Ladies and Gentlemen,
My warmest greetings to you all,
I am very pleased and honored to join you this afternoon, to help bring to a close this 20th Conference of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (CAFEO-20). This is another historic day for the Kingdom of Cambodia, which is the youngest member of the ASEAN. We are honored to host, for the very first time, the 20th Conference of the AFEO.
In behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I wish to congratulate and sincerely appreciate the Council of Ministers, the Engineering Institution of Cambodia (EIC) and the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (AFEO) for organizing this important conference successfully. To take this opportunity, I would like to express my deep appreciation to all of you,- the members and the representatives of the AFEO and other international engineering organizations, for your participation in this conference.
This conference signifies improved and strengthened relationships within the ASEAN framework, which is aimed to enhance goodwill, understanding, cooperation and exchange of experiences and concepts within the engineering profession. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I warmly welcome and highly appreciate the conference’s theme “Engineering for the Alleviation of Poverty”. Thus, the theme has clearly indicated that the poverty is beyond the national boundaries, it does not remain only a national responsibility but also it becomes an important issue of globalization.
Poverty reduction and sustainable development can be thought of as the two sides of a coin or medal and they are the compliments to each other, but not the substitutes. The two processes require broad participation from all stakeholders;- from the governments and the civil society nationally and internationally. You all may aware that recently the heads of states and governments representing rich and poor countries have met in Mexico to discuss ways to financing the development with the prime focus on narrowing the gap in the living standard of people around the world. In addition, during the time we are discussing here, the World Summit on Sustainable Development is going on in Johannesburg of South Africa to find the solution to the concerns of the world – the poverty. Thus, what the ASEAN engineers have raised in this conference is the most important and up-to-minute issue of our time.
So far, the Royal Government of Cambodia has placed poverty reduction policy at the core of our national development plans. The government is approaching the strategy by setting out and implements a policy mix, combining increased foreign direct investment, improved market access, international environmental cooperation, multilateral technical and financial assistance from global institutions, meaningful debt reduction, improved governance, institution and capacity building and so on and so forth. It is aimed at simultaneously coordinating development among the different sectors.
You all may know that in order to realize these objectives, the Royal Government has initiated the “Triangle Strategy”, which is built on three main objectives:
- Ensure and maintain the peace, stability and the security for the nation and its people;
- Integrate Cambodia into international community and normalize Cambodia’s relationships with international development and finance institutions; and
- Promote sustainable socio-economic development through the intensive implementation of reforms in key areas including demobilization, public administration reform, judiciary and legal strengthening as well as economic and financial reforms.
Note that these wide-ranging reforms include strict measures aimed at improving the management of our natural resources – the forests and fisheries; of our public finance and state assets, strengthening the banking and financial sector, management of land, environmental protection and ultimately the improvement of social welfare.
I am proud to inform you all today that due to hard work and strong commitment during the past three years, we have notably achieved considerable progress. Peace, security, stability, national and territorial unification have been restored for the first time in the past four centuries. Cambodia has become a full and equal member of the international community, especially of the ASEAN. This made the ASEAN-10 vision come true.
Now, we are playing an active role in the ASEAN and in other regional and sub-regional organizations such as the Great Mekong Sub-region. Favoring by our Triangle Strategy’s success, we move forward to accelerate the reforms at home. As a result, we have achieved an averaged growth of about 7% annually during the last three years. The inflation rate remains low around zero in the three subsequent years. These achievements have been made, while the world and regional economy has gone through the recession and uncertainty period.
Recently, the Royal Government has adopted its Second Five Year Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2000-2005. The SEDP is comprehensive, and guides our development activities in all the sectors of the economy according to our motto: “poverty reduction through higher economic growth and environmentally sound and social equity”.
It is my conviction that the human resource development is vital not only to the national development but also to the regional integration and cooperation. This is why HRD has played an important role in the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). The IAI is the program adopted by ASEAN’s leaders as the principal instrument for narrowing the development gap between ASEAN’s older and newer members. The program has four components – infrastructure, information and communications technology, regional economic integration, and human resource development
In short, poverty reduction, sustainable development and human development policies are interlinked as they are designed to achieve common objectives; – improve the living standard and well-being of the people.
To take this opportunity, I wish to have some comments on three important points that the conference has discussed during the last three days. Those are the establishment of the ASEAN Engineering Register Committee, Regional Training Center and the awarding system of honorary engineer titles for their contribution, interest and skills in engineering.
The recognition of professional skills among state members signifies a truly equal partnership. There is indeed no such absolute equality. Nevertheless, with our joined efforts the gap will be narrowed down that the equity and justice will be strengthened. To this end, the Royal Government of Cambodia has authorized the establishment of an independent committee for granting engineering qualification certificates, aimed at guaranteeing the competency and professional ethics in the engineering profession.
Thus, I congratulate and sincerely appreciate the EIC who has been implementing the national principles of professional engineers very well. I hope that the Regional Committee for ASEAN Engineering Register, which was just established by this conference, will be an important framework for recognition of engineering skills among member states of ASEAN. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I wish to state my full support for this rightful solution.
In fact, all the measures set forth by this conference are rational conception responding to those efforts, which is aimed at achieving regional integration and development through improved cooperation and participation of all stakeholders. Furthermore, those decisions have proved to us all that the role of civil society is important. The civil society is a development partner of the government in building each nation and society in the region toward prosperity, – free of hunger, poverty and diseases.
Once again, I wish to thank our guests from the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, the EU and Australia for participation in this conference. This participation is the sign of progress in the liberalization of relationship within the engineering profession. I consider this as a responsible decision in the efforts to bring changes to the society for the better. The conference theme on the alleviation of poverty is a universal problem that is required to solve together.
You all may know of the recent history of Cambodia. The country plunged into a desperate situation over the last three decades. Actually, the dawn of the new century has indeed seen the take off point of the Cambodia’s economy. This nation has realized full peace, for the first time in its history, on its own. Now, the country is moving forward and strictly adheres to the principles of national reconciliation, national unification, democracy, respect for human right and the free market. We are moving forward with caution. Any mistake that leads to confrontation would put the country in danger and we all are to be held responsible for the eventually negative consequences of this situation.
In this difficult quest for progress, the building up of the alliance aimed at strengthening the cooperation such as the AFEO is an encouraging and useful activity. For the Kingdom of Cambodia, this network is an opportunity to promote development and poverty reduction. As we know, there is no such the sectors, – agriculture, transport and telecommunication, power supply, human resource development, the labor intensive and export oriented industry including the tourism; where there are no engineers playing important and leading role.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Board of Directors of the AFEO for honoring me the title of “Honorary Engineer” of this organization. For acknowledgement of your accomplishments, I would declare the following awards:
- One Career First Class Medal to the President of the AFEO for his substantial contribution to the region;
- Six Career First Class Medals and three Second Class Medals to members of the EIC’s Board of Directors for their contribution to the successful achievements of the EIC;
- Nine Sahak Meitrey Medal to the Presidents of the engineering organizations of the AFEO member states for their support to the EIC.
- Two Sahak Meitrey Medal to the ASEAN Engineering Register (AER) for their efforts to promote mutual recognition of engineer skills in the region.
In closing, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I would like to give all of you the five gems of Buddhist wishes.