Sunday, May 22, 2011

Address at the Commemoration of the 148th Anniversary of the International Red Cross

Address at the Commemoration of the 148th Anniversary of the International Red Cross - Red Crescent Day, Under the Theme of “Force of Volunteers, Effectiveness of Humanity”

Phnom Penh, May 3rd, 2011

Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Oknhas, ladies and gentlemen,
Distinguished national and international guests, dear all the participants,

Today, it is my privilege and pleasure to be in the commemoration of the 148th Anniversary of the International Red Cross - Red Crescent Day, which celebrated annually to mobilize funds from national and foreign donors to support the humanitarian activities of the Cambodia Red Cross. This is a very important event for the Cambodia Red Cross, the Royal Government as well as the people because your participation reflects the will, determination and concerted effort in promoting socio-economic development, in particular for the cause of humanity through providing relief assistance to our people during hardship and natural catastrophes. The event also attracts interest and attention on the global challenges faced by the the International Red Cross - Red Crescent Movement so that we can jointly rescue victims and vulnerable groups timely and effectively. The task is indeed a big contribution to the Royal Government’s effort to reduce poverty incidence and relieve the hardship of the people.

During the last decade, the Cambodia Red Cross has been fulfilling its role effectively, including the response to and prevention of disasters, prevention of disease outbreak such as HIV/AIDS, dengue fever and bird flu, public health education, community sanitation work, promotion of the principles and value of humanity, provision of first aid service in the community, provision of clean water, provision of early warning alert of flood, drought and storm, and provision of education on UXOs and traffic law for reducing mortality rate and so forth. Moreover, the Cambodia Red Cross has acted as the pubic administration’s agency in providing aids to the people regardless of their races or political belief.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely praise H.E. Dr. Bun Rany and wives of other members of the Royal Government who always pay visit to our armed forces, especially remote and island-based armed units to provide relief assistance to our soldiers and their families and to ignite their patriotism to protect national sovereignty. In particular, the management, all levels of officials, and volunteers of the Cambodia Red Cross have recently paid visit to and provided aids to frontline soldiers and war refugees.

This shows the Cambodia Red Cross is playing an important role in socio-economic development, poverty reduction and promotion of dignity and value of human.

Taking this opportunity, I personally and on behalf of the Royal Government would like to praise the management, all levels of officials and volunteers of the Cambodia Red Cross, donors, national and international organizations for the mental and physical effort, material and financial assistance, technical support and close cooperation to support humanitarian activities of the Cambodia Red Cross. All of your contribution reflect the “Culture of Sharing” during hardship. These meaningful activities have further encouraged the Cambodia Red Cross to continue its duties and mission more actively and effectively to rescue those affected by disasters to promote social wellbeing and poverty reduction.

In general, we acknowledge the work coverage remain very limited which hinders the capacity to provide relief assistance to all victims. We also understand that more human, material and financial resources are needed to allow the Cambodia Red Cross fulfill its duties more comprehensively and timely. However, although there are complicated challenges, Cambodian Red Cross has overcome and tried to implement its duties without hesitation by continuing to attract the participation from national and international institutions, national association of cooperation partners, especially national and international donors inside and outside the country.

We have been aware that the world today is facing the crisis in economics, politics, armed conflict, religious war, and the growth of demand of natural resources in order to complement the socio-economic development for the countries in the region and the world, especially the challenges of climate change and global warming, which are the new topics for the whole world. In this context, I realize that huge natural calamities such as flood, drought, storms, season change resulting in irregular raining, high temperature and the spread of the epidemics may occur incidentally in the future. These issues will cause threat to security, safety, social order and livelihood of the human being in the world, and the impacts of those disasters may have effects on the people and territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia as well, which will become heavy burden for the whole society.

Through this, I strongly believe that Cambodian Red Cross, which is a strongly leading National Association Organization in humanitarian acts will continue to play role as a significant agency of the Royal Government on humanitarian sector in order to help solve those issues for the interest of the nation, people as well as upgrading the dignity, virtue, value of humankind and participate in the process of poverty reduction of our people. In this spirit, under the wise leadership, high sacrifice, management ability and transparent and efficient use of financial resources of H.E. Dr. the President of CRC, I strongly believe that Cambodian Red Cross will double its efforts in strengthening and developing its institution to be more comprehensive and gain more support from the national and international institutions, development partners, national and international donors as the people have always provided trust and confidence so far. At the same time, on behalf of the Royal Government, I am truly proud and would like to continue supporting without any conditions to the activities of the Cambodian Red Cross-Red Crescent, in which there are the inclusion of volunteer forces, Cambodian Red Cross Youths in the branches of 24 cities and provinces in order to serve the activity of humanitarian acts such as educational dissemination program, preparedness and responsiveness to the disasters, education program to promote traffic safety, health maintenance, and service provision on primary aid kits according to the topic put up for this year. In this spirit, the Royal Government will be highly capable in managing the activities timely in order to response to saving the lives of our people in order to contribute to achieving poverty reduction, development, progress, prosperity, harmonization and happiness for the whole society. In practicality, in this situation, I believe that Cambodian Red Cross will truly pursue its priorities to be firm, deep and more comprehensive in order to continue the humanitarian mission in saving human being as stated in the slogan as “The Red Cross is where there are hardships”.

