and habit of implementation at the national and sub-national levels.

Since decentralization and de-concentration is related to the national and sub-national levels and with other development partners and stakeholders, the Royal Government is required to set up a clear cut mechanism that is consistent and smooth among the other national and sub-national administrations and various stakeholders in order to strengthen joint commitment in the implementation according to the set objectives. In this connection, the Royal Government has already gained experiences since the start of reform at the communal level through creating the national committee to support the commune/sangkat and then has been changed to be called the National Committee for Decentralization and De-concentration, that is now transformed to be “the National Committee for Sub-national Democratic Development (NCDD)” that is clearly mandated in the organization law.

At the same time, due to the complication and sensitivity in the reform process, it is required to seriously prepare appropriate phases for this reform based on the foundation of coordination, discussion, consultation and transparency in order to prevent the clumsiness in the implementation. Based on this vision, under the leadership of the Royal Government, the NCDD has been preparing the national program for democratic development at the sub-national level for 10 years starting from 2010-2019, by spending almost 1.5 years to prepare the comprehensive consultation among the national ministries/institutions, sub-national administrations, development partners and civil societies.

This national program has been discussed and adopted during the cabinet session on 28 May 2010. The national program has been set up in order to achieve the vision reflected in the strategic framework for decentralization and de-concentration. Therefore, this national program for sub-national democratic development is the set of interrelated programs that consist of content and necessary process for: (1) implementation of long-term strategic framework for decentralization and de-concentration that can be adjusted as deemed necessary (2) implementation of organization law (3) defining necessary policies and strategies related to decentralization and de-concentration (4) defining and implementation of various supporting projects to support local development, capacity building, investment, public service delivery, management of natural resources and environment as well as the institutional development of the sub-national administration (5) delegation of functions from national levels to sub-national levels.

In this connection, I would like to illustrate that the success of the implementation of this national program is totally relying on the method that we all must participate as partnership in the implementation of this national program for years ahead through planning the 3 years implementation from 2011-2013. The national program and national implementation plan for the first 3 years will use the implementation strategy under the efforts made by the Royal Government with the coordination support from development partners in order to jointly achieve our reform objectives.

In this context, I would like to highlight a number of key issues that need to be urgently solved. We are now in the process of beginning phase 2 of the decentralization and de-concentration reform. We have just set up the municipal/provincial, district/khan council with new roles and responsibilities based on the framework of organic law. Therefore, we have to consider primarily on providing basic resources to those administrations by fulfilling their works because this sub-national level require resources in order to function its generally mandated roles with new accountability aiming to respond to the need of the local people. These administrations require competent officials, management system, buildings, offices and materials, means and other necessary need for implementing its mandated works required by the organic law. The Royal Government is committed to providing its limited nation budget resources in order to meet these needs and we strongly hope that various development partners will actively participate with the Royal Government in supporting the implementation of the national program and the 3 years plan for implementation.

Regarding this issue, there are 4 ministries/institutions being responsible for the implementation of this national program. The Ministry of Interior has to be responsible for transferring officials serving in the municipal/provincial and district/khan council into the new structure of these administrations and preparing a management system that ensures principles of democratic local governance and decentralization and de-concentration according to each administration along with the capacity building of officials and staffs of the sub-national levels to be truly professional. The Ministry of Economy and Finance must be responsible for preparing financial system, budget and property management of the sub-national levels according to each kind of administration whose roles and functions is to be responsible for clearly defining the power and responsibility of each of those administrations in managing and using the budget with transparency and accountability. Along with that, we have to provide training, capacity building for officials in financial and sate owned property management with efficiency and transparency. The Ministry of Planning must be responsible for preparing planning system for sub-national development that is in line with the system and structure of each sub-national level. The Secretariat of the Public Functions together with the Council for Administrative Reform must be responsible for creating laws and legal documents in managing officials of public function of the sub-national level as well as sustaining the human resource management of the sub-national levels.

In actuality, the governance reform is not just the decentralization and de-concentration, but also the coordination between decentralization and de-concentration with other reform agenda, especially the public financial management reform and public administrative reform, which are the key sectors of the national program. Regarding this issue, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Interior, Council for Administrative Reform, Secretariat of the Public Functions and other ministries/institutions related to the issue of governance must monitor, observe and ensure that the efforts of coordination have been implemented with high attention.

