Your Royal Highness,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Participants of the General Assembly,
Today, I am highly honored and have a pleasure to join Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and Red Cross’s volunteers in the closing of the Cambodia Red Cross General Assembly that have been organized for the last two days in order to review and take-stock activities during its third term. I believe that this two days assembly not only has taken stock of past performances, but also help us to find direction and resolution to challenges that we have faced during previous term and also come up with the actions, credible measures and clear vision for future.
At the outset, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to profoundly welcome Her Majesty, the Honorary President, for her participation and presiding over in the opening of this General Assembly, this represents her devotion and full support to the humanitarian activities of the Cambodian Red Cross and sincere care for those who are vulnerable and in great need.
This assembly shows an institutional progress of the Cambodian Red Cross, the increase of its branch offices in various provinces and cities, higher number of staffs and volunteers, expansion of humanitarian activities, capacity improvement in developing programs and implementing various projects, strengthening ownership and good governance, transparency in fund management, increase in resources for Read Cross operation and strengthening cooperation between Cambodian Red Cross and other development partners.
I would like to thank Her Excellency, Madam President of the Cambodian Red Cross, for the report on outcomes of assembly and overall achievements of the Cambodian Red Cross during its third term. The report has clearly presented the progress made by the Cambodian Red Cross and highlighted the physical and spiritual efforts in serving our people in particular and nation in general, which have attained recognition in the eyes of national and international communes.
At the same time, I would like to highly appreciate the expansion of Cambodia Red Cross service operation, which not only in terms of increase in new projects and programs, but also it extension of coverage to some numbers of communes that authorities have yet reached out.
In this spirit, we can emphasize the fact that Cambodian Red Cross has worked hard to overcome challenges and committed to reach out to those affected by war, conflicts, natural disasters and pandemic diseases in different areas without any discrimination. The past results have shown active actions of Cambodian Red Cross consistent with the old saying: “Where There Is Suffering, There Is the Red Cross”
Moreover, the Cambodian Red Cross has been recognized worldwide and become a role model for other countries. For instance, the statutes of the Cambodian Red Cross, which were set to be compliance with the international statutes standard and were adopted by the General Assembly of the National Community on the 12th of June 2000, have been adopted as the Red Cross’s model by the Statutes Review Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent for other nations that have not made any amendment on their statutes. This is in fact a pride of the Cambodian Red Cross as well as the Royal Government of Cambodia and all its citizens who have started from bare hands until achieving the recognition by the international community as the role model.
I would like to express my warmest congratulation for the bright and outstanding achievement of the Cambodian Red Cross’s General Assembly. In only two days, the assembly has successfully achieved many important outcomes, including the agreement on the amendment of statutes, compositions, elections, the central committee election, the establishment of branches, standing candidates the Central Committee and some legal procedures which have proven to be the necessary base for the Cambodian Red Cross to be even more motivated in implementing its work and aiming at strengthening its basic foundation. At the same time, I would also like to appreciate the spirit of discussion in this 4th General Assembly which was done on direct dialogues and constructive criticisms regarding the works that have been carried out by the Cambodian Red Cross so far as well as providing useful recommendations for the future implementation.
Meanwhile, I would like to highly evaluate members of the 3rd Term Central Committee of the Cambodian Red Cross who have tried their bests in (1) strengthening the process of capacity building at the central, branch and community levels, (2) increasing the financial independency and ensuring the sustainability of the Cambodian Red Cross, (3) improving the living standards and well-beings of the most vulnerable people, (4) improving the health and maintaining the social status of the most vulnerable groups of citizen, and (5) continuing to strengthen internal relationship as well as national and international relationship in order to ensure good reputation and strong confidence on the Cambodian red Cross to further receive continuous national and international’s supports.
I have observed that during this 3rd term there are four more new programs in addition to the existing ones, including the programs on (1) Flood Early-Warning System, (2) Children’s Health Integration, (3) Response to Human Trafficking and (4) Traffic Safety and Gender Equality. I would like to support these wonderful initiatives because these programs indeed respond well to the real needs of our society. As Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen already knew that the prolonged war which was ended by the end of the 90’s century has destroyed the country’s infrastructure and idea to its roots. Therefore, regardless of its sizes, any program that responds to the rebuilding and producing new ideas for the country is in fact a good and most needed program for our today’s society. For example, the program on traffic safety does not only help to improve our citizen’s understanding regarding traffic related issues but it also helps to reduce the numbers of road accidents which could result in the lost of assets and even human lives.
