Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sovan Kiri, Youngest and Highest Karate-Do Coach in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Sovan Kiri, 27, is the only Cambodian youngest Karate-Do Coach who has a five-black belt Dan in Cambodia. He has four siblings including two brothers and two sisters and he is the second brother in his family. His father is Master Trainer named Lach Chan Sovan who has a six-black belt Dan and is also veteran coach and President of the Cambodia Karate-Do Federation (CKF).

Kiri started training his Karate-Do skills with his father, Master Trainer Lach Chan Sovann who is the veteran coach in Cambodia since he was seven year olds.

“I began training Karate-Do skills with my father since I was seven year-old. I decided to train Karate-Do with my father because I want to improve my health as well as to become a famous Karate-Do fighter or coach in Cambodia in the future. I am now happy because I have achieved my goal and I have also my own club to train the people in Phnom Penh,” Kiri said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Kiri pointed out that firstly he started training Karate-Do in 1990 in Cambodia and from 2004-2005, he was sent to train Karate-Do in Japan and obtained four-black belt Dan. In 2009, he passed another black belt Dan from Cambodia Karate-Do Federation in Cambodia. He said that his Karate-Do skills included both fighting and showing subjects.

He added that due to his hard work, he recently passed Karate-Do referee and judge certificates from Cambodia Karate-Do Federation in Cambodia.

He continued to say that besides holding these functions above, he is now the Coach Assistant of the National Karate-Do Selection Team in the Cambodia Karater-Do Federation in Cambodia. He is also a Coach of his own club named “Club Chumroeun Cheat” or “National Selection Karate-Do Club” in Phnom Penh.

“My own Karate-Do Club was established in 2002 and my club is located in the National Stadium in Phnom Penh,” he said. “Now, there are a total of 62 trainees including 50 males and 12 females in his club.”


He added: “I am happy as my dream become true and I am now becoming an experienced trainer and have my own Karate-Do club to train people especially children and youths in Cambodia. I think that to promote the sport especially Karate-Do, I will continue to update my Karate-Do training skills and also continue to train people until I am retired.”

Since Sovan Kiri has been training Karate-Do so far, he had been attended many Karate-Do competitions both national and international tournaments. And as results he received many medals from his tournaments inside and outside the country.

Relating to his siblings, Sovan Kiri said that his younger and elder brothers and sisters have also trained Karate-Do with his father. They had obtained at least three-black belt Dan each but they now stopped training because they have other works to do besides Karate-Do training.

Phan Dydalen, 13, who has received training Karate-Do with Sovan Kiri since early 2010 in Phnom Penh, said that Sovan Kiri is the only qualified young and experienced Karate-Do trainer in Phnom Penh.

“I am happy and I am also proud because I have trained Karate-Do with Lok Krou Sovan Kiri who is handsome and has a lot of experiences and abilities in coaching Karate-Do. I hope that with his coaching, I will become a future good trainer like him and will receive a black medal from him,” she told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

She added that Savan Kiri is friendly and gentle but is very strict during his training. He is very kind for all his Karate-Do trainees in the club.

Kim Leng, a yellow-black belt and Karate-Do trainee, said that Lok Kru Sovan Kiri was a qualified and capable coach.

“I have known Lok Kru Sovan Kiri in 2004 when I started training Karate-Do with him in Phnom Penh. He is a strong and capable coach but is very friendly and gentle. I like training with him very much and I wish him all the best of good luck and success in the future,” he said. ///

ECCC Court Sets to Try Former KR Leaders Next Year

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has announced that the co-investigating judge judicial investigations of Case No 002 have been completed and the Hearing of Case No 002 will be taken place in the first quarter of 2011.

You Bunleng, ECCC’s Co-Investing Judges, said that the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, have signed the Closing Order for Case File 002, indicting Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea and sending them for trial on September 15, 2010.

“We are pleased to announce that co-investigating judge judicial investigations of Case No 002 has been completed and we have also signed the Closing Order for Case File 002, indicting Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea and sending them for trial on September 15, 2010,” he said during a press conference on September 16th at the ECC Courts office.

The Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng continued to say that the Co-Investigating Judges have also signed a Dismissal Order in respect of Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch who had been tried and convicted separately by the ECCC on 26 July 2010.

The four Accused have been sent for trial before the ECCC Trial Chamber on charges of: Crimes against humanity: extermination, murder, enslavement, deportation (of Vietnamese), imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, rape (as a result of forced marriage) and other inhumane acts (forcible transfer of population, forced marriage, forced disappearance and “attacks against human dignity”, in the context of an attack against the entire population of Cambodia Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: willful killing, torture, inhumane treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, willfully depriving a prisoner of war or civilian the rights of fair trial, unlawful deportation or confinement of civilians, against protected persons in the context of an international armed conflict with Vietnam.

He continued that they were also charged on Genocide of the Cham and of the Vietnamese; Offences under the Cambodian Criminal Code 1956: murder, torture and religious persecution. The four Accused have been maintained in detention until their appearance before the Trial Chamber.