As I have illustrated already that NCDD has the obligation to be a direct agency of the Royal Government in ensuring the implementation of the organic law. This inter-ministry mechanism has been mandated to review the “roles, duties and responsibilities of related ministries/institutions and authorities in all levels in defining various functions delegated to the sub-national levels”.

This vital process is the core of implementing decentralization and de-concentration reform. Based on this foundation, NCDD together with other ministries must immediately inform transparent process in order to prepare and analyze their current roles and responsibilities within the framework of organic law as well as to identify appropriate function to be delegated to sub-national level. Indeed, devolution, especially with respect to public service delivery is pretty complicated process and involving all levels of administration. We not only pay attention to delegation of key functions such as functions related to basic health care or primary education, but also care and think carefully about what function suits what level of administration. At the same time, we must consider financial resource, human resource and other necessary resource for to-be-delegated functions. In order to ensure that function analysis and devolution go smoothly and will not affect regularity of public service delivery, NCDD must prepare plan for transferring functions and resources hand-in-hand with capacity of administrations who will receive those function and resources. During the course of transfer, in case of inadequate capacity, transferring institution must be responsible for delegation and capacity building for that administration in order to ensure that transferring process occurs at appropriate time.

During the process, ministries/institutions at the national level will face change in roles and responsibilities. Notwithstanding, despite delegating function and resource, respective ministries remains broadly accountable for respective sectors including policy formulation, setting national standard, controlling, making regulation and legal documents, providing counseling and support, and monitoring and evaluation of performance of council of sub-national administration with respect to efficient implementation those delegated tasks. The council of sub-national administration must be accountable to the government by conforming to provision of organic law and financial accountability by adhering to auditing and security provision of other financial affairs.

In overall, this reform gives focus to sub-national administration. We had started these tasks from commune/sangkat; and we will provide fund and capacity building to commune/sangkat councils to ensure delivery of primary service that matches the administration because they are close to the people and most people clearly understand local priority need. At the same time, we must also consider capacity development of district/city because the district/khan administration and commune/sankat administration is the core of good local governance in Cambodia. Based on the national program, provincial administration has duty to implement project with high technicality and broad benefit within ones’ jurisdiction, and to play role in monitoring, advising and building capacity of district/khan and commune/sangkat councils.

The council of sub-national administration needs obvious support for their new roles as representative of the sub-national level and as local decision maker. This support will be provided within the framework of the national program with consultation and close cooperation with the National League of Commune Council. Moreover, the National League of Commune Council shall be provided institutional capacity development and shall expand coverage and increase membership as I hope that the councils of provinces/municipalities and district/Khan will jointly establish their associations soon.

Obviously, sub-national administration must be adaptable to decentralization and de-concentration policy, organic law as well as the national program. These administrations must consider their new roles and responsibilities and participate in the discussion on decentralization and de-concentration policy and implementation of the national program. Along with that, sub-national administration must discuss and encourage participation from local partners including private sector and civil society in shaping vision and preparing strategic plan. Furthermore, that administration must be ready to take charge and carry out to-be-delegated functions. This process will hugely affect attainment of democratic development in Cambodia, and through this process sub-national administration would be able to deliver quality public service in response to local needs.

Along with that, implementing the national program requires change in behavior, mindset and way we work. Indeed, this change will be difficult for each of us and we must be ready to overcome the challenges emerging from this change. We will face shift in roles and responsibilities, obviously through the establishment of sub-national administration we will see change in those administrations for instance the governing board must be accountable to their council, while the council must be accountable to voters.

To ensure this transformation, besides capacity building, we also need transparent information dissemination, discussion, facilitation and agreement. Therefore, information dissemination is integral part of succeeding the national program in which the NCDD plays role to continue disseminating and analyzing information related to decentralization and de-concentration. We will use and draw lesson from those information as a basis for a better policy decision.

On the behalf of Royal Government of Cambodia, I am very pleased to see gender issue being identified in the national program as multi-sectoral issue. This provides excellent opportunity to promote gender equality and role of women in decision making at every levels of sub-national administration. Also, we will have chance to encourage voice of youth in local decision and promote youth cohort into future leadership at all levels of sub-national administration.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to reaffirm critical success factor for implementing the national program that is participation of ministries/institution and sub-national administration based on whole-government approach. Regarding this issue, I would like all development partners to have consensus to support the national program in facilitated manner based on program-based approach. This approach will promote facilitation, need for less report and operation cost as well as to ensure that on-going project and program is incorporated in or at least is aligned with the national program, and all intervention for sub-national administration will be included in support for the national program.

