Samdech, Your Royal Highnesses,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today I have great pleasure and honor to join you all, Samdech, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in the closing of Conference on Natural Resource Management for Poverty Reduction. I was informed that this conference had provided an important opportunity for exchanges of views and reaching new solutions for natural resource management that will definitely contributes to the poverty reduction in Cambodia while all of us are jointly preserving natural environment and managing ecological systems.
Today gathering testifies the will, commitment and attention of both legislative and executive bodies, the National Assembly and the Royal Government, in jointly managing and preserving natural resource which is the fundamental and most valuable resource of Cambodia. You may aware that Cambodia is historically well known for her tremendously richness in natural resource which spanned over across country. The rich and favorable natural environment had made Cambodia to become a “Golden Land” and helped this old nation to build its glorious economic, social and cultural civilization during the Great Angkor era.
Today, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I sincerely appreciate all the leaders as well as the members of the National Assembly and thank the UNDP’s Support Project on Capacity Development for Cambodia Parliament for initiating this Conference on Natural Resource Management for Poverty Reduction, which is in conjunction with the RGC’s efforts to implement the Rectangular Strategy that focuses on all key priority areas. The strategy adopts good governance as its core, and the Royal Government focuses its attention on sustainable and effective management of natural resource, fighting corruption, legal and judiciary reform, public administration reform, reform of armed forces, land reform, ensuring peace, political stability and public order.
The implementation of these measures is important for the protection and preservation of natural resource and environment because the natural resource is an unavoidable service for sustainable poverty reduction and socio-economic development. I know that this conference has provided us with the opportunity to review the achievements so far on the management, preservation and use of our natural resource, as well as to identify new approaches and measures for the management of natural resource in Cambodia to be sustainable so that it can better help reducing the poverty. It is an important movement in raising awareness among our population and civil servants at al levels on a sustainable ways of managing our natural resource.
Cambodia has a natural resource system which includes different ecosystems such as Tonle Sap, Cardamom Mountains and Mekong River, Northern and Eastern highlands. These ecosystems mainly provide shelters for fauna and flora and other biodiversities and it is generally recognized that their good management is fundamentally important for sustainable development of the country. The rich natural resource in the Cambodia’s ecosystems, if well and effectively managed, are believed to contribute not only to sustainable environment but also to poverty reduction and realizing the MDGs.
The RGC’s vision, in this third term, is to join hands together to protect and preserve all the natural resource because of its great value that we all shall dare to dream and believe that we can make it! With this vision, I hope we all will further strive to implement and succeed on the management and protection of natural resource and ecosystems at community as well as regional and national levels, aiming at strengthening the process of sustainable environment development and transforming these areas into safe and beautiful national resorts of the region and the world. Indeed, the government upholds full responsibility and must ensure successful achievement of the above objectives. But this is a complicated task which is difficult to be taken by any individual, an institution or a country alone. With all it efforts, the RGC has strengthened and enhanced activities related to natural resource management ranging from establishing regulatory system, infrastructure development, administrative authorities and institutions as well as other committees in order to jointly coordinate with ministries/institutions, United Nations agencies, international organizations, NGOs and international community to preserve, prevent and intervene in matters that ate related to devastation of natural resources.
More attention should be accorded from now onward on effective natural resource management of the ecosystems in the aforementioned areas, which are Tonlé Sap, Mekong river, inundated forest, Cardamom Mountains, highlands in the northern and eastern parts of the country. It is imperative to have an integrated management plan in order to ensure that each ecological area contributes to the social and economic development along with good environment conservation. For this, each ecological area has to have its respective vision in view of direct development, management and conservation objectives. It is important that causes of devastation of ecological systems have been resolved and appropriately uprooted. Community participation, empowerment and family livelihood development by all means are the life and death matter in enhancing poverty reduction along with the preservation of natural resource, ecological system and environment. Monitoring and control of changes in ecological system, effective coordination and interaction between stakeholders are key element in effective management of natural resource in ecological system for poverty reduction objective. As for now, I appeal to our compatriots to consider and put more attention on effective management and sustainability of our natural resource through linking harvesting and conservation of natural resource as well as preservation and enhancing environment quality.
In this context, I propose to our people to participate in preserving our natural resource for the continuity of our community. We have to avoid using exploitation tools that are devastating to natural resource and environment such as fishing with mosquito net, electrified methods, poison and baby fish catching. Using these kinds of tools and means will lead to overall devastation of fishery resource which is our main source of foods. Deforestation and encroachment of state domains must be prevented. Preservation of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reforestation activities has to be gradually continued.