“The judicial investigation thus focused in particular on the following issues: The displacement of the population (on three occasions) from urban to rural areas, then between rural areas; The establishment and operation of cooperatives and worksites (six sites);The reeducation of "bad elements" and the elimination of "enemies", in security centers and execution sites (eleven security centers and three execution sites); Crimes against specific groups, including the Cham, the Vietnamese and Buddhists; the regulation of marriage,” he said.

He added that at the close of the investigation, the Case File contained: 46 written records of interview with the Charged Persons; over 1,000 written records of interview of witnesses and Civil Parties; 36 site identification reports, a demographic expert report, numerous medical reports, and over 11,600 pieces of documentary evidence relating to the facts of the case.

You Bunleng emphasized that the whole Case File extends to over 350,000 pages, more than 223,000 of which relate to substance. In addition, the Co-Investigating Judges have ruled on the admissibility of 3,988 Civil Party applications. 2,123 applications have been declared admissible.

He added that the remaining applications (which, for the most part, were not accepted because the harm suffered by the victims was not directly related to the specific facts of which the Co-Investigating Judges were seized) have been kept on the Case File for information, given the important details they contain, along with over 4,000 victims' complaints already placed on the Case File by the Co-Prosecutors.

During the ECCC Courts’ press conference, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, has also resigned from his his position after the completion of Case No 002 co-investigation.

According to ECCC, The four Accused including Nuon Chea, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, a member of the CPK Central and Standing Committees, the Chairman of the Democratic Kampuchea People’s Assembly, the Acting Prime Minister and the Vice Chairman of the CPK Centre Military Committee, Ieng Sary, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Democratic Kampuchea, Ieng Thirith, Minster of Social Affairs and Action, and Khieu Samphan, Head of State (Chairman of the State Presidium) of Democratic Kampuchea.

Enhancing Financial Services Industry with ICT Applications

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The International Data Group (IDG ASEAN) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Finance will organize the International Conference on “Enhancing Financial Services Industry with ICT Application” on September 29-30, 2010 at the Diamond Island Convention Center in Phnom Penh.

Le Thanh Tam, CEO of IDG ASEAN, Founder and Chairman of CEO & CIO Club, said that it marks the second time as IDG will organize this international conference in Phnom Penh, the Kingdom of Wonder.

“We are proud and this is the second time as we are going to organize this international conference on ‘Enhancing Financial Services Industry with ICT Application’ in Cambodia. The purpose of the event is to introduce ICT solutions for modernizing financial sector system by optimizing technology infrastructure to completing professional process, which dedicates to provide the best financial services to enterprises and citizens,” he said during a press conference on September 17th in Phnom Penh.

The Chairman continued to say that the conference will bring together experts from finance sector such securities market, insurance sector, fund management companies, and other financial institutions to present and share their knowledge and experience in the areas of expertise. In addition, there are specialists from IT sector including BI solution from finance services, EA solutions for financial sector, forecasting statistics, ICT platform such as storage, networking security, and data center for financial sector.

He added that during the conference, there is also platform for bringing advice in building strategies, sharing implementing cases studies in foreign countries in order to seek for the most suitable strategy for Cambodia.

“During the two-day conference, many beneficial and interesting keynotes will be presented by our invited local and international experts from management levels. Particularly, we have a superb opportunity to hear a presentations by Cambodian economic expert on ‘financial sector development strategy 2006-2015’ and foreign economic experts on ‘Global Risk, Cambodia Response’,” he said.

“More keynotes are going to be discussed in the main sector of global perspectives on IT implementation in financial industry especially for the panel discussion in the topic of ‘ICT Capital Investments and Securities Market’ and the ‘Development of Securities Market and Insurance,” he added.

He added that other keynotes and sessions will be presented and contributed by leading experts from first Cambodia as main sponsor, FPT Information System as Banquet sponsor, Indra as silver sponsor, SAP, Hitachi Data systems, StrendMicro, SI Computer Technology, SS Solution, EIKI, General Insurance Association of Cambodia, and many others. Besides this, there are also exhibitions which show the non-bank finance institutions as well as potential IT and Communication companies both domestic and foreign.

Ros Seilava, Deputy General Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said that the overall economic performance of Cambodia has been characterized by major contributions from several main sectors in the economy including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism, and services.

Ros Seilava stated that despite the global downturn, the Cambodian economy remains in a good shape underpinned by a continued increase in investment in agriculture, broad base development of non-agriculture sector, political stability, and active private sector participation as well as the Government’s efforts on economic reforms and growth.

He added that besides this, the innovation and modernization of financial sector have also been playing a crucial role in the integration and economic development of the country. //

EU Provides 31 Million Euros for Education Improvement

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

H.E. Rafael Dochao Moreno, EU’s Resident in Phnom Penh, said that the European Union (EU) will provide 31 million Euros (about US$ 40 million) for the improvement of the education system and quality in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The main objective of the project was to help improve and promote Cambodia’s education system and quality as well as reduction of the poverty in the country.

“The European Union is pleased to provide a total of 31 Million Euros for the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport in strengthening and improving the education system and quality in Cambodia,” he said during his opening remarks at the Mainstreaming Forum on Safeguard and Land for schools on September 17th in Phnom Penh.

He added that this EU’s education improvement project will be implemented by the Cambodian Ministry of Education Youth and Sport from 2011 to 2013.