Once again, I would like to highly appreciate valuable participation of Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen in decentralization and de-concentration reform from the beginning until present. I would like to thank all development partners who have been providing full support with good will for decentralization and de-concentration reform and I would also like to thank NCDD for organizing this important dissemination ceremony.

At the end, along with the Dissemination of the National Program for Sub-national Democratic Development, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the 4 gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Address at the Closing of the 5th General Assembly of the Cambodian Red Cross

Phnom Penh, August 5th, 2010

- Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
National and International Guests,
Dear Participants!

Today I am extremely delighted and honored to participate in the closing of the “ 5th General Assembly of the Cambodian Red Cross ” which has been held for the last two days. This General Assembly, has indeed provided us with the opportunity to take stock on the achievements made during the 4th Term of Office of the Central Committee, and allowed us to review the progress and challenges faced by the core areas of the Cambodian Red Cross such as Promotion of the Fundamental Principles and Humanitarian Values, Disasters Management, Health and Care in the Community as well as Organizational Development and Resource Development, which are the key foundations for defining new directions and strategies for carrying out continued activities more effectively and greater success in the upcoming term of office. In this spirit, I strongly believe that this General Assembly has reviewed and thoroughly discussed about the work that has been implemented so far and diagnosed the root of various problems as the base for improving our action plans and identifying a clear direction for this 5th Term of Office of the Central Committee (The Governing Board) for the cause of accelerating poverty reduction, protecting human dignity and the humanitarian values the vulnerable people.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly appreciate all levels of management, officials, staffs, volunteers, and youth of the Cambodian Red Cross for putting their utmost efforts and making sacrifices in creating favorable conditions for the establishment of the Strategy 2011-2020 based on strengths, weaknesses, and past experiences withdrawn from the implementation of the Strategy 2003-2010. This work showed the consistency and unity between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Cambodian Red Cross on humanitarian activities and poverty reduction. At the same time, I would like to praise all levels of management, officials, staff, volunteers, youth of the Cambodian Red Cross, and all donors for providing firm support and close cooperation in implementing humanitarian activity under the framework of various Cambodian Red Cross’s strategic plan in its historical mission for serving our nation and people until achieving tremendous outcomes as witness today.

For instance, the stocktaking report of Lok Chumteav the President of Cambodian Red Cross has highlighted major achievements and progress of the Cambodian Red Cross which give good reflection of the leadership, and firm determination for good governance with high responsibility, transparency, and accountability step by step until having established its structure from the national, sub-national, and local levels. At the same time, the Cambodian Red Cross has many volunteers and youth as the human resource who are capable of getting together in the society to mobilize and attract forces from all walks of life to participate in the humanitarian activity.

In this sense, we can clearly highlight that the Cambodian Red Cross has overcome many challenges with firm determination in promoting the value of “culture of sharing” for the common cause of saving victims at all places, in all circumstances, without discrimination, as once said in the saying that “ where there is suffering, there is the Red Cross ”. Indeed, these meanings are in line with the RGC’s long-term vision of constantly mobilizing the whole national strength, solidarity to defend our motherland and develop the country toward prosperity and ensure equitable distribution of the fruits of growth and poverty reduction so that every citizen can live in peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the RGC, I would like to highly appreciate the deed of our respectful His Majesty Preah Korona Preah Bat Samdeh Preah Boromoneath NORODOM SIHAMONI, King of the Cambodia, for his royal patronage yesterday at the opening of the 5th General Assembly of the Cambodian Red Cross. This profound action revealed the caring heart and full support for the humanitarian activity of the Cambodian Red Cross and His Majesty' s kind intention in sharing pain and suffering of the people and vulnerable across the country. All of these actions have indeed helped to strongly promote the reputation and prestige of the Cambodian Red Cross in the national and international arena.