Thus, all specialized and concerned institutions must encourage the establishment of conserved natural resource community and areas. Moreover, in view to ensure continuity of natural resource for our next generations, we must pay more attention on implementing programs on the preservation and enhancement of natural resource. Dissemination of this process needs to aim at enhancing preservation to become an important and interesting activity through all kinds of dissemination programs and media system such as radio, television, newspaper and magazine etc. Besides, rules, regulations and circulars must comprehensively disseminate and effectively implement as soon as possible in order to protect legal rights and responsibility of the community.
This is to ensure that objectives of the management and sustainable use of natural resource and environment are met. From this point, all concerned institutions, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water Resource Management and Ministry of Rural Development must jointly enhance preservation and exploitation techniques of natural resource starting from household level upward. Indeed, achieving better results from effective and sustainable management in natural resource and environment requires participation and more coordination among state and concerned institutions ranging from judicial police, armed forces, authorities, NGOs, civil society, private sector and other milieus at community, national and regional levels as well as people who rely their livelihood on natural resource. The Royal Government continues to depend on contribution and support from legislative bodies both the National Assembly and Senate in their capacity of supreme national institutions that represent the interest of our people. These institutions also monitor, provide information and recommendations on preservation matters to the RGC that is the policy implementing body.
Lately, the management and preservation of natural resource have been separate tasks and activities by different concerned institutions. From now on, these tasks and activities must be determined in a clear vision and objectives and must be put through increased inter-institutional cooperation on all areas of management, protection, nurturing, conservation, utilization and promotion of natural resources, environment and ecosystems in order to reduce negative impacts on environment which could affect the efforts in poverty reduction and socio-economic development.
Taking this opportunity, I would also like to highlight some of the priority and key points that must be implemented:
1) Must further promote, strengthen and broaden the work of communication network and exchange of information based on basic cooperation and facilitation at the community, national, regional, and international levels in timely information dissemination. Promote the development of partnership with related institutions, multinational organization agencies, international organization, international financial institutions, and all NGOs on managerial works of natural resources and environment.
2) Increase willingness, determination and responsibility of high ranking government officials and provincial, district and commune authorities and communities. Here, good governance at all levels must require special determination and implementation.
3) Must clearly invest the three types of resources including human resource, budget, and equipments on managerial works of natural resources, environment and ecology system by firstly adopting the mixed culture of reservation and equal proportion of natural resources utilization and all development efforts required the inclusion of management, protection, nurturing, utilization and quality enhancement of natural resources, environment and ecology system.
4) The main objective is that each community must be protected and properly prepared by giving legal right and authority to be independent on the works of nurturing, protection, and the extraction of benefits from natural resources and environment. Help to build capacity and provide opportunities for farmers in managing, nurturing, protecting and using natural resources through special and separated ways according to the region. Educates and provides understanding publicly to the community are important parts of compliment for those communities whose lives depends on natural resources.
5)Prepare special and priority plans for improving, protecting, nurturing and the conservation of the four ecology regions above. Must join together to stop the violation, destruction and the use of natural resources which are illegal and not comply with the technical aspects.
Taking this opportunity, I would like here to make an early warning for those individuals who always collude with one another to violate the law by taking any opportunity to encroach forest lands secretly, grab the land that belongs to the government, take farmers’ land, and destroy the forest and conduct illegal fishing. More importantly, this warning is for those officials who use their power and authority to violate the law for their personal interest and for their alliances.
Now, it is time to stop this before people lose their patience. I have warned that if this continues, there will be some kind of land revolution by people someday. However, I would like to make it clear that the government won’t just stand by and do nothing and let a land revolution event to occur before it has laid out proper efforts to combat it. I hope that those individuals would understand the situations and consider my difficulty, the difficulty of the government, as well as that of the people across the country. I would like to call for an end to these issues today while we still have the chance to discuss about it.
Before coming to the end, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for leaders, members of the RGC, members of Senate and Assembly, government officials, authorities at all levels, all the citizens, aid agencies, UNDP, international organizations, NGOs, social-civil society who have contributed their supports, both technically and financially, to the managerial works, nurturing, and development of natural resource and environment in Cambodia as well as to the preparation of this National Conference on Natural Resource Management in order to reduce poverty which just has been completed with success. I would like also to appeal to donor countries, multinational organization agencies, international financial institutions, international organizations, and all the NGOs to further actively participate in order to ensure managerial activity, nurturing, and the development of natural resources and environment in all development works based on the conscious of high responsibility and good governance.
Finally, on the eve of upcoming New Year 2006, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to wishSamdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen a success in your noble duty as well as happiness, and safety in this coming happy event.