Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, and National and International Distinguished Guests!
Today, I am pleased to attend the official launching of the “Movement of Clean City Contest”, which is one of the important events in the Kingdom. This contest will significantly contribute to the required development of tourism sector. In this sense, on behalf of the government and the clean city evaluation committee, I would like to give my full support to and further encourage the management and all officials of the Ministry of Tourism to successfully carry on your duties and accomplish new achievements in order to contribute to economic growth and socio economics development.
To proceed with the movement, we have to take into account the concept of development and conservation, which are fundamental principle for sustainable development of the tourism sector. We also need to incorporate five key concepts in this movement: (1) conserve and improve cultural and natural resource, where is critical for our tourism sector; (2) promote equity among relevant beneficiary, increase economic benefit, reduce adverse effects of tourism sector on the economy, culture and environment; (3) respect the value of each community; (4) share good experiences with each region to enhance tourists’ satisfaction and promote word-of-mouth information and revisit trip; and (5) maintain the quality of heritage and all resources in order to support long term productivity and sustainability for the next generation.
Cambodia has now enjoyed fully peace, political stability, social order and development of all sectors. We have sustained the recovery of our economy in the form of V-shape after suffered from the pressure of the global economic recession. Despite that, growth for 2011 registered at around 7%. The Gross Domestic Product increased to USD 13,000 million and GDP per capita increased to USD 909 dollar. Although massive flood severely damaged the agriculture sector, timely and effective policy intervention of the government maintained growth at 3.3% in 2011, resulting 2012 rice surplus of 4 million tons equivalent to milled rice of 2.58 million tons.
Tourism sector also registered remarkable growth, with an increase of tourists’ arrival into the country by 15%, equivalent to 2,881,862 persons in 2011. Despite this, the World and Cambodia tourism sector is facing challenges, which are spillover effects of remaining uncertainty of global economy and one following the other natural disasters such as melting ice in Pole area, Tsunami, flood, and wind storm due to adverse impact of climate change. In response to these phenomena, environmental protection would partially contribute to mitigate global warming and air pollution caused by irresponsible human activities.
The World has paid great attention to city management and conservation based on sustainable principles because we are aware that population has crowded in towns and cities, where are forecasted that two third of total population will reside in the cities and area surrounded the cities by 2050 and then they need to consume energy of 60% and release CO2 of 80% in the world. Therefore, we have to take into high consideration of sound management in order to realize the concept of “More with Less”. The world also has to pay great attention to Eco-City for the purpose of highly effective use of natural resource. In this regard, the contest movement on Clean City Contest is organized in order to enhance responsible spirit among relevant partners, including public organizations, tourism operation agencies, tourists and our compatriots to effectively address the challenges. This means that we have to develop the Kingdom of Cambodia to become a beautiful country which is more attractive and environmentally protective as well as a country that help reduce the source of global warming.
To make this contest highly effective the RGC has decided to established the National Committee for Clean City Evaluation, with the role and responsibility to monitor, implement, advice and consult with cities/khans with the aim to promote and sustain the their charming, hygiene, and environment and to transform those urban areas into a warm living areas with socio-economic development base on a common standard in accordance with the sustainable and responsible development principles. In order to realize these principles we have adopted the implementation of such “Clean City Contest” being organized today.
While we enhance the competitiveness of Cambodia’s tourism sector, “Clean City Contest” will contribute to accelerate the development of the government’s core strategy, which has been laid down in the updated national strategic development strategy 2009 – 2013, to further improve socio-economic development. The Rectangular strategies have laid down four key strategies:
First, Promoting the development of all form of infrastructures such as roads, bridges, clean water system, schools, and hospital etc. In this regard, the payment of DBST or concrete at least 25% is put as a standard indicator to the cities applied for the contest, providing support to the Government policy as mentioned that road system is key driver of economic growth and economic vein for connecting all parts of the nation to feed and support Cambodia economy, aiming at integrating internally, regionally and globally;
Second, Strengthening social security and safety by maintaining stability and social order and preventing drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, in particular women and children, which additional policy intervention for “safe village-commune” of the government;
Third, Strengthening quality of public service and tourism sector such as the enhancement of public health service and healthy food at restaurants, food stores, and market as well as public place. Tourism service and increasing tourism educational institution, parks and referral hospitals to meet the need of the people, aimed at improving public well fare, in particular children to become stronger in physical body, spirit and knowledge as well as improve the quality of tourism to provide warmness, trust and pleasure to tourists;
Forth, Participating in green economic development by shaping direction and forming other action plans of sub-national administration at the level of town/khan consistent with green development approach and principle of sustainable and responsible development;
Fifth, Taking part in integrating Cambodia into the regional and the world through the search for preventive and adaptive measures for the problems of climate change. Truly, the standard of the “clean city” is a new legal framework for Cambodia’; and this standard has been unanimously accepted ASEAN and used as a model for a basis in the preparation of the standard for ASEAN Clean Tourist City.