The success of the Cambodian Red Cross’s humanitarian mission during its 4th term of office, indeed, cannot be separated from the valuable contribution of related ministries/institutions through exchange of dialogues and honest constructive discussion on the work of Cambodian Red Cross and various recommendations for the implementation of Cambodian Red Cross action plans. This General Assembly indeed highlights contribution from related ministries/institutions and we all have unanimously approved the amendment to the Statute and the Rules of Procedure which are the principal legal document of the National Society. In general, the above amendment reflects the flexibility and actual circumstances of the Cambodian Red Cross, and complies with Cambodia’s public administrative reform. In this sense, we hope that the amendment will further strengthen and expand the association’s force in order to realize the spirit of Fundamental Principles and Humanitarian Value as stated in the vision and mission of the Cambodian Red Cross.

Along with this, the newly adopted strategy reflects the institution’s commitment as a whole and triggered its branches and sub-branches to assess priority issues occurring within their respective administrative territories, to continue improve their capacity and ability for addressing vulnerabilities, and continue institution and resource development to strengthen its force in each locality. Through this, we can see that the Cambodian Red Cross’s strategic framework, implementation framework and resource framework have been strengthened and expanded continuously to accommodate the institution’s motto that goes “doing more, doing better, reaching " .

Also, the new strategy indicates that the Cambodian Red Cross continue to draw attention from its braches and sub-branches to focus on disaster management by establishing early warning mechanism, vulnerability database management, the post disasters' recovery and the building up of community resilience. Moreover, the Cambodian Red Cross is determined to continue to improve traffic safety which is one of the man-made disasters as the rate of traffic accident still remain high, cost time, money and lives, and leave the society with disable people, orphans, widows, elders with caretakers, and other social issues. Along with this, the Cambodian Red Cross also strives to save lives and eliminate all kinds of discrimination, eliminate the use of drug and gambling that result in severe disaster for youth and the society, strengthen and expand youth force to be a core force for saving missions, and take part in the promotion of human dignity. In this spirit, I would like to encourage the Cambodian Red Cross to expand its activities even further including broader dissemination work, provision of deepened health information, and support timely life rescue mission everywhere and under all circumstances.

Based on these aspects, we can say the Cambodian Red Cross has been an active partner of the Royal Government and we have joined force to promote public awareness on accidents caused by remnants of war, to promote clean water supply capacity, and provide effective and equitable health services to the people through the expansion of disease prevention and treatment programs and maternal and infant support programs.

Moreover, the Cambodian Red Cross has joined the Royal Government in youth trainings, promotion of social morality, value of women and families, prevention of domestic violence and trafficking of women, promotion of the basic rights of children including the protection of vulnerable children such as orphans, disabled children, children in poor community through more trainings, rehabilitation and vocational trainings for vulnerable children, prevention of oppression and trafficking of children, and disaster management. These Cambodian Red Cross’s initiatives indeed respond to the actual circumstance of our society and take part in the Royal Government’s effort to accelerate poverty reduction and promotion of humanitarian value.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to show my utmost support to the members of the Central Committee newly elected by the 5th General Assembly as well as the appointed secretary general, deputy secretary general, and the treasurer. I strongly believe that all members of the Central Committee, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer, officials, volunteers and youth of the Cambodian Red Cross will continue your hard work to gain more achievements on humanitarian work and respond to disasters, especially relieve the hardship of vulnerable people across the country. Furthermore, the Royal Government will continue to provide its full support to the Cambodian Red Cross, in terms of policy, legal and supporting mechanism, material and finance, and encourage the Cambodian Red Cross to succeed in the implementation of its 2011-2020 Strategy. In the meantime, the government will continue its support in terms of policy, law, supporting mechanisms as well as equipment and budget to support and encourage the Cambodian Red Cross to successfully implement its 2011-2012 Strategy in the coming term of office as well as in the future.

At the same time, I would like to appeal to all members of central committee, board of management, staffs, volunteers and youths of the Cambodian Red Cross to continue strengthening and expanding responsibility, organizational development and resource development to secure financial sufficiency and stability of the Cambodian Red Cross for the cause of freeing our people from vulnerability, poverty, and strengthening closer relations with community of the vulnerable across the country and definitely transforming those communities into the core of the Cambodian Red Cross work.

