Minister for Water Resources
Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia
Chairman of the MRC Council for 2007/2008
On the auspicious occasion of the
5th April 2008, Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA
Respected Venerable Monks
Excellencies Representative from Cambodian Line Ministries
H.E. Mr. Shinohara Katsuhiro Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia
Excellencies and Distinguished MRC-JC Members,
Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the MRC Council, I am pleased and honoured to welcome the gathered honourable ministers and secretaries of state, honourable ambassadors, distinguished MRC-JC members, the MRCS Chief Executive Officer, distinguished guests from different organisations and ministries, and officers of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, to an event today that is symbolic of the regional cooperation and of the spirit of our Mekong family. We are gathered here to formally open this splendid new facility in coincidence with the celebration of the Mekong Day, the Signing Date of the Agreement on Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin on 05 April 1995.
By today the date of 5th April 2008, the MRC is now 13 years old in its operational work. After its 10th Anniversary, organized in Vientiane on 05 April 2005, the Mekong Day has been celebrating yearly at the MRC Secretariat and in the member country(ies) aiming at reflecting further the strengthening of the Mekong Cooperation and our immortal Mekong Spirit among all of the MRC Member countries working together toward the common goal on how best to manage and develop the Mekong’s resources today while safeguarding the right of future generations to enjoy them tomorrow.
For that purpose, the date of 5th April 2008 was therefore scheduled for the Opening Ceremony of the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre and in a same vein to mark the 13th Anniversary of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Every year the Lower Mekong Basin experiences flooding which has the potential to adversely affect economic and human activity, often claiming lives and causing damage to important infrastructure, human settlements and essential services. Whilst the regular flood cycle is a source of livelihoods, severe floods can have a devastating effect on efforts to improve economic development and reduce poverty.
The MRC member countries are committed to managing the natural resources of the basin in a sustainable manner and for their mutual benefit. They recognise the need to conserve the beneficial economic and environmental impacts of floods. By adopting the principles defined in the FMMP Strategy, they have agreed to an integrated approach to management and mitigation of the Mekong River floods.
The establishment of the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre is one of the most crucial components of the MRC Flood Management and Mitigation Programme and will play a vital role in the future success of the programme. While the Centre is an integral part of the MRC Secretariat, it has unique characteristics in terms of location, programme implementation arrangements, and management.
The Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre received
legal status in 2005 through the signing of the Agreement
Concerning the Operations of the Regional Flood Management
and Mitigation Centre, between the Royal Government of Cambodia
and the Mekong River Commission. This document allowed the
Flood Management and Mitigation Programme to develop the
Centre and created the conditions for funding by the Government
of Japan for construction of this new building.
In order to guarantee smooth operations and success in programme implementation, there is need for an appropriate building of good design and with sufficient space to allow the different programme components to perform their regular and development functions. As reported by His Excellency Mr Veng Sakhon, since mid-2005 the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, and other concerned authorities have been working closely with the MRC Secretariat to make sure the building of this Centre was properly built and equipped with the necessary utilities. The construction and furnishing work has now been completed and is ready for official inauguration today.
The official opening of this Centre building represents another milestone in the history of our cooperation in the Lower Mekong Basin. It demonstrates the solidarity and will of the four riparian countries to continue their cooperation in the development and preservation of water and its related natural resources in the Mekong River Basin.
Based on available funding at this moment, the implementation
phase for identified Flood Management and Mitigation Programme
projects will end in 2010. The financial requirement for
managing floods and mitigating their effects in the Lower
Mekong Basin is higher than the funds currently available.
It is hoped that activities at this Centre will attract
more financial support from donors to extend present projects
and for future projects.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to take this special occasion, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and personally, to extend my profound gratitude and thanks to the Government of Japan for its kind financial support to the MRC through Cambodia for the construction of this building. My sincere thanks and appreciation also go to the governments of the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America, and Denmark, and to the European Union and the Asian Development Bank for their generous assistance in turning the Flood Management and Mitigation Strategy into reality.
To conclude, I would like to express my appreciation to the gathered Excellencies, ambassadors, distinguished MRC-Joint Committee members and guests for joining us for this important event. My sincere thanks also go to the officials of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and the MRC Secretariat for their great dedication and effort in making today’s Opening Ceremony possible. I would like to bless the Respected Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen with the five Buddhist wishes.
On this auspicious occasion I would like to declare the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre building officially Open.