Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellency Lee Han-Gon, Korean Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Excellency Kim Suk Hyun, President of KOICA,
Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our Compatriots and Dear Students,
It is my great pleasure and honor to join the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea H.E. Ly Han Guon, representing donor side, and all the civil servants, distinguished national and international guests in greeting all our beloved compatriots on this occasion inaugurating this achievement of the rehabilitation of Ta Mouk Water Storage in Ponea Leu District of Kandal Province. This project is a grant from the government and people of KOR to the Royal Government and people of Cambodia. Indeed, all these achievements including damps, water storage, canals and many other facilities testify the long-lasting and close friendship between Cambodia and Korea.
The government of the Republic of Korea has been providing substantial assistance to Cambodia continually, both in term of encouragement and financial support. In particular, this rehabilitation project would indeed contribute to reducing the poverty among our people in this region, as envisaged in the Royal Government’s policy and Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency in Cambodia.
At the same time, I would like to indicate that the success of this project has started from the spirit of responsibility of the management and staff of the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology, and authorities at all levels as well as that of concerned institutions, who have exerted their best efforts and ability including the cooperation with our friendly countries and international organizations.
Cambodia is an agrarian country with more than 2 million hectares of cultivated land, while the agriculture contributes some 40% of GDP and about 80% of population are farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for food production in close cooperation with other concerned ministries and institutions, such as especially the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology and Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction, and with funding and technical support from concerned ministries and local authorities as well as from national and international organizations.
As indicated in the Rectangular Strategy, water resource policy represents an important part of the RGC’s comprehensive program focusing on establishing the foundation for protection, management and use of inland and marine water resource, including biodiversity, on the basis of sustainability and equity thus effectively serving the public interest. Within this framework, the implementation of the Royal Government’s water policy will focus on the expansion of fully irrigated coverage from 20 to 24% of all rice fields in 5 years from 2002 to 2007, by strengthening local capacity and ownership through the establishment and strengthening the capacity of water user farmer communities. Thus, the Royal Government has focused on the establishment of universal and hydro information management system involving all areas with Mekong basin, as well as monitoring and managing all the existing irrigation systems to be reliable and sustainable that will help providing background information for the formulation of strategic plan and sustainable and equitable development of water resource, which cover all the irrigation systems, hydroelectricity, supply of clean water, management of floods, drought and the environment.
Recently as well as for long time ago, droughts and floods are the main naturally-caused disaster in Cambodia and in some regions which cause tremendous damages and loss of lives to humans, animals and plants, and to the social and economic infrastructure. Moreover, the tidal wave “tsunami” recently hit Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Thailand and some other countries has caused great damage and loss of lives and properties of people in those countries. Indeed, the tsunami phenomenon is not the greatest of such events recorded in the history, but its impacts could be the worst ever that more and more people living in the region are facing the consequence of this disaster. Actually, there are now hundred thousands people died and millions are left without shelters.
As we all know, Cambodia is a country with plenty of water sources especially during monsoon season. However, the capacity to absorb the benefit from water sources in order to serve the livelihoods of rural population for agricultural productive use is still limited. At the same time, series of problems such as constraints to water flows along rivers and their tributaries entailing a negative affect and great damage to those water sources. It implies that we face problems during the time of scarcity of water and during flooding as well. In this context, the Royal Government gives priority on formulating and implementing the land policy focusing on allocation, management and administration of land, based on effective implementation of Land Law. Furthermore, to facilitate plantation including the government puts high emphasis on public investment in terms of water policy by strengthening the use of inland and underground water sources, this include rehabilitation, construction and development of an appropriate irrigation system. In fact, project for developing water storages, big and small water canals are now undergoing according to the plan, but these works require time and resources.
According to the report of H.E. Lim Keanho, this Ta Mouk Water Storage has the capacity to cover 1,800 hectares during dry season, and costs around USD 1,369,000, which is a grant from the people and government of Korea. Moreover, if there is a good management of water sources put in place, we could use this water storage for other purposes like to support livelihoods of the surrounding population by providing access to clean water.
This new achievement is belong to us all, especially the people in Ponea Leu district would receive direct benefit from the project. Because of that, I urge all people that living in this area to take ownership in managing and maintaining this water storage by providing close cooperation with all level of authorities and relevant agencies. Thus it is indeed testify that the Royal Government has strong commitment to and greatest care of food security that is to ensure all its every citizens to have adequate nutrition which is key to guaranteeing safety for their active livelihoods and harmony.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my compliments and appreciations to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, engendering corps of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, local authorities at all levels as well as national and international institutions and organizations, especially the KOICA and KOWACO, for their best efforts in realizing this rehabilitation project of Tamouk Water Storage.
In closing, may I ask H.E. Ambassador Lee Han-Gon to convey our sincere welcome and deepest thanks, from the RGC and people of Cambodia, to the government and people of the Republic of Korea, who always stand close to us in supporting the development of Cambodia’s physical infrastructure and its economy. Finally, I would like wish all of you, Your Venerable Monks, Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of Buddhist blessing. Now, may I officially declare the opening of this Ta Mouk Water Storage here in Ponea Leu, Kandal province!