H.E. Im Sethy, Minister of Education Youth and Sport, has appreciated with the EU’s hard works and support in working to improve and strengthen the education system and quality in Cambodia. He added that so far, the European Union has been helping his ministry lot such as improving access to the quality primary education for Cambodian street and out-of-school children; child friendly school development project; and project on developing the literacy environment in order to improve the quality of education and to combat illiteracy in Cambodia.
According to the EU’s document and report, the objective of EU’s improving access to quality primary education for Cambodian street and out-of-school children project aimed to contribute to the development of Education for All in Cambodia through the improvement of access to quality primary education for Cambodian children in difficult circumstances. The specific objective of this project is to support the sustainable integration of street and out-of-school children (5 - 14 years old) from Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham into the public school system through the development of Non-Formal Education (NFE) methodologies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
The child friendly school development project aimed to improve capacity in Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport to build a national Child Friendly School policy framework and to improve educational practices as key components of the national poverty reduction strategy. The target groups are 33,802 primary school level children (15,364 girls) in 40 schools and 6 districts across Phnom Penh Municipality and Kampong Cham Province and their teachers (500 teachers/ 266 females).
And the project on developing the literacy environment in order to improve the quality of education and to combat illiteracy aimed at improving the quality and the efficiency of primary education in Cambodia by using school libraries as tools to reinforce the learning process of the students. The project will extend the network of school libraries to the 16 provinces not yet covered by them. In addition the project will address illiteracy in three provinces by supporting the Education for All Centers in the communes in these provinces. The project will also produce and disseminate new books in Khmer, adapted for the educational needs of children, youth and adults in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh Inaugurates the Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KKONGKEA

The Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh Capital City (Phase II) was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, and H.E. Mr. Masafumi KUROKI, Ambassador of Japanese to Cambodia on September 16th.

The Prime Minister said that the Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement is very important because it would help mitigating storms and water floods in the east side of middle part of Phnom Penh City where was the political, economic and national culture of Cambodia. He added that the project will also help to improve the living-conditions of Phnom Penh’s people as well as the progress and the development in Cambodia.

“I wish to appeal all Cambodian people do not throw wastewater or rubbishes into the Mekong River or pumping water in order to clean our Phnom Penh’s environment and hygiene. I would also like encourage all people to join keeping hygiene, environment and developments in our Phnom Penh capital city,” he said during the inauguration ceremony.

H.E. Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh City Hall, said that the Japanese Grant Aid Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phase II is the second realization of priority projects identified in the Master Plan Study for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in the city after completion of phase II in 2004.

He added that the project, which costs US$ 19,022,900, was implemented and completed according with the schedule from the 17th of October 2007 to the 26th of February 2010 to mitigate storms water floods for the east side of middle part of Phnom Penh Capital City.

“With the accomplishment of this important project, I firmly hope and strongly believe that urban infrastructure damages caused by storms water floods will be reduced as well as environment and living condition of people in the city will be also improved,” he said.

H.E. Mr. Masafumi KUROKI, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia, said that the Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh Capital City (Phase II) was implemented by the Grant Aid of the Government of Japan.

Phnom Penh, the Capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has always faced the risks of flooding in the annual rainy season and habitually suffered from inundation and poor environmental conditions caused by stagnant waste water, he said, adding that these poor conditions consequently have regularly caused serious threats to the citizen’s lives and sometime paralyzed normal urban functions, especially affecting the traffic flow.

The Ambassador continued to say that the Royal Government of Cambodia requested the Government of Japan to extend assistance for these serious problems. In response, the Government of Japan provided the Grant Aid in 2002 for implementation of the Phase I of the Project targeted at the south-western area of the Capital. In 2007, the Government of Japan further provided the Grant Aid for the Phase II of the project which included the improvement of drainage systems in the Royal Palace and the National Museum, central market area and Wat Phnom areas, the improvement of two sections of revetment along Tonle Sap River, the construction of four pumping stations and four underground reservoirs and the construction of wastewater interceptor pipes.

“With accomplishment of these two phases of the project, the flooding of Mekong River system will be significantly controlled, inundation damage will be reduced and wastewater will be diverted,” he said. “The project also improves the conditions of streets where Cambodians and foreign people can come and enjoy “river-side” tourist spots.”

According to the Japanese Embassy’s report, the Government of Japan provided financial assistance (1992-2010) amounting 182 billion 704 million Yen (approximately US$ 1,678 million under Japan’s ODA bilateral grant aid, for the peace process and the rehabilitation and development of Cambodia. Following are the main features of Japan's ODA to Cambodia including 31 billion 291 million Yen Loan (approximately US$ 289 million) (1968-2009).//

Cambodia and India Expand Trade and Economic Ties

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Republic of India have made a joint announcement that the two-old friend countries will continue to expand the most Indochina Cambodia and India trade and economic ties in the future.

Announcement was made by the visiting Indian President Her Excellency Pratibha Devisingh Patil and His Excellency Dr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia during the India-Business Meeting on September 15th at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Phnom Penh.

The Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said that Cambodia and India are over 2000-friendly countries. The modest level of economic ties between India and Cambodia needed to be broadened. She stated that India and Cambodia had started the process of economic liberalization almost together in the 1990s. She added that the pace of economic growth in both countries has accelerated since then.

