Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests!
Today it is my pleasure to attend the third celebration of the “National Day of Clean City” under the theme “Success for Clean City, Success for Tourism” and the 1st Clean City Award Giving Ceremony at this moment. Truly, the clean city movement contest has contributed to fruitful development of tourism sector and responded to the needs and progress of our society.
Taking this opportunity, I wish to express my appreciation on and highly value the effort of the management and all level officials of the Ministry of Tourism, National Committee for Clean City Assessment, sub-national administration, working groups for clean city assessment for the cooperation to introduce the clean city movement contest and making the first achievement. This initiative has been stem out from collective intelligence and team spirit to work together to seeks out new measures for continued implementation of tourism development so that it is consistent with the goals of other sectors in order to promote the efficiency and contribute to the development of national tourism sector.
At the same time, I wish to congratulate and commend the Clean City Award winners on their vigorous efforts to making plan for the development of city which has achieved such a historic success for the first time in the Kingdom of Cambodia. In this spirit, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), I wish to fully support and encourage the management and all levels of officials of Ministry of Tourism, National Committee for Clean City Assessment and sub-national administration to continue their efforts in making further successes and making new achievements in order to accelerate economic growth and socio-economic development in a sustainable and responsible manner with equitable distribution of fruits of growth.
In retrospect, during the 1960s we saw many unforgettable achievements of Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaudh who had transformed Phnom Penh capital into a beautiful city in South East Asia, making other countries to take Phnom Penh as the exemplar of their city development. However, unfortunately the Pol Pot genocide regime turned Cambodia to a zero point in which the Phnom Penh capital was totally destroyed.
After January 7 Victory Day 1979, Cambodia had been steadily rehabilitated and rebuilt; however, the development of Phnom Penh was limited as part of our resources had been used to prevent the return of the Khmer Rouge regime. In late 1990s, Cambodia achieved full peace, political stability, security, safety and public order, leading to the development of the city and the improvement of people livelihoods. Currently, Phnom Penh is the political and economic hub of the nation, turning from an abandoned city with rubble and destruction to a modern city with development in all sectors and becoming an important catalyst to boost economic growth in an efficient manner. In fact, these days Phnom Penh is the hub of industry, service, tourism and construction, which are core sectors of the economic growth. In this connection, the development of Phnom Penh capital will make a significant contribution to tourism and other sectors, especially the development of Cambodia’s economy.
Overall, tourism has significantly contributed to economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and the reduction of global warming. Also, tourism plays pivotal role in supporting the regional integration. In this sense, the RGC regards the sector as Green Gold, and tourism sector development focuses on the potential of “Culture and Nature” . On this basis, in 2014 Cambodia received 4.5 million of internatinal tourist arrivals with the annual growth of 7%, generating over USD 3,000 million of income for the economy. In 2015, international tourists are projected to reach 5 million and expected to reach 7.5 million in 2020, and that will generate a total revenue of about USD 5,000 million and create around 800,000 jobs. All these will provide endless benefits to Cambodia and create a new history in our tourism sector.
In addition, Cambodia’s tourism campaigns, “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” and the “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service” movement contest, have greatly helped to promote Cambodia’s reputation in the region and the world. In this respect, Cambodia is proud of being the initiator in setting standard for clean city for which ASEAN has commended. In addition, ASEAN has developed the Cambodia’s clean city standard along with other ASEAN tourism stadndards, making them become the standards for ASEAN clean tourism. Indeed, these standards have been officially adopted by the ASEAN tourism ministers at the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting at the ASEAN Tourism Forum that was held in January 2015 in Myanmar.
On the other hand, along with this remarkable progress annual demographic growth around 1% to 1.5% together with the issues of growing urban areas, urban disorder and vehicle traffics, and increasing disposal of wastes resulted from the increasing demand of the people require thorough management and rigorous measures. Thus, in order to respond to environment protection, management and conservation of cities in a sustainable manner, the RGC has introduced a competitive movement “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service” and holds the Celebration of the National Day of Clean City. These initiatives emphasize the efforts of joint cooperation from all relevant stakeholders, including public sector, and private sector, citizens, students, youths, and national and international guests who can take part in the environmental and social protection and enhance the attractiveness of Phnom Penh capital and other cities in the country.
Undoubtedly, by introducing the competitive movement of Clean City, the RGC is determined to continuing making all cities become clean cities, green cities, cities with sustainable development, and tourism cities. All these are the key factor that would not only ensure sustainable growth of tourist arrivals in Cambodia, but also ensure the participation in the competitive movement of ASEAN Clean Tourist City which is to be implemented in 2016.
By and large, in order to develop our cities to become a pillar of tourism sector in the spirit of “Success for Clean City, Success for Tourism”, there are two important things that need to be developed in parallel i.e. enhancing attractiveness and liveliness of the city, and ensuring the sustainability of the city development. In this spirit, the RGC hold the view that in order to make the competitive movement of clean city contribute to the tourism development and to turn a tourism city into a clean city and a green city with sustainable development, we must base our development on four fundamental principles: (1). Continue encouraging investment and developing urban infrastructure in an innovative manner and provide warm living environment for our citizens and tourists (2). Enhance public education and awareness (3). Modernize and use technology in the management and development of cities and (4). Encourage partnerships and engagements from relevant stakeholders.
