Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the closing ceremony of the annual review meeting of the rural development work results in 2023 and the directions setting for 2024 [Unofficial and translations]



(1Strengthen local/rural development – key to ensure socio-economic sustainability and resilience

[…] The Royal Government of the 7th legislative term sets out a pentagonal strategy with five strategic goals to ensure economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, institutional efficiency, ensuring sustainable social, and economic development, with a strong focus on strengthening local/rural development as major objective since the livelihoods of rural people are key to ensuring the sustainability and resilience of socio-economic development. We carry out all these tasks in a way that strengthens the strong foundation for the long-term development of the nation […]

(2) Reduce the gap and integrate more effectively between urban and rural areas

Therefore, the Royal Government of the 7th legislative term has introduced key measures to strengthen the grassroots in all areas, including education, health and social order, security in villages, communes/sangkats, districts/municipalities. In this sense, we aim to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas, by which, in the future between the twos there will not be big difference, and making integration between urban and rural areas more effective. The Royal Government has set out policies for local development, including the political platform for the defense of the motherland 2023-2028 and the first phase of the Pentagonal Strategy in the seventh legislative term, while emphasizing the continued promotion of rural development strategies by setting important goals […]

(3) Four main goals of the rural development strategy

At the moment, in his report, (the Minister of Rural Development) HE Chhay Rithy Sen also stated the four main goals (of the Ministry’s development work objectives) – firstly, the development of physical and transport infrastructure; secondly, the improvement of living conditions of rural communities; thirdly, the diversification of rural economic activities; and fourthly, help indigenous peoples attain economic, social and cultural development. Indeed, the Royal Government for many terms has paid attention to this work […] in the same report, HE Chhay Rithy Sen summarized the achievements in these four corners.

First, the construction of rural infrastructure, we have built more than 50,000 kilometers of rural roads, accounting for 74% of the country’s total roads. We have not yet built all of them in concrete and/or asphalted roads. There are still many roads that are still covered with laterites. But the creation of more than 50,000-kilometer road has facilitated economic activity for the people. People can transport agricultural products, travel through to receive health services, education. They connect remote areas with the city … and obviously, we will continue to increase the coverage area […]

(4) Increase achievements in former battlefields where we have demined, established villages and in need infrastructure

Where there was nothing but the fields, now they had become laterite covered roads. It would be possible later to turn those roads into paved and/or concrete roads. Some places in the countryside do not ask for paved roads but for concrete roads because they are durable […] in addition to the national budget resources, there has been effort to mobilize participation from various partner and teams. We will continue to work on this. We need to build more drainage systems with accompanying bridges. We will continue add more achievements to those we have made in the previous terms, and those in the first six months of this term, because we have growing needs, especially in newly developed areas that were former battlefields where we demined and established villages, that more infrastructures are needed […]

(5) Improving living conditions in rural communities, focusing on the scope of water and sanitation coverage

Secondly, improving the living conditions of rural communities, focusing on expanding the coverage of clean water and good sanitation […] according to the report, we have built more than 630,000 or nearly 640,000 pump wells for the people. There are more than 10,000 community ponds available. There are 140 community drinking water stations (which means we are) covering 85% of the country. We will strive to achieve 100% of the plan, which aims to have clean water in all villages by 2030, and even if there is no water purifier, at least we are working to provide them with the wells or ponds to collect and store rainwater. We will reach (the goal) […]

(6) “Rural Borey(city)” project aims to organize an appropriate-livelihood villages/ communes

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, HE Say Samal, has laid out to me a “Rural Borey(city)” project […], which is a collaboration between relevant institutions, including the Ministry of Rural Development as well. (The Project of) Rural Borey aims to prepare the village/commune people to live a decent life and honor in accordance with what we can do. (We will continue) to build roads, provide clean water, and later organize villages, schools, and hospitals. Here are the principles to follow. We have prepared some, but we continue to do more […] for the people […]

(7) The Prime Minister sets policies for achievements for the people

Yesterday, I presided over the closing session of the health review conference […] and talked about health achievements and policies that we put forward for the development, the construction and the strengthening of health centers, including the top-down approach development from the national level to the local level physicians […], a young lady comments in social media that “every day, she sees the Prime Minister goes everywhere and sets out policies, and does not see a real thing that happens to the people.” (Here, let me ask) “then for whom is the (Techo Koh Thom) hospital?”

I do not make a policy to make a spaceship to the moon, but ones that are yielding achievements for the people. In (the annual review conference on) Health, (I mentioned our plan) to build more health centers, to recruit more doctors, to fill in the quantity and quality of drugs, to increase the capacity of national and regional hospitals to provide services to the people […] look, we have a population of 17 million. They need education, healthcare, hygiene, clean water, etc. This should be a response of what we have set the principle (in the past) that each ministry/state institution has done to benefit the people, especially those at the local level […]

(8) Participate in the annual reviews to thank the officials and to celebrate the past achievements and those of the first 6 months

That the Prime Minister participates in this annual gathering is to celebrate (achievements). This year, I joined many ministries to do so because it is the first year (of the new Government) that I had to meet our officials and staff a little bit. From next year, second year, third year, I will divide the ministries according to the responsibilities of the Deputy Prime Ministers, […] the Ministry of Rural Development has set out the four objectives to firstly continue to build and develop the physical and rural transport infrastructure, both quantitatively and qualitatively. For places where there is no connection, we connect, where there are road damages, we repair, and where it is possible, we expand and strengthen it […]; secondly, to improve the living conditions of the people by focusing on clean water, toilets, and when we are resource capable, we will add more; thirdly, to create economic diversifications/livelihood in rural areas […] for which we have provided […] loans to more than 800 families in nine provinces […] and fourthly, to accomplish registration of more than 177 indigenous communities for the sake of identifying and facilitating on demand. These four priority tasks as to be fulfilled by the Ministry of Rural Development […]./.