“I am certain it is possible to expand the bilateral trade basket, which requires initiatives to create awareness among the business communities of the two countries about the quality and prices of exportable goods and import requirements,” she said during her opening remarks delivered to the Indian-Business Meeting in Phnom Penh.

The President Cambodia figured among an exclusive group of countries to achieve double digit growth in its GDP for a few years in a row, prior to the global economic crisis...India is a trillion dollar economy and is ranked as the fourth largest economy in the world on the basis of purchasing power parity. India is a large, attractive and a growing market.

India-Cambodia economic relations are at a modest level, but there exists much greater scope for expansion, he said, adding that total bilateral trade is approximately 50 million dollars, with pharmaceuticals being the dominating item of India's export basket.

The President went on to say that Indian companies have invested overseas and are looking for opportunities to do more business. Frequent business interactions will help in identifying the many investment opportunities in mining, oil and gas, hydropower, infrastructure, tourism, among others.

She encouraged Cambodian business community to make full use of the investment opportunities provided by India. She also praised Cambodia for exploring ways to improve agriculture productivity, as well as to transform Cambodia into a rice basket and a key rice exporting country in the world.

“We welcome these initiatives of the Cambodian Government and I can assure that India would cooperate and share its experience with Cambodia in achieving this objective,” she said.

She added that Indian experts could also be deputed to Cambodia under bilateral co-operation arrangements to take trade and investment opportunities in the agriculture sector forward. India also has a strong presence of small and medium enterprises.

“I believe that Cambodia is keen to expand its manufacturing base to add value to its local agro-produce and also for other products to meet local demand. These sectors, along with IT and IT-enabled services, could be areas, which are worth exploring,” she said.

She added: “Cambodia's central location in the ASEAN region is useful as India seeks to expand its economic engagement with the region. We are also helped by the fact that for Indians, Southeast Asia is an important travel destination. I would like to mention that India-Cambodia tourism trade has tremendous potential for expansion. I am also telling that a large number of Cambodian tourists travel to India for pilgrimage purposes. Such visits boost our tourism business and people-to-people contacts.”

She emphasized that there exists tremendous scope for developing trade and investment relations between India and Cambodia, which should be realized by business persons of the two countries that have deep civilizational links and a time-tested friendship.

Oknha Dr. Kith Meng, President of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that Cambodia has a very strong, dynamic population, with an average age of a just 22. This ensures that Cambodia will have a large and growing pool of labor.

He continued to say that with continued investment in infrastructure in areas such as roads, the railways, and electricity, along with a stable political environment, Cambodia’s competitiveness will continue to improve.

“Cambodia has already developed a good track record of rewarding investors. In fact, it comes as a surprise to many to discover that in the decade leading up to the Global Financial Crisis, Cambodia was one of the economic stars of Asia, with GDP growth that was the 7th highest in the world,” he said.

He added that Cambodia has one of the most pro-business environments in Asia.

“While Cambodia had a difficult year in 2009, it is now experiencing a strong rebound in growth in 2010, and I would like to expect growth to be around 5 percent and possibly a little higher. It was encouraging to see the IMF come out and support this view just last week,” he said.

The Indian President and her delegates have officially visited Cambodia from September 13th to 17th. During her state visit, she met with His Majesty the King Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the Senate President Samdech Chea Sim, National Assembly President, Samdech Heng Samrin, and Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

During the Indian President visit in Cambodia, the two countries have signed two agreements including a Memorandum of Understanding between the two nations’ audit authorities and agreement of the Stung Tasal Water Resources Development Project. India promised to provide US$ 15 million in grant aid to Cambodia in developing on agricultural sector. India also donated US$ 246,000 to a primary school in Kampong Cham province, which was named India-Cambodia Friendship School a few years ago as a mark of growing cordial ties between the two nations.

Cambodia To Send Golfers to Attend the Golf Friendship Tournament in Vietnam

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Senior Minister H.E. Dr. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, said that Cambodia will send 150 golfers to participate the Golf Friendship Tournament 2010 which will be held on the 8th of December 2010 in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. There are about 600 golfers from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will attend this golf competition.

He added that the golf friendship tournament is jointly organized by Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Tourism, Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade and Tourism, and Laotian Ministry of Commerce in aiming at raising the money to assist the poor people and promote the tourists in the three countries.

“It marks the second time as Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos will jointly organize the golf friendship tournament in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The purpose of the competition is to raise the money for helping the poor people especially those who are affected by national disasters, bloods, storm and HIV/AIDS,” he told reporters at a press conference on September 10th at the Ministry of Commerce Head Office in Phnom Penh.

He pointed out that another objective of the golf competition is also to promote tourists as well as business and investments opportunities in the three countries in the future. He added that last year’s golf event, the event has attracted many national and international visitors participating and with this, the organizers had collected about US$ 700,000 for the use of humanitarian assistance in the country.

“I call on people especially business people, traders and investors to help contribute their money for the upcoming event so that the organizers can use these money in rescuing and supporting those who are affected by national disasters, bloods, storm and HIV/AIDS,” he said.

Women Football Cup 2010 Held in Banteay Meanchey

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) has organized the “Women Football Cup 2010” over two weeks from the 3rd to the 13th of September at Banteay Meanchey Province. A total of 200 women football players from ten football clubs throughout the country have participated in the first women football cup tournament.

