The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award – Tuesday, 8.6.2010

Posted on 9 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The judges of the international award of the Stockholm International Water Institute [‘The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is an independent policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis’] recently decided to give the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. The ceremony to deliver the award will be held in early September 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the third world-class award that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has won.

“The announcement about the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority receiving the Stockholm Water Industry Award for 2010 shows what the judges for this award of the Stockholm International Water Institute assessed and wrote about the qualifications of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority. Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of four rivers arms that serve as an endless water source. But because the country had suffered from chronic civil war for decades, the water supply system became obsolete, and the supply of water did not start to improve before the 1990ies.

“In 1993, Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed by the government as the General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Department, and his team led officials and employees to do some basic work, like to totally repair the water supply system. He also initiated the creation of a new highly effective administrative system to issue invoices and receipts for payments. He also initiated international standard procedures to supply clean water to all residents of Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is successful in fighting corruption and has shown the world that the fight against corruption can be successful in a developing country through the use of simple but effective leadership, based on policies and commercial strategies that are recognized worldwide. At present, as an autonomous unit, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is supplying water 24 hours a day to 90% of Phnom Penh, which has about 1.3 million citizens, and effectively controls its revenue and expenses. In the meantime, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority continues to further develop the clean water supply system and to strengthens the internal control of the unit.

“Since 1998, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has set up a totally new supply system. The quantity of water lost as the result of broken and leaking pipes dropped from 72% in 1993 to only 6% in 2008, which is a very small quantity compared to that of other modern countries in the world. Nowadays, the collection of water bills recovers over 98% of the invoiced charges, which allows the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to get the necessary money back to cover its operational costs. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority reaches world standards due to its leading water supply system.

“The judges of the Stockholm International Water Institute added that the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is strongly committed to act responsibly in social and environmental fields, showing to other developing countries that not only big countries can have regular access to clean water. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is a good model for all water supply institutions to improve their operations and to step up their care to provide good services to their clients. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has made effort to improve also the sanitation system in Phnom Penh, and the company is ready to be listed at the stock exchange in late 2010 [if it really starts to operate by that time].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan, appointed by the Royal government as General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, said during the conference, where the award of the Stockholm Water Industry Award was announced on 7 June 2009, that the judges for the provision of the international award to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority recognized the supply of water in Phnom Penh as having international standard quality. The duty of the unit is to continue to supply clean water for the sake of public health in large quantities any time, and this with cheap prices. The price of water in Phnom Penh is cheapest in the region. The unit could reach the above mentioned achievement because Samdech Akkak Moho Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen had chosen a leader who has the ability to identify many priorities, such as the use of loans, who can also encourage all consumers to pay their bills. Also the former Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Chea Sophara, who had worked with the Asian Development Bank and with the understanding from the Minister of Industry not to interfere into the autonomy of this unit, had enormously contributed to the present success, as well as the help from the current municipal governor. In addition, there is collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and other institutions that provided loans, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Agence Française de Développement [AFD], and the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].

“Mr. Ek Sonn Chan said about the award, ‘We did not request this award. Others decided it. There were 64 requests from different institutions for the award in 2010, but only one was selected.’ The Stockholm International Award was established in 2000. This award is considered to be a world-class water award, created to encourage the supply of clean water for public well being. It is a great award for the field of clean water supply. The award will be delivered at a building that had also been used to deliver the Nobel Prizes, and the Swedish King will deliver it. In the past, the award was delivered to clean water institutions in the following countries:

  • 2000 to England
  • 2001 to Mexico
  • 2002 to Norway
  • 2003 to Canada
  • 2004 to India
  • 2005 to the United States of America
  • 2006 to Australia
  • 2007 to Singapore
  • 2008 again to the United States of America
  • 2009 again to Canada, and
  • 2010 to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority of Cambodia

Most of the countries that won this award in the past are modern developed countries.

“It should be noted that the award won by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is the third world-class award for this unit: it had also received other awards, a first award in 2004 and a second award in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #498, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Will Take Strict Measures against Anybody Engaged in Football Betting [as the FIFA World Cup will start on 11 June 2010]
  • The United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] Called on Donors to Provide Aid for the Care of Cambodian Women and Girls [it is estimated that each day, at least five Cambodian women die while delivering babies, because of the lack of health services and medical facilities]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2269, 8.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The High Price of Capital in Commercial Operations Is a Challenge for Our Competitiveness [he said so during the World Economic Forum on East Asia]
  • The Authorities Asked for a Delay for One More Month from Citizens Whose Houses Were Burnt Down [on 8 March 2010 in the Boeng Kak II commune, Phnom Penh] before Relocating Them to a New Area [they live in temporary shelters, and the authorities are preventing those who wanted to reconstruct their housing from doing so]
  • 7,004 Hectares of Agro-Industrial Crops Were Totally Destroyed [by a tropical storm] in the Koulen District [Preah Vihear]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #676, 8.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Officials Plan to Quietly Go to Visit and Monitor Border Markers at the Borders with Yuon [Vietnam and with Thailand; without informing the authorities – according to the Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6976, 8.6.2010

  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party That Had Frictions, Signed to Create an Alliance with Each Other
  • Disastrous Storm Made 23 Houses Collapse in the Thmor Koul District [of Battambang], and Lightnings Killed Two Persons in the Bakan District [of Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3900, 8.6.2010

  • Poor Citizens [from 80 families in the Boeng Kak II commune, Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh] Victimized by Fire [that bunt down their houses on 8 March 2010] next to Wat Neakavon Protested [in front of the Phnom Penh Municipality] against their Evictions and Asked for in-Place Development

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #188, 8.6.2010

  • The Donors Pledged to Provide Development Aid of Up to US$2.8 Billion for Three Years [from 2010 to 2012]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5218, 8.6.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Received the Stockholm Water Supply Award
  • The Tax Income of May 2010 Amounts to Nearly US$59 Million [an increase by 22% compared to April]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Different Challenges to Act? Different Conceptions of Communication? – Sunday, 29.3.2009

Posted on 30 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

Looking back at the end of a week to the past information carried, it is often difficult to understand easily what happened – or what not happened.