Particularly, I would like to appeal to all relevant ministries/institutions, all levels of local authorities and all armed forces to continue paying more attention to providing reliable and effective cooperation and support for the implementation of humanitarian mission of the Cambodian Red Cross including educating, raising awareness on traffic safety, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing first aid, providing community healthcare service, saving disaster victims and so on. Moreover, we make effort to thoroughly understand beforehand vulnerability, potentially vulnerable areas, and group of vulnerable people in the territory of jurisdiction and authority, and then compile a proper data system that facilitate us in planning preventions and taking measures to compensate impact and loss of the people when the emergency and disaster situations occur. These will create a favorable condition for the Cambodian Red Cross to fully and effectively fulfill its obligations and missions, and live up to it name as a leading national association in humanitarian work, and to work across sectors to help Cambodian society, especially to help the vulnerable at local communities.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to appeal to all entities, private enterprises, civil society, NGOs and relevant communities to strengthen our solidarity built in the past so that you can participate in achieving the strategic plan that has been adopted by Cambodian Red Cross. Furthermore, we must create more opportunities for each community to learn from each other about their work experience so that they can take up good points and modify them to fit their territorial priorities in reducing disasters and promoting humanitarian basic principle and value, especially in succeeding ownership of each community.

In overall, the power of solidarity and support with active participation will consolidate into momentum and enable more favorable condition for the Cambodian Red Cross to further strenghthen capacity and capability for more comprehensive executing humanitarian mission and rescuing victims regardless of time and space.

Achievement and success that Cambodian Red Cross has made duirng made duirng 4th mandate, like those during 55 years ago, could not be decoupled from participations from Their Majesties Heroic King Father and The Queen Mother of the Khmer Nation, Honorary President of the Cambodian Red Cross and His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of of Cambodia for continuous attention to lives of the people, children, grand children, great grand children and the vulnerables at everywhere for which Their Majesties always donate Their own assets to help victims of disaster through Cambodian Red Cross.

Taking this auspicious opportunity, I would like to wish His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, Their Majesties Heroic King Father and Queen Mother of the Khmer Nation, Honorary President of the Cambodian Red Cross good health and long lives in order to remain as symbole of humanitarian power and greatr shelter for all Cambodian people, children, grand children and great grand children.

At the same time, I would like to express my deep appreciation to kind attitude and supports from Excellencies, Lok Oknhas, ladies, and gentlemen, members of great Red Cross family as well as national and international development partners, and all private sectors for providing spiritual and material support to Cambodian Red Cross for the cause of humanitarian act. Indeed, these valuable supports help reduce suffering and hardship and gradually promote safety, dignity and livelihood of our people. Power of great solidarity and culture of sharing of our people and the kind-hearted are immortally priceless.

At the end, along with closing the 5th General Assembly of the Cambodian Red Cross I would like to wish all attending Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, Lok Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests, the kind-hearted, members, volunteers and youth of Cambodian Red Cross the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Keynote Address at the Conferment Ceremony of Diplomas – the 4th and 5th Batch Bachelor Degrees

Keynote Address at the Conferment Ceremony of Diplomas – the 4th and 5th Batch Bachelor Degrees – the 6th Batch Master Degrees – the 4th Batch Master of IT Degrees (International Program) – and the 2nd Batch Doctoral Degrees for Graduates of Build Bright University

Phnom Penh, August 4th, 2010

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests,

- The Management, Lecturers, Staffs,

- Dear Students!

Today, it is my great honor and pleasure to participate once again in the conferment ceremony of Diplomas, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees to 4097 students of the Build Bright University. On behalf of the Royal Government and my own behalf, I would like to express appreciation to students who are going to graduate soon.

I think that today’s event is deeply meaningful with tremendous pride for the successful students as well as their families and society as a whole due to the fact that through the achievements we have received today it clearly shows Cambodia has increased more potential of competent human resources for socio-economic development.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate and appreciate the Build Bright University who has contributed in building and developing human resources and further upgrading our higher education sector through actively participating with high responsibility from the management, professors, lecturers, and staffs until achieving proud success.

In this framework, the Royal Government has always considered the development of human resource as the most important foundation for socio-economic development and to ensure sustainable economic growth in order to contribute to gradual poverty reduction of the people of at least 1% per year with the objective to promote growth and increase employment, enhance social morality and efficiency of public administration service in Cambodia. Base on this vision, the education sector has always been considered as the priority among all political agendas and in the national economic and social development plan. In particular, the share of national budget allocated to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has been increased every year, in spite of the impact of the global economic and financial crisis. Due to this effort, all levels of the education sector, especially undergraduate and graduate levels, have grew significantly.

As Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen already have been already aware of, to achieve sustained and prosper macro-economic development, it requires peace, political and macro-economic stability and social order. In this connection, Cambodia is now enjoying the full peace made possible by the Royal Government’s “win-win” policy. This historic event represents a great opportunity for the development of all sectors and all localities of the country, in particular, the education sector which is key to socio-economic development and assurance of competitive advantage in the face of regional and global integration.

The Royal Government understands the education is a lengthy and costly investment and requires a great deal of patience while the outcome is mainly invisible and sometimes it takes a generation until the real outcome appears. This means that our effort, apart from producing the fruit we see nowadays, is a highly potential social capital for sustainable development for future generations. In this spirit, the Royal Government regards the education as a priority and key factor for productivity and efficiency improvement so that we can successfully attain sustained development while Cambodia is facing with the storm of globalization.

Moreover, the success of human development relies on the capacity of all education institutions, especially higher education institutions as they are the source of innovation skill, i.e. “knowledge” produced through learning, thinking, practicing, experience, and conscience. Also, higher education institutions are “training centers” for developing student’s capacity, genius, credibility and professional skill, and for building a foundation network for their future life. In this context, in addition to equipping their students with both knowledge and know-how, higher education institutions must pay great attention to the rule of law, social order, code of ethics and principle of righteousness left by our ancestors to transform the students into righteous individual and good citizen after their graduation.

Along with this, in the context of market economy, the success of human development cannot be separated from the private sector’s participation. The Royal Government regards the private sector as the engine of growth. Under current circumstance, the globalization trend and liberalization policy of the education sector are producing positive outcome for Cambodia. This outcome is attested by the rising number of private education institutions and strengthened partnership with the private sector. Along with this, in spite of the impact of the global economic crisis on our annual growth, we still manage to keep employment creation at a controllable level, implying that we have addressed unemployment issue effectively and managed to lessen drawbacks on the economic foundation. This success cannot be separated from the education sector growth and good partnership between the Royal Government and the private sector. Moreover, based on experience from countries, development of all sectors rely on human capital that play a key role in addressing all issues and spread the knowledge through studies reports and academic document. Approaching the 21st century, the era of knowledge and information, the role of human capital is now more important than ever and the knowledge they posses is the most dominant determinant of growth, competing ability and competitive advantage of each nation for maximizing national interests.

Since its inception in 2000 until today, Build Bright University has been actively working with the government to develop human resource which is an indispensible element for a war-torn country like Cambodia to build and redevelop and make way forwards on long journey to development, prosperity and happiness for the nation and people. Taking this opportunity, I would like to encourage Build Bright University to continue fulfilling this mission by adhering to government strategic policy of human resource development.

At the same time, I am always optimistic that all degree awardees will become momentum that is truly equipped with knowledge, know-how, technical skill and genius as well as responsibility, professional ethics, and will become intellectual with rationality and conscience which are factors determining your success and dignity in the very near future.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to remind all degree awardees to use your knowledge in right way and at the right target in order to make something beneficial to yourself, to family and to the nation. You must remember that all works, big or small, have its own value and feature that you have to understand to build your qualification i.e. genius and skillfulness which are vehicle bringing you to desired goals. Our Khmer proverb that goes “knowing ten things is not as good as being skillful at one”. Therefore when you know something; you must really know it, and then you do not need to struggle seeking job, the job will definitely look for you. Furthermore, you are the one who are educated and intellectuals with conscience. Therefore, you do not have to expect existing jobs, but rather you should turn your knowledge into vision, creative idea to create opportunities and create employment for yourself and for others who did not have chance to receive education like you. So, transforming into an entrepreneur and successful entrepreneur in the future is the desire that the family and whole society want all of today degree awardees to make effort to succeed in the future in order to ensure dynamic participation in making socio-economy developed, affluent and prestigious like Royal Kingdom of Cambodia in Angkor era.

Before closing, once again on behalf of the government and myself, I would like to sincerely congratulate and admire all management board, staff, professors and lecturers of Build Bright University for having made effort and succeeded in human resource development mission and made contribution to development of education sector. Along with, I would like to thank and appreciate Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport as well as relevant ministries, development partners and private sector for exerting utmost effort in terms of spiritual, material and financial supports for the cause of human resource development in Cambodia.

Finally, I would like to wish all Excellencies, Lok Okhna, Lok Chum Teav, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Distinguished Guests, professors and lecturers and students four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.