May Tola, Deputy Secretary-General and Technical Director of the Football Federation of Cambodia, said a total of 200 women footballers whose ages are under 18 from ten women football clubs are selected by the FFC to participate in this football tournament.

The ten women football teams including Banteay Meanchey’ Football Tean, Indochina Star Fish’s Football Team, Pursat’s Football Team, Prey Veng Football Team, Kampong Thom’s Football Team, Battambang’s Football Team, Steung Treng’s Football Team, Kandal’s Football Team, Pailin’s Football Team and Siem Reap’s Football Team.

“We are pleased and this is the first time as the Football Federation of Cambodia has organized the ‘Women Football Cup 2010’ in our Kingdom of Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on September 10th.

The main purpose of the tournament is to encourage the women to enjoy playing football as well as to promote women footballers in Cambodia.

“Football is not only for men playing but also for women. Therefore, through this tournament, I hope that we can promote equity and gender in football playing in order to promote women’s rights and values, and their participation in developing our country in accordance with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s strategies and policies,” he said.

Regarding the tournament of the ‘Women Football Cup 2010’, May Tola said that the competition has divided into two groups including Group A and Group B. Group A comprises Banteay Meachey’s Football Team, Siem Reap’s Football Team, Pursat’s Football Team, Kampong Thom’s Football Team and Prey Ven’s g football team. Group B consists of Battambang’s Football Team, Steung Treng’s Football Team, Kandal’s Football Team, Indochina Star Fish’s Football Team, and Pailin’s Football Team.

The Football Federation of Cambodia has prepared a total of 24 gold medals and one trophy for the winning team of the ‘Women Football Cup 2010’, and other silver and bronze medals for those who receive the second place and third place of the tournament.

He said that the women football team who won this ‘Women Football Cup 2010’ will be received a Trophy with US$ 500 award; the team who took the second place will receive silver medals, along with US$ 300; and the women football team who took the third place will also receive bronze medals with US$ 200 award.

To promote women football players and football in Cambodia, the FFC will continue to organize more Women Football Cup and other football events in the future, he said.

According to the FFC’s report, there are about 40 women football teams in Cambodia.

The First Meeting of World Heritage Committee to Host in Siem Reap

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Sok An, Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers has announced that Cambodia will host the first Meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Cambodia in 2012.

The Annual Meeting of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Siem Reap province where is a former Khmer empire which has many rich ancient heritage, traditions, arts and culture in the mid 2012 with the participation of 187 countries who are WHC’s members in the world.

“As a full member and Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2009, Cambodia has the rights to obligate its duties and this will be the first time and historical event that Cambodia will host the Meeting of World Heritage Committee Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder,” he said during his opening remarks delivered to the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2011 in Phnom Penh on September 6th.

H.E. Dr. Sok An pointed out that the purpose of the meeting is to determine properties which are submitted by WHC’s member countries and will be added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The meeting will also monitor the state of conservation of properties already inscribed on the list and discuss possible candidates for removal.

The meeting is to promote foreign tourists visiting Cambodia as well as to disseminate Khmer tradition, custom, culture, and other Cambodian eco-natural tourism to the countries in the region and the world.

H.E. Dr. Sok An said that the Kingdom of Cambodia has become a Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2009. According to its membership of the World Heritage Committee, Cambodia has the full rights and obligation to attend every annual meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in the world in order to discuss and include new artefacts which are submitted by other countries for including into the World Heritage lists.

Since Cambodia has become the member of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, Cambodia registered many temples and other heritages into the World Heritage lists. They are Angkor Wat Temple, Preah Vihear Temple, Robam Preah Reach Troap, Lakhon Sramuol Sbaek Thom, and Tonle Sap Lake, according to H.E. Dr. Sok An.

H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, said that besides the Meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, Cambodia also plans to host the 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2011) 2011 under the theme of “ASEAN - A World of Wonders and Diversity” on January 15-21, 2011 at the newly built Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center, in Phnom Penh.

The Minister stated that over 1,600 delegates who include 400 international buyers and 100 international media from ASEAN’s member countries will participate in this historical event in Cambodia.

“We are proud and honored for Phnom Penh capital to be chosen once again to host ATF. There has been a lot of development in infrastructure and facilities since Phnom Penh first hosted ATF in 2003,” he said. “Siem Reap province, home of world heritage and the archeological sites, and Preah Sihanouk province, the most beautiful and pristine beach, have been selected for pre- and post-tours,” he added.

He added: “As host of ATF 2011, it is my great pleasure to warmly welcome all distinguished delegates and guests to ATF 2011 in Cambodia with our gracious hospitality and we wish you a great success and pleasant stay in Cambodia- Kingdom of Wonder.”

The tourism industry of Cambodia remains status-quo of its increase; even though, the incident of skirmish occurred along the Cambodian-Thai frontier in the area nearby the world famous Preah Vihear Temple -- the World Heritage on the 15th of October 2008. Now, the situation was peacefully resolved without any affect to tourism industry and business, he said.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, over 1,000 temples in Cambodia in which over 800 temples are located in Siem Reap province and hundreds of tourist attractions, archeological sites, beautiful and pristine beaches are located in cities and provinces across the Kingdom of Cambodia. There are about 2.4 million foreign tourists visited in Cambodia in 2009. //

Cambodian Gross Domestic Products Increases 5 Percent in 2010

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that a broadening export-led recovery is taking hold since the beginning of the year. Real Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth is projected to reach 4 ½ to 5 percent in 2010, a significant turnaround from 2009.

