Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management (PPP) Alumni Lecture Series

Speech | 21 February 2011

Opening remarks by Putu Kamayana, ADB Country Director, at the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management (PPP) Alumni Lecture Series, Cambodia

His Excellencies, Alumni of the Phnom Penh Plan, Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Asian Development Bank's Cambodia Resident Mission, I wish to extend a very warm welcome to the distinguished alumni of the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management (PPP) attending this PPP Leaders Networking for Knowledge (LINK) Alumni Lecture. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to join us this morning. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Government of Cambodia for its continued collaboration with ADB, as well as representatives of development partners joining us here today, and also the staff of the ADB CARM and PPP for organizing this event.

The topic of the lectures today on "improved delivery of water supply and sanitation services" is indeed very timely and relevant. As you may be aware, the economic corridor approach has been adopted as one of the main platforms for subregional development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries. This approach aims to link the subregion to major markets, spur enterprise development and enhance economic activities and benefits. Presently, ADB and the Government of Cambodia are preparing the GMS Corridor Towns Development Project, for approval in 2012. While the focus of the project is on urban areas, we cannot ignore the strong rural and urban linkages the project will promote within the subregion and at the national level. In Cambodia alone, more than 80% of the total population live in rural areas.

A focus on urban-rural linkages has been proposed as one of ADB's cross cutting themes for the new Country Partnership Strategy for Cambodia for the period 2011-2013, which is currently under preparation. Focusing on connectivity within a country (for instance, strengthening the links between rural communities and urban growth centers), will be a catalyst for higher growth and incomes both in rural and urban areas. This interaction between rural and urban areas will influence Cambodia's development environment in the future. Improved water supply and sanitation services in both rural and urban areas are fundamental to strengthening these linkages.

A focus on improved delivery of water supply and sanitation services involves understanding that these services are essential to daily life in both rural and urban areas. The benefits of improved water supply and sanitation far outreach any single social service intervention, as it cuts across other social sectors to improve individual health and wellbeing, and therefore enabling people to attain higher levels of education and generate greater income. All of this contributes to improved human resource development at the national level and in the subregion.

Our 3 honorable speakers today come from different regions within Asia. I have the pleasure to present:

Our first distinguished speaker Prof. K.J. Nath who is the Chairman of the Science and Technology Group in Sulabh International Social Service Organization in India. He will be talking today about sustainable sanitation options based on his work in Cambodia and India. At the moment, Prof. Nath is undertaking a review for ADB on the low-cost sanitation options and feasibility of biogas-linked latrines in Cambodia. This review will feed into our ongoing rural water supply and sanitation projects.

Our second distinguished speaker is Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak. Dr. Pathak is the founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organization in India, and the winner of the Stockholm Water Prize in 2009. The "Sulabh Sanitation Movement" started India in 1970. Through scientific innovation and social mobilization, Dr. Pathak has successfully introduced sustainable sanitation system in more than a million homes. He also introduced "pay use" community toilet complexes in more than 7000 locations, many of them linked to Bio-gas plants. The Sulabh Sanitation Movement has made a profound impact on the National Sanitation Scenario in India and has received International recognition.

Our third distinguished speaker is H.E. Ek Sonn Chan who, as many of you know, is the General Director of Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and winner of the Stockholm Industry Water Award in 2010. It is always a pleasure and a great honor for us to have His Excellency who is a strong supporter of the PPP, to speak about clean water supply and delivery of services to hundreds in Phnom Penh.

We hope you will find the lectures today informative and interesting, and that it may somehow make a difference to improving the lives and wellbeing of the Cambodian people.

Thank you very much.