In this regard, to successfully and efficiently carry out all these tasks, I would like to take this opportunity to provide some recommendation as follows:
1st: We have to work together for “Clean Cambodia-Green Cambodia”. To this end, I would like to request the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, National Committee on Clean City Evaluation, relevant institutions and ministries, and sub-national administration to develop “Volunteering Program in Community for Clean Environment” to provide more opportunities to our citizens to take part in conserving clean environment in their localities. Furthermore, I would like to also request the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to include the educational programs on environment in general education in order to make them understand the importance of clean environment and promote the movement of campus cleaning in each school at least once a week. These have to be done uniformly throughout the countries through “Clean Cambodia Campaign”, and I would like to request the Ministry of Environment, National Committee on Clean City Assessment, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Information, private sectors, and the medias to increase programs and activities to help raise the awareness of the public on the value of clean environment through all means. I would like to take this opportunity to highly value the efforts made by the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Economy and Finance and related Ministries in creating “Environmental Hygiene” fund, and I would like to request sub-national administration, especially at the city and provincial levels, to use this fund efficiently to take part in the contest in order to achieve wining scores at the second contest.
2nd. In order to promote reuse, reduce and recycle especially plastic wastes, I would like to encourage investment in recycling of plastic wastes resulted from domestic consumption. In parallel, I strongly support the improvement of garbage collection services in a more efficient manner, including reviewing the responsibility of garbage collection companies that have singed contract with the RGC in to collect and transport garbage.
3rd. To ensure continued support for clean city movement contest, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Environment, National Committee on Clean City Assessment, the Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia must cooperate and work together to continue their campaign for “Youth and Clean City” in order to more widely raise public awareness on environment, clean hygiene and waste management in areas like markets, factories, academic institutes, urban places and encourage the public figures such as master of ceremonies, actors, actresses and athletics to act as “Goodwill Ambassadors on Clean City and Environment”. Moreover, I would like to support the annual organization of the For the Love of Nature program for students that is aimed to make them understand and develop their love for cleanliness and greenness since childhood. This will enhance their willingness to support and carry out the programs introduced by the RGC more actively toward clean and green environment, encourage officials and personnel to take part in annual trees planting program in areas like tourist resorts, tourist communities or other appropriate places that are regarded as “Tourist Garden”.
4th. For the cause of tourism development in each city, the sub-national administrations must cooperate with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and relevant ministries-institutions in preparation of your city’s identity with distinguished features based on unique characteristics of your area such as culture, history and architecture and so on. In addition, we must to strive to create new tourist products, regularly organize high standard cultural performances for tourists, organize attractive night markets and develop other tourist oriented events and pay high attention to the enhancement of healthy food at restaurants, food courts, markets and public places. On top of that, I would like to introduce a new campaign for “Khmer Home” to homestay services in every city in order to provide opportunities to tourists to stay with our Cambodian people, allowing them to learn about culture and tradition and be familiar with local lifestyles.
5th. Along with the robust growth and development of all sectors in Cambodia, I would like to request mayors new cities, especially satellite cities to embrace the concept of “Clean and Green City” by taking into account of friendly environmental aspects. At the same time, I also call on all mayors and governors of all cities and districts to focus their attention on the safety of pedestrians, in particular of tourists. In this regard, the municipality must make more concerted efforts to increase more public bus lines and expand the distance of each line with the aim to reducing traveling costs of our people and expand outreach of tourists.
Generally, the aforementioned efforts and activities will contribute to achieving “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service”, which does not only contribute tourism development but also transform Cambodia to become attractive tourist destination with competitive advantages through provision of a warm hospitality to tourists of all races and for all types of market in both cultural and natural tourism.
I believe that the clean city movement contest will help enhance and strengthen “Good Governance”, which will be reflected through transparency, competency and efficiency of decentralization and de-concentration of sub-national administration. I also have a deep conviction that every city in Cambodia will become attractive tourist destinations that offer the warm hospitality to tourists and in turn improve living standards of local people. This interaction will transform Cambodia to become an attractive green tourist destination at present and in the future, thus enabling Cambodia to gain reputation and prestige on the international stage. In this spirit, we have to actively and vigorously organize contest for the clean city movement. It is true that transformation of every city in the Kingdom of Cambodia into a clean and green city will face all sorts of challenges, but we must overcome those challenges though it requires time, new initiatives and leadership capacity of the leaders, especially mayors and governor of municipality-provinces, cities and districts in management and development, and active engagement of all citizens and relevant partners.
I, once again, would like to appeal to all people, ministries-institutions, every level of authority, in particular sub-national administration, private sector, development partners and relevant partners to provide strong supports to promoting clean city movement contest more widely in order to contribute to the development of green economy in Cambodia, promote healthier and better living environment for our people in every city, and continue strengthening and expanding socio-economic development more vigorously in a sustainable fashion.
Before ending, I would like to request all cities-districts that are the award winners today to continue their efforts in making their respective cities cleaner and more attractive in order to meet the standards of clean city indicators, and “3 Rumdols Winners” in order to prepare themselves to compete and win the award from ASEAN Clean Tourist City Contest in 2016, as now the Kingdom of Cambodia is taking a lead in setting the “Standard of ASEAN Clean Tourist City”.
Finally, along with the Celebration of the National Day of Clean City 2015 and Clean City Award Giving Ceremony for 2015-2018, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, and distinguished national and international guests the four Gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength./.