Olaf Unteroberdoerster, Senior Economist in Charge of IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, said that garment exports and tourist arrivals, notably by air, are bouncing back, both growing between 10 percent to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Construction activity, however, appears to remain sluggish with the growth of most related imports still negative, while a late start of rainy season may dent agricultural output growth.

Amid ample liquidity in the banking system, credit growth has turned the corner and, on current trends, could run well above 20 percent in the second half of the year. Headline CPI inflation is projected to average 4 percent this year.

“Significant risks continue to cloud growth prospects. The fragility of the global recovery exposes Cambodia’s narrow export base with its heavy reliance on the United States and European markets to significant downside risks. Over the medium term, efforts to strengthen the business environment and enhance public sector revenues and services delivery are important to overcome major downside risks to growth. On the other hand, a better-than-expected return to medium-term investments in the power sector and rural infrastructure could offer significant upside potential,” he said at a press conference on September 10th in Phnom Penh.

Against this background, discussion focused on the dual policy challenge to safeguard hard-won gains in macroeconomic stability and policy credibility, and lay the foundations for broader-based and inclusive growth, he said, adding that with regard to fiscal policies, the mission was encouraged by fiscal outturn through July suggesting that budget target of a gradual fiscal consolidation is on track. The rebound in tax revenue is broadening, with both direct and indirect cumulative tax collection through the first seven months rising by 8 and 18 percent, respectively.

However, the mission advised that further fiscal adjustment is needed for 2011 and the medium term. As the economic recovery gains traction, the recourse to domestic financing, and thus the injection of significant additional riel liquidity, should be eliminated to avoid undue external and inflation pressures. Moreover, further consolidation would enable Cambodia to retain its favorable dept sustainability outlook and rebuild its capacity to absorb potential further shocks.

“The mission strongly supports the government’s emphasis on further improving revenue administration. Gains in tax collection offer the best hope for Cambodia to meet dual objective of securing fiscal sustainability and mobilization resources for its development needs. In addition, further progress along the government’s public financial management reform program will be critical to secure gains from enhanced revenue administration and improve the effectiveness of social priority spending,” he said.

He emphasized that on monetary policies, the mission discussed ways to enhance Cambodia’s monetary independence, including elements of a strategy to address the high decree of dollarization. To a large extent dollarization reflects Cambodia’s unbalanced and narrow growth over recent need decades that were driven by dollarized urban export and tourism centers. Therefore, a more diversified development with greater emphasis on agriculture and rural areas, where the riel is commonly accepted, could over time produce a significant decline of dollarization. In addition, based in international experience of countries with a successful de-dollarization strategy, the incentives for greater use of riel could be increased.

Cambodia’s sources of growth and make further development more inclusive and sustainable, he said, adding that improving the quality and dissemination of the key economic statistics will serve to further enhance policy creditability and result in better informed business decisions.

MSM and Youths Are Risk at HIV/AIDS in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National AIDS Authority’s officials have announced that despite the rate of Cambodian people who have been affected by HIV/AIDS have declined but many people now are still facing with new wave of HIV/AIDS affection in the country.

H.E. Dr. Nuth Sokhom, Senior Minister and Chairman of the National AIDS Authority, said that event though the epidemic of HIV/AIDS has been decreased recently but it is still a main concern for Cambodian people and this problem is also affecting on development of human resources and the progress in the country.

“Despite the rate of people who has been affected by HIV/AIDS now declined but Cambodia is still worry about the outbreak of the second wave of disease epidemic especially for those who are high risk with this disease,” he said during his opening remarks at the “HIV/AIDS Prevention Workshop” on September 9th in Phnom Penh.

The Senior Minister pointed out that the risky groups who are now challenging with the second wave of HIV/AIDS outbreak included Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), youths, the men who have sex outside from their wives, and the girls or women who are serving at the entertainment places across the country.

According to a survey and report conducted by the National AIDS Authority, there are about 13.7 percent (equals 500,000 men) of men who have sex outside from their wives and this rate has increased up to 35 percent in Phnom Penh; there are from 17,000 to 36,000 girls and women working at the entertainment and pleasant places in Cambodia.

Relating to the condoms use, about 52 percent of men who have sex with their girlfriends have used condoms while 31 percent of women who served at entertainment places were pregnant and aborted for the past one year; and most of women who got sexual diseases did not go to get their treatments at health centres or clinics in cities and provinces.

Dr. Chea Sam An, Vice-Chairman of the National AIDS Authority (NAA), said MSM groups are risk at HIV/AIDS as they not used condoms for their sexual activities. He added that according to the NAA’s report, there are from 20,000 to 30,000 MSM throughout the country in which 8.7 percent of them got HIV affection in Cambodia.

