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PM highlights importance of water in Budapest address

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
A boy drinks water from a tap outside his home in the capital. KT/Siv Channa

Prime Minister Hun Sen during the Water Summit in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday referred to water as “white gold” and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s committent to implementing strategic plans to protect water and prevent a crisis.

Mr Hun Sen said Cambodia has abundant freshwater resources originating from the Mekong river and the Tonle Sap lake and the Kingdom is committed to protecting them.

“Cambodia considers water as ‘white gold’, a strategic driver for sustainable economic development,” he said.

He noted that Cambodia is actively involved in implementing international frameworks on the management of water resources and environmental protection.

“Although Cambodia remains a lower middle-income country, we have strived to mobilise financing from all sources – inside and outside of the country – for the development of water resources,” Mr Hun Sen said.

He said Cambodia has also cooperated with development partners and international organisations, such as the Mekong River Commission, the Greater Mekong Subregion organisation and the United Nations Development Programme to develop water sources.

“I would like to inform the summit that Cambodia is firmly committed to protecting water and preventing a water crisis through the implementation of strategic plans,” Mr Hun Sen said.

He noted that the government will strengthen law enforcement, implement regulations, policies and master plans to manage water resources.

“We will build the technical foundation, human resources and a data management centre to collect data on both water and climate…for the development and management of water resources and the evaluation of potential water sources,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We will demand both quality and quantity as responses to development.”

He said the government highly prioritises water management while confronting various challenges such as population growth, rapid development and rising demands for water, energy and food security.

“The impact of climate change is getting more severe year after year,” Mr Hun Sen said. “This trend will further threaten water resource systems. We must ensure sustainability and benefits for younger generations.”

He said the government will enhance active cooperation with countries around the globe in new and existing mechanisms and initiatives in the spirit of partnership to address trans-boundary water issues.

“I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia in engaging in effective and sustainable water resource management and preventing a water crisis,” Mr Hun Sen said. “In this spirit, together, we will work hand-in-hand through the exchange of experience, better cooperation and partnership aimed at averting a water crisis and ensuring water security for our world.”

“Every country in the world…has been striving together to ensure the sustainability of water assets,” he added. “It is so that the livelihoods of people are supported and each nation has sustainable development.”

The 3rd Water Summit this year was held under the theme of “Preventing Water Crisis”. It was held from Tuesday to today. The summit brought together over 2,000 participants from around the globe to discuss issues and challenges regarding major climate events and sustainable solutions in the field of drinking water production.

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