In front of us now, we have clearly understood that the whole world is now worried about the adverse impact from the climate change and spread of the epidemics, which are the root causes of severe effects on the living of the people and there are universal challenges for socio-economic development. In general, we can not get away from the impact that is the result of unexpected incidents, therefore, we have to be on alert and higher attention with greater efforts are to be paid by all related institutions. In this sense, I would like to propose the National Committee for Disaster Management and the Cambodian Red Cross to jointly cooperate more actively in order to be prepared for protection and prevention of the issues that may threaten safety and security of our people and humankind as a whole. Through this, we have noted that we are one step ahead in terms of preparation for any incidents by not just focusing on emergency response, but also provide higher possibility to better understand the situation and estimation of any impacts.

Within the framework of this work, I would like to express my full support to the Cambodia Red Cross, who has selected the topic of “Volunteer Forces, Humanitarian Efficiency” this year, which is the key message for the campaign of the World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day, and this spirit has been incorporated into the 4 year development plan 2011-2014 by adapting to the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 in order to be used as a map and indicators in defining common objectives for implementation. Moreover, I would like to highly value the Red Cross volunteers, who are the driving forces that cannot be absent, meaning that “Volunteers are the Backbone of the Community”. Within these, we must continue to expand protective measures for volunteers and find weaknesses or barriers in regulations and guidance relating to responsibilities, safety insurance and health by paying special attention to voluntary emergency in order to comply with key messages of international federation of the world red cross-red crescent and other partners, who have appealed to other governments in the world. In this regard, I would like to further call for our people in all level, ministries/institutions, local authorities, related organizations/agencies to make continued efforts to actively cooperate to transform topic of “volunteer- effective humanitarian” to the practical implementation to settle daunting challenges in the future. Overall, I am still of the view that the humanitarian activities of Cambodia Red Cross have significantly contribute to the society and are the encouragement mechanism consistent to its vision and strategic action plan. I would like to reaffirm that the Royal government will continuously support all endless humanitarian activities of the Cambodia Red Cross to rescue victims and fulfill other humanitarian activities.

Once again, taking this opportunity, I would like to put up a number of more recommendations for the Cambodia Red Cross and other related ministries/institutions to effectively implement their tasks and responsibilities as the following:

First, the National Committee for Disaster Management, which is a credible and focus point for multi-disasters, must continue its close cooperation with ministries/institutions, local authorities and development partners, especially the Cambodia Red Cross to be ready to respond to the urgent need of our people when disaster is occurred.

Second, The municipal, provincial, district and communal authorities must work closely and constantly with the people at their localities in order to be well aware about vulnerability and set up reliable database system in order to make it easy to prevent and take action against impacts and destructions such as houses, properties, crops and people lives when the calamities happen. The local authorities, in case of the occurrence of natural disaster, must continue its close cooperation with Cambodian Red Cross to get the real needs of the local people done and take immediate and effective action for the vulnerable.

Third, all related ministries/institutions and local authorities in all level must pay further attention to closely working with and supporting the Cambodian Red Cross to implement its humanitarian mission such as education and dissemination of the information about traffic safety, HIV, basic primary support, community health service delivery, and danger of mine.

Fourth, the Cambodian Red Cross, the National Committee for Disaster Management and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology must work closely with each other to study adverse impacts of climate change, resulting drought and serious flood, to gather in advance information about natural disasters’ possible and calculate its impacts to disseminate those information to our people, especially to those living in the rural area.

Fifth, the Cambodian Red Cross must continue to strengthen and expand its voluntary forces and youth as well as increase the provision of training to them to prepare themselves ready to be dynamic forces and are capable to contribute to humanitarian activities with the Cambodian Red Cross in consistent with the proverb of “youth and volunteer are dynamic forces of the red cross Red Crescent”.

Sixth, related ministries/institutions, especially the Ministry of Interior must continue its close cooperation and deepen relation with the Cambodian Red Cross to enhance its propaganda and dissemination of land traffic law to let our citizen be well aware of the law and jointly implement it with effectiveness to reduce the rate of traffic victims and dead.

I would like to advice the conference to consider my above mentioned recommendations to realize new tasks and responsibilities of the Cambodian Red Cross in the future. My sharing Idea and sense of moral responsibility would help to contribute to the conference, the management, officials, volunteer and youth of the Cambodian Red Cross to be included in its direction, task and action plan to continue implementing its task with quality, effectiveness and higher productivity to contribute to fruitful development of our society.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the management, staff and voluntary youth of the Cambodian Red Cross and related ministries/institutions, who have made greatest efforts to in this humanitarian work for the victims in Cambodia and are suitable for receiving trust from our citizens and victims. I believe that we will continue implementing these valuable activities and are determined at the utmost to continuously fulfilling its mission with highly special attention and moral responsibility to make sure that the Cambodian Red Cross has sufficient and stable finance, to build a society, where the principle and value of human being, happiness, peace and prosperity are guaranteed.

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal all ministries/institutions, local authorities at all level to continue to pay serious attention to and ensure the livelihood of Cambodian refugees, who escape from armed conflicts along the Cambodia-Thai border, causing by Thai invasion and fire to Cambodia’s territory, forcing thousands of civilian, mostly poor farmers to flee from their residents and damaged property and house.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Excellencies, Lork Oukgna, ladies and gentlemen, national and international guests, charity, especially the management and officials of the Cambodia Red Cross the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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