To prevent and reduce the spreads of HIV/AIDS, he called on all people especially MSM people to us the condom while having sex in order to prevent themselves from being affected HIV/AIDS in the future. He encouraged the MSM groups to get their blood tests at the health centers, NGOs clinics or hospitals as they will be able to prevent their families from having HIV/AIDS affection in case they have the HIV-positive blood.

Dr. Sam An went on to say that to prevent and reduce the spreads of HIV/AIDS, the National AIDS Authority has established five strategies for the National Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS and STT for MSM. The five strategies including prevent new HIV infections among MSM, mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on HIV positive MSM and their partners and their families, build and sustain an environment that supports HIV/AIDS and STI programs for MSM, strengthen the capacity of partners, and improve the collection and the use strategic information. ///

WB Provides Grant Aid to Cambodia for Education Sector

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The World Bank (WB) has provided US$ 23 million of credit and grants aid for the higher education quality and capacity improvement project in Cambodia.

The credit and grant aid agreements was signed on September 7th between H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Mrs. Annette Dixon, World Bank Country Director to Cambodia. The signing ceremony was under the presidency of Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Dr. Justin Lin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank.

“The total amount of funding for the higher education quality and capacity improvement project under the credit and grant aid agreements that we are signing today is US$ 23 million which comprises of US$ 11.5 million in credit and 11.5 million in grant aid,” H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth said before the singing ceremony.

H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth said during the last 10 years, the higher education sector has made significant progress and expanded both in the public and private sector. These reforms undertaken by the Royal Government in the private education sector in the form of free paying has resulted in a tenfold increase in enrollment. While there has been significant success and advancement in the education sector, the Royal Government acknowledges the need for further improvements, specifically at the graduate and post-graduate level.

“On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and people, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the World Bank for generous support for higher education quality and capacity improvement project,” he said. “I hope that this new project will significant contribute to the efforts of the Royal Government to improve Phase II of Rectangular Strategies.”

He continued to say that with the grant and credit agreements being signed today, the World Bank’s total assistance since 1993 to the Kingdom of Cambodia will reach US$ 1,059 millions of which grants comprises US$ 345.5 millions and credits comprise US$ 713.5 million of the total financing.

Phase II of Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s Rectangular Strategies will aim to continue strengthen the partnership between Cambodian government and private sector and also between Cambodian government and national and international communities to enhance the quality of education.

“Our main objective is to increase the availability of well-trained public and private sector manpower, including managers, technical specialists and higher level professionals to support the Royal Government’s national development goals,” he said.

Mrs. Annette Dixon, Cambodian World Bank Country Director, said that the five-year project will focus on two main components: first to improve the quality of teaching, management and research both public and private education sector through two approaches. The first approach is to primarily build capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Scientific Research and the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia through staff development program. This will also include the provision of approximately 68 post graduates fellowships. The second approach is to provide competitive development and innovation grants for research and learning to participation in the public and private high education institutions.

She added that the second is to access disadvantage students to the higher education by providing them with scholarship. An estimate of 1,000 disadvantaged students will be supported under this component comprising US$ 5.85 millions of total grants. This project will assist one of the key objectives of Cambodian government to provide more accesses to be better quality of higher education by the disadvantaged students in Cambodia.

“Quality in higher education is one of the key issues to build the country’s human capital which is crucial for sustainable development and poverty reduction,” she said. “I hope that this new project will help the country to strengthen its quality standards for reduction as well as to build the skills needed for the public and private sectors,” she added.

Cambodian Gross Domestic Products and Economic Growth

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has praised about the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and economic growth in the period of three decades made by Cambodian government. He said since the first national election in 1993, Cambodian government had been achieved its sustainable GDP, economic growth and social developments in the country.

The Cambodian economy was grown approximately 6.3 percent per annum during 1994-1998, 8.8 percent during 1999-2003 averaged 8.8 percent and 10.8 percent during 2004-2008.

“We, Cambodians, understand very well that peace and political stability are pre-requisites for scaling up and sustainable socio-economic development. In this regards, the “Win-Win Policy” of national recognition that I initiated and implemented have brought full peace, national recognition and genuine territorial unity since 1998. Finally, we ended the Khmer Rouge regime and the remaining Khmer Rouge political and military forces were integrated into the main stream of the Cambodian society,” he said during opening ceremony of the “2010 Asialink Conversation-Cambodia on September 4th in Phnom Penh.

Prime Minister said that with the return of full peace, a sense of confidence and pride pervades the country, a feeling that bodes well for bright prospects for economic growth and job creation and a concrete vision of a promising future. “We have implemented successfully “the Triangular Strategy”, focusing on strengthening peace and security, integrating Cambodia into the region and the world, promoting reforms and developments,” he added.

Cambodian government has embarked on wide-ranging reforms focusing on macro-economic management, public financial management and financial sector reforms, and rehabilitation and reconstruction of physical infrastructures, especially national road network, he said, adding that since then Cambodian economy has undergone a dramatic and rapid transformation. Economic growth during 1999-2003 averaged 8.8 percent. The economic growth in 2004-2008, averaged 10.8 percent, as a result of these endeavors.

“Cambodia can be considered as a successful posts-conflict country. With a support from our development partners and private sector, Cambodia has made a giant stride in development in the last decade,” he noted.