In this spirit, I firmly believe the clean city contest held once every three-year will become a good opportunity for Cambodia in making her city to become a green tourist destination with high quality and be part of the development of Green Economy in Cambodia for the prevention of climate change, in particular contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Along with this, I am of the view that in order for this movement to be active, dynamic and vigorous we need ensure that the winning-city will be appropriately rewarded in return. In this regard, the winning-city of the clean city contest movement will be rewarded as follows (1) receiving a certificate as an encouragement for the maintenance and promotion of city’s environmental standard and beauty, which is an honor for the winning-city (2) promoting the reputation and superiority of the city to show to tourists and stakeholders, in particular investors, national and international organizations. All these praiseworthy results will contribute to promoting better livelihoods of people with good and clean social environment in the cities and rural areas. This will further strengthen the attraction of tourism sector because tourism sector not only depends on tourism products but also on the sustainability and quality of the environment and public services as well.
In general, the clean city contest is an is a key mechanism for responding to the climate change problem, in short, it effectively contributes to building a “Green Economy” in Cambodia while tourism sector is regarded as a priority sector playing a role as “Green Gold“ that contributes to economic growth and the distribution of the growth with equity through creating and increasing jobs, generating direct and indirect incomes for the people, promoting on-site export, contributing to reducing the poverty and mitigating the source of the global warming.
Right now, in order to make the clean city contest movement become an effective catalyst contributing to promoting cities (both old ones and new ones) to be “Clean Cities” of “Cambodia: the Kingdom of Wonder”, winning-cities must be cities that have good environment and sanitation, and good order together with sufficient supporting infrastructure providing warmth and good places for people living in the cities and providing good and attractive sightseeing for tourists.
Taking this great opportunity, in order to be part of the clean city contest movement, I would like to impose some key recommendations that strengthen the management and the development of city with sustainability, effectiveness and responsible. These include as follows:
1st. Because clean city is a key component in contributing to the promotion of good governance, the National Committee for Clean City Assessment need to prepare a plan for national policy and prepare a clean city in order to use as a basis for the management and development of clean city by including all sectors such as urban planning, environment, tourism, security, safety, and public order based on close cooperation among stakeholders both at national and local levels, national and international organizations as well as people for the management and development of cities with sustainability, in short we need to adhere to the concept of “Clean City for Us All, We All Are for Clean City.”
2nd. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Constructions and sub-national administrations need to cooperate with relevant ministries, institutions, and authorities to prepare or to finish the study on the Master Plan for Land Management, and Urban Land Management Planning and Development as soon as possible in order to use as a basis for ensuring the effectiveness, sustainability, balance and harmony in developing and conserving cities.
3rd. The sub-national administrations need to cooperate with relevant ministries and institutions to think about how to make air quality in the cities better through considering the constructions of walking paths, bicycle lanes, exercising fields for people, and transport means that are environmentally friendly, in particular the use of public buses in order to reduce the consumption of petroleum or the use electric public buses as such with the aim to reduce the pollution in the air that can harm the health and livelihood of the people and the visits of the tourists in cities. In parallel, we need to think about how to promote the design and decoration of public transports so that they are consistent with the identity of the cities and tourism attractions.
4th. Hard and soft wastes remains big problems that sub-national administrations need to pay great attention on through increasing the dissemination of knowledge to people on how to separate trashes into different types and throwing them into different bins by sorting them into papers, plastics, bottles and other chemical residues, and encouraging the collection of trashes with technical standard as well as thinking about the storage capacity and processing as well. Along with this, there is a need to promote a “Clean city is a city that has no flying trashed plastic bags in the air” campaign, and this objective needs to be achieved by 2015 in all cities of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Besides, there needs to be an encouragement on the use of eco-bags in markets and business centers. In addition, there is a need to improve the cleanliness, the look and hygiene of public toilets.
