Ouk Rabun, Minister of Rural Development of Cambodia, attended the 2021 Global Rural Development Forum in Beijing, on October 19, 2021.
Here is the full text of his speech at the forum:
Excellency Ladies and Gentlemen!
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I have the honor to extend my appreciation to the “The National Rural Revitalization Administration of the People’s Republic of China” for inviting me to join this important Forum. I am pleased that we are able to hold this event via video conference amidst the global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I strongly believe that, today’s Global Rural Development Forum is giving us a great chance to share experiences, challenges and opportunities of rural development in terms of policies and practices in the context of Covid-19 Pandemic. We are all now making efforts not only to mitigate the consequences of COVID 19 on poverty reduction but also to ensure a post-pandemic socio-economic recovery through partnership and collaboration on promoting global poverty reduction.
Poverty elimination is not a simple task. We need to understand it causes, which is complex and multi-dimensional. Therefore, we need an effective, efficient and holistic strategy and policy. Globally, we have made progress to reduce poverty, especially tacking extreme poverty. However, we need to do a lot more to eliminate it, especially with the context of Covid -19 Pandemic.
I would like to take this opportunity to share briefly of our country’s experiences, including the challenges, mitigation strategy, the mandate of the Ministry of Rural Development and China contribution in rural development.
Before the pandemic, Cambodia had made a highly significant achievement in poverty reduction and rural development. The Government’s record of sound macroeconomic management is impressive with an average GDP growth over 7% between 2015 – 2019. The poverty line fell drastically from 47.8 percent in 2007 to less than 10%.
However, the pandemic is threatening the impressive poverty reduction over the last two decades. Many of these near poor are now at risk of fall back to below the official poverty line, mostly for those who are lived in rural areas. Covid – 19 affecting us several sectors especially services, industry and manufacturing.
With the wise leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen Prime Minister, Cambodia has been implementing a comprehensive strategy, covering the health measures and socio-economy.
Firstly, to mitigate with Covid -19, Cambodia has identified vaccination as a key strategic measure combined with three other measures including, timely prevention and detection, strengthening capacity for treatment and ensuring active participation from all citizens.
As a result, Cambodia has become a country with a high vaccination rate and is steadily achieving the herd immunity as infections and death rate have been declining significantly. Until now, almost all of our citizen has been vaccinated. I would like to take this opportunity to thank to all countries that provided us the vaccine, especially China.
Secondly, concerning the socio-economy, for the short-term strategy, the Royal Government of Cambodia has already introduced several rounds of intervention measures to help stabilize businesses and livelihood of the poeple especially workers, poor families and those who are most vulnerable including our rural population. Government also has also provided cash delivery to the poor and expanded the Cash for Work Program to provide job opportunity to rehabilitate rural infrastructure.
In order to achieve our long-term vision of becoming upper middle - income country by 2030 and high - income country by 2050, Cambodia will unwaveringly and actively continue implementing open economic policy through devoting a greater deal of efforts on linking and integrating of all sectors into regional and global economy, speeding up structural reforms as well as upgrading institutional capacity and human resources.
Rural Development is one of the integral parts of country development. The Royal Government of Cambodia has established the Ministry of Rural Development in 1993 demonstrates the Government’s dedication to rural development. The two main goals of rural development are, first to improve the living conditions of the rural community and second to enhance standard of living of the rural household by encouraging and facilitating economic self-sufficiency and using multi-sectoral and integrated approach.
To improve the living conditions, we are providing rural infrastructure and primary health care services including rural roads, bridges and other structure, rural people are now having better access to social services, particularly health center, schools, pagoda etc. and rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene services.
To enhance the standards of living, we are improving rural economic activities through connectivity, skills development, rural credit provision, entrepreneurship to diversify rural economic activities to promote the income generation of rural people and addressing equity issues. Rural road networks connectivity contributes substantially to rural economic activities. It provides the connection from the point of production distributing to the consumption and also bring goods and products to the rural communities.
To be able to achieve the above goals, we use multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholders and integrated approach to response to the people’s need. Good governance, democratic development and other principles are enabling us to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of rural development programs. We also pay attention to ensure inclusiveness, equity of service delivery, leave no one behind, ownership and sustainability.
On behalf of Royal Government of Cambodia as well as Ministry of Rural Development, I would like to take this opportunity to thank to the Chinese Government that supported in rural infrastructure development, road, water supply, poverty reduction and capacity building.
Draws on China's successful experience, we formulated several projects including China-Cambodia Poverty Reduction Cooperation Pilot Project, Mekong-Lancang Cooperation project by focusing on poverty reduction through rural economic development, integrated community development along the Mekong River, Cambodia rural road project and Cambodia rural water supply project.
I strongly believe that, together, we can continue to make a great contribution to realizing the poverty reduction globally and in our respective country. We need a greater synergy, partnership, cooperation and collaboration among the government, bilateral and multi-laterally, development partners, private sector, academia, IOs, NGOs. We need to have a greater connectivity and integration in the community, country, region and globally.
Thank you very much for your kind attention!