Prime Minister emphasized that since 1993 Cambodian Gross Domestic Products (GDP) increased fourfold from US$ 2.4 billion in 1993 to US$ 10.3 billion in 2008. During this period per capita income has more than tripled from US$ 229 to US$ 739. Poverty rate was reduced from around 50 percent in 1993 to 30 percent in 2007, then 27.4 percent in 2009.

The structural reforms were undertaken to allow the Cambodian people to live in a modern civilized society, he said, adding that these reforms are necessary, a life-or-death matter, so that Cambodian society can face the future confidentially and achieve prosperity.

“The Government has acted swiftly to counter the social impact of falling incomes and employment from declining garment exports, tourism and construction pursuant to the crisis. Cambodia has managed to maintain the stability, especially the normalcy of the people’s livelihoods,” he said.

Prime Minister went on to say that with these reforms Cambodia is moving on right track and with the implementation during the last five years of the Public Financial Management Reform Program, government revenue more doubled from US$ 553 million in 2004 to US$1.2 billion in 2009. The expenditure tripled from US$ 758 million to US$ 2 billion. In 2009, the Gross Domestic Products experienced a positive growth, though very small, as agriculture and services sector maintained robust growth. ///

Women Take Their Place in Parliament

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodian leaders have joined UN officials and international and regional experts in calling for a redoubling of efforts to increase the number of women in the country’s legislative body to 30 percent, a target required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal by the target year of 2015.

The message was the focus of the “Workshop on Achieving MDG 3 by 2015” which was attended by senior members of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Members of the Cambodian Parliament, UN representatives, regional and international legislators and experts, and members of civil society organizations.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, said that Cambodian government has committed to improve women’s status and increase the number of women to participate in politics and leadership in all levels in the country.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia has been taking steps to increase to the maximum proportion of women’s participation in all levels of national institutions. However, more concerted efforts are required to address the remaining challenges,” she said during opening remarks delivered to the “Workshop on Achieving MDG 3 by 2015” on September 8th in Phnom Penh.

The Deputy Prime Minister stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia under the wisdom leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has considered that women are the back bone of Cambodia’s economy and national society. They are the value treasure in the process of national development in Cambodia.

“The Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said that women are the back bone and value treasure of Cambodia. Help women are helping yourself,” she said. “This is the attention and expression made by Cambodian government leader toward women who are 53 percent representing in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” she added.

To increase the number of women in the country’s legislative body as well as to participate in social developments, the government will continue its hard works in improving women’s statue including gender gaps reduction, girls or youth students’ enrolment, reproductive, maternal reduction, and other women’s capacity building trainings, she emphasized.

Women now hold 27 of the 123 seats – or 21 percent in comparison to men – in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, she said, adding that their representation increased on average 2 percent every five years for the three elections between 1993 and 2003. The last election in 2008 saw that number go up to 12 percent.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, women hold 8 of the 61 seats, representing only 13 percent, below both the global and regional averages. Before the MDG 2015 deadline, the National Assembly and the Senate will be required to increase the number of female lawmakers by 9 percent and 17 percent, respectively. But time is of the essence as both Houses have only one election cycle left in which to fill the gap. The next Senate election is in 2012 and the National Assembly in 2013.

Despite some progress, overall Cambodian women continue to face socio-economic disadvantages compared to their male counterparts. Gender parity in literacy for women aged 13-24 has almost been achieved but only a third of domestic violence victims will seek help. And five women die giving life everyday, she emphasized.

Mr. Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia, said in his remarks at the workshop that to give new momentum to MDG 3, the UN Secretary-General recently created UN Women, an agency which is tasked with consolidating and strengthening the UN’s gender policies and work globally. The aim is to enable the UN to mobilise significant resources, both financial resources and technical expertise, to support the global achievement of MDG 3.

In Cambodia, he said, gender continues to be a pillar and cross-cutting issue of focus for the work of all UN agencies in the next five years. He also noted that MDG 3 might fall into the off-track category unless gender-based domestic violence is tackled aggressively.

“Women make up 52 percent of Cambodia’s population, and yet represent only 13 percent of the seats in the Senate and 21 percent in the National Assembly. Without adequate representation, women’s voices are simply not being heard,” he said.

He added that far more important to achieving MDG3 will be mobilising the political will and commitment to bring more women into the political arena. By supporting and training women candidates, by mentoring women who are Members of Parliament, by coaching women in Government at all levels, we can ensure that women’s voices are heard.

“I’m pleased that the Cambodian government has set a target to elect 30 percent women to the Parliament. The global experience has shown us that temporary measures need to be adapted to each country. Half of the countries in the world now have temporary special measures, something that only happened over the last 10-15 years. Interestingly, these measures are both controversial and popular,” said Prof. Drude Dahlerup from Stockholm University.

Two leading political science professors from Sweden and South Korea discussed the use special temporary measures as a means of increasing female political representation in their respective countries. Members of Parliament from Vietnam, Timor-Leste, and Lao PDR also shared their own experiences with progress and challenges in ensuring adequate women’s political representation in their own countries.

The workshop was held as part of the “MDG3 Week” from 6-10 September with the support of UNDP and in collaboration with the Cambodian Parliament, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, UNIFEM, the UN Millennium Campaign, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Action Aid.