Indeed, the successes that we have achieved during this 3rd term can not be made possible without the contribution from the highly respectful His Majesty the King-Father and Her Majesty the Queen-Mother, the honorary of the Cambodia Red Cross as well as His Majesty King Norodom Sihakmony, who have shown tremendous concerns on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable people living in all places across the country by contributing their personal wealth to save those poor people through the Cambodia Red Cross.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I would like to thank Their Majesties for the contribution and wish His Majesty the King-Father and Her Majesty the Queen-Mother, the honorary of the Cambodia Red Cross, to have good health and longevity in order to be the symbol of the Power of Humanity and shade for all Cambodian people. I also would like to wish His Majesty King Norodom Sihakmony good health and intelligence.
At the same time, I would also like to express my appreciation for the supports from Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen who are members of the great family of the Cambodian Red Cross as well as all national and international development partners who have provided both spiritual and material supports for the Cambodian Red Cross. These aids have significantly contributed to the easing of people’s suffering and improving their living standards. It also shows the unifying force and a culture of sharing of our people which proves to be priceless in the development of the country.
Currently, our country has gained peace and our people have full freedom in movement all over the country. Moreover, the economy has also had resilient growth, especially in the last four years. The economic growth has been stronger than expected while the economic growth in 2005 reached 13. 4 percent despite facing with higher oil prices in the world market, threats of terrorism and bird-flu pandemic. This spectacular economic growth has greatly contributed to poverty reduction with the people under poverty line is now at 34.7 percent.
Even we have been successful in both the social and economic sectors, this does not mean that we have liberated all of our people from poverty. We still face a lot of challenges, especially the remaining poverty, which demands special attention from the government to help those people out of poverty. The remaining problems are not easy and the government alone is not able to solve the problem. So far, Cambodian Red Cross has played a key role in addressing these challenges and contributed to active implementation of the Rectangular Strategy and National Strategic Development Plan. The Cambodian Red Cross has become an effective partner with the Royal Government in every circumstance.
On behalf of the government I would like to express full support for the newly elected members of the Central Committee as well as the appointed Accountant General, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General. The Royal Government will continue to support the efforts of the Cambodian Red Cross in the cause of rebuilding the country and alleviating suffering of our people and the successful implementation of the Cambodian Red Cross Strategic Plan in this new mandate as well as in the future.
At the same time, I would like to appeal to the members of the Central Committee, who will be elected in the near future, as well as the management and all members of the Cambodian Red Cross to continue this noble activity, to strive further in the cause of liberating our people from poverty, to continuously show strong commitment and maintain relationship with vulnerable communities and to make those communities as the core of the Cambodian Red Cross’s works.
Taking this opportunity, I would also call upon all related institutions, government, private sector, civil society, NGOs, and communities to maintain and strengthen the solidarity in order to achieve the objective set by the Cambodian Red Cross. The participation from the people as well as other stakeholders is also one of the keys in achieving the objective and long term implementation. The people need to be encouraged to participate in the discussion and decision-making in changing their behavior and activity in their daily lives. We have to understand the needs of those vulnerable people, listen to what they want and to what they hope for in order to find a solution for them on time as well as making the Cambodian Red Cross as their reliance.
In order to be successful in the humanitarian aid operation, each community must learn from each other’s experiences and adjust according to condition and priority in each region to reduce the impacts of disasters. Sharing experiences will reduce risk and allow communities in identifying vulnerability for immediate solution. The vulnerable people have to participate in making plan, implementation and operation. Moreover, I would like to request the 4th term Central Committee to focus on employ more volunteers by looking for a mechanism to attract those volunteer to help the Cambodian Red Cross’s works. The trained volunteers play an important role in providing services and support because they are a part of the communities and know almost every thing about their communities. We have to make them understand that their works do not only just help the poor but these works are also humanitarian and noble. No work is better than helping a person to be able to stand in the society and there is nothing happier than seeing a person who has been helped to be able to make their own living. These volunteers do not only help the Cambodian Red Cross’s works but they are also the sources of information and know causes of the problems. They are the one who arrive first at the scene because they are local people.
Before ending, I would like to wish Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen who are present here with five gems of Buddhist blessing and I would like to declare the 4th Cambodian Red Cross General Assembly close from now on.