5th. There is a need to increase an adequate size of green zone in each city by promoting tree-planting campaigns in the city under the slogan of “Tree-Planting Starting from You “or “One Tourist, One Tree-Planting”. In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism, the National Committee of Clean City Assessment and sub-national administrations in cooperation with the relevant ministries, institutions, private sector, national and international organizations need to prepare mechanisms and relevant legal frameworks to use as a basis supporting these campaigns to go smoothly, successfully with continuity, in particular focus on creating Green Zone meeting the clean city standard.
6th. There is a need to focus on strengthening and expanding tourism endowment such as market business center, tourism information center, and entertainment center for tourists etc. The Ministry of Tourism and sub-national administrations need to cooperate with relevant ministries and institutions in the preparation of the plan for tourism development in each city in order to use as a compass for promoting sustainable tourism development and increasing tourism attractions in your cities so that it is in line current trends such as creating night markets and tourist walking areas… etc.
7th. At the same time, security and safety of tourists and people are a necessity that need to be focused upon, in short we all need to continue effective implementations of “Safe Village-Commune” Policy of the Royal Government. For that, we also need to pay great attention on the indicators on the rate of traffic accidents. In order enhance our dignity and safety, law implementing and responsible authorities in the cities need to ensure the effectiveness of crime preventions and crackdowns, and continue the efforts in the expansion and quick delivery of your services, standing by 24 hours/ a day in order to receive requests from tourists such as services on security and emergency and so on.
8th. Sub-national administrations need to cooperate with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and relevant ministries and institutions in the preparation of your city’s identity with distinguished features based on unique characteristics of your areas such as culture, history, and architecture and so on, in the cause of tourism development for each city.
9th. Encourage the sub-national administrations to continue implementing counterpart projects (50% plus 50%) in the construction of roads in the city (asphalt or concrete) which is a component of the clean city in order to facilitate the living and business of the people and tourists.
10th. For new cities such as Krong Bavet, Krong Poi Pet, Krong Suong, Khan Posenchey and other satellite cities which generally are not so populated, and the infrastructure is not well developed, by allocating 20% of total land for green city development at the first stage is appropriate, because new cities have better opportunity in preparing their land use plan than old cities, because new cities have abundant unused land. However, the construction of infrastructure must be consistent with the architecture of other buildings to ensure the beauty of cities.
11th. At the same time, cities at coastal areas must be developed into attractive tourism destination in order to live up to its name as “Cambodia’s Bay: The Rising Star of the Southwest”. In this sense, governors of provinces and cities at coastal areas, The National Committee for Management and Development of Coastal Areas, relevant ministries-institutions and citizens must carry out the government’s decree on the development of Cambodia coastal areas in order to ensure that our bay is beautiful, and connected to good infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and other infrastructures along the bay, which make those cities stand out and live up to their names as member cities of The Most Beautiful Bay in the World club.
12th. Each city must increase advertisement about tourism and about their cities by strengthening and expanding the cooperation with provinces/cities of other countries all over the world, by advertising through any means about Cambodian tourism “Cambodia: The Kingdom of Wonders”, about their cities as clean cities, clean resorts with good services for hosting cultural, art, natural, historical and traditional events, and so on. Moreover, each city must promote local tourism as well in order to attract visitors from abroad.
Once again, I still strongly believe that Clean City Contest Movement will promote “Good Governance” and reflect the transparency and efficiency of decentralization and de-concentration effort of the sub-national government and I certainly hope that all cities will become tourism destinations that provide warmness and welfare to the people in order to enable Cambodia at the present and in the future to turn into attractive Green Tourism Destinations and build Cambodia’s prestige on the international arena. The Ministry of Tourism and relevant institutions must continue to more actively, vibrantly, and regularly promote the Clean City Contest Movement.
Before ending, I would like to appeal to all people, ministries-agencies, all levels of local authority, especially the sub-national administration, private sector, development partners, all stakeholders to support and promote Clean City Movement actively and widely for the cause of promoting the development of Green Economy in Cambodia and promoting a harmonious living atmosphere and socio-economic activities in the cities of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia.
All candidate cities must fill in the contest forms and strictly follow the plan, programs, and schedule as set by the National Evaluation Committee for Clean City in order to ensure that this contest is being conducted carefully, responsibly and efficiently.
At the end, along with official launching of the Movement of Clean City Contest, I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen with the 4 Gems of Buddhist Blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.