On Friday, we mirrored a report that in January 2009, there were 40 children under the age of six living with their parents in prisons. “The Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior is asking the Ministry of Economy and Finance to increase the monetary allowances for prisoners from Riel 1,500 [approx US$0.37] to Riel 2,800 [approx. US$0.69] per day, so that they can eat enough food.” And: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…”

An increase from US$0.37 to US$0.69 per day is an increase of US$0.32 per day per person, that is $12.80 for all 40 children per day; that is $384 per month. For all 40 children for one whole year, this upgrade would cost $4,604.

Here are some other figures to which we referred during the week, as they had appeared in The Mirror:

  • US$200,000 were donated by the Japanese Government to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • US$18 Million had been loaned to the Government, but the World Bank might withdraw them
  • US$7.07 million were spent for the Senate in 2008
  • US$12.6 million are provided to Cambodia by the World Bank to expand international trade
  • US$100 Million is a loan from the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group to expand a mobile phone network
  • US$35 million on loan from Japan for the construction of clean water production

And US$4,604? Of course all these other moneys were not designated to feed 40 children under six in prison, and the paperwork on the way from the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and then the search where, in the national budget to find US$4,604, also takes its time, while sorting out regulations.

But: “It should be remembered that children living with their parents in prison are not prisoners, and they must not receive any punishment…” Who is in charge? Who cares? Who could even care to get things moving, without being in charge?

= = =

But there were other problems to be faced, and not only by 40 children, but by the whole nation.

Not many publications have a prestigious history like The Economist from London. It began publishing in 1843 and has continued as a weekly magazine until the present. In 2007, it had a world wide circulation of more than 1.3 million.

In addition to its publications, The Economist has also a research arm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and it is regularly organizing Economist Conferences around the world. Such a conference was held early this year also in Cambodia, on 16 February 2009 in Siem Reap, under the heading: Business Roundtable with the Government of Cambodia – On the verge of a breakthrough? [see The Mirror report in Rasmei Kampuchea of 13.2.2009] The Prime Minister was a keynote speaker at this conference. It was considered a special event that an Economist Conferences had been organized and was held in Cambodia. This had been announced:

Key issues to be discussed included:

  • In light of recent oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Thailand, what is the government doing to settle border claims with its neighbors?
  • With predictions that oil could start flowing by as early as 2011, how will the government manage Cambodia’s newfound wealth?
  • In evaluating the investment climate, are private equity firms being overly optimistic?
  • What new business opportunities are there for investment in Cambodia’s much needed infrastructure?
  • Given the recent boom in property development and construction, is greater regulation of the industry necessary and if so, what impact will this have on property investors?
  • How will Cambodia’s garment industry deal with greater competition from China and Vietnam? What is being done to boost efficiency in this important industry?
  • With a recession hitting the US, what is Cambodia doing to diversify its export markets?
  • How will the government offset growing inflation and an increase in commodity prices, particularly of oil?
  • Is Cambodia’s economy ready to move away from de facto “dollarization” to the Riel and what will this mean for business?

That this event was planned – as the many other Economist Conferences around the world – for high level business leaders, was obvious from the admission prices to participate in his one-day-only event:

US$ 990 Early Registration Fee (by 9 January 2009)
US$1,250 Standard Registration Fee
US$1,000 Corporate Network Members’ Fee

These high level conferences are prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is described on their own Internet website with the following ambitious words:

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world’s foremost provider of country, industry, and management analysis. Founded in 1946 when a director of intelligence was appointed to serve The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit is now a leading research and advisory firm with more than 40 offices worldwide. For over 60 years, the Economist Intelligence Unit has delivered vital business intelligence to influential decision-makers around the world. Our extensive international reach and unfettered independence make us the most trusted and valuable resource for international companies, financial institutions, universities, and government agencies.

The appreciation for the fact that Cambodia had been the site of an Economist Conference turned into hostility, after – on 19 March 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit published a 34 pages document: Manning the barricades – Who’s at risk as deepening economic distress foments social unrest?

In this document, the basic methodology of compiling the document is laid open, for three possibilities, asking If things feel bad now, how much worse could they get? – and it describes the third and worst possibility with the following words:

Failing confidence in the Dollar leads to its collapse, and the search for alternative safe-havens proves fruitless.
Economic upheaval sharply raises the risk of social unrest and violent protest. A Political Instability Index covering 165 countries, developed for this report, highlights the countries particularly vulnerable to political instability as a result of economic distress…

The political implications of the economic downturn, informed by the results of the Social and Political Unrest Index, are discussed at length in the second half of the report.

The full report, in both PDF and HTML format, is available online at http://www.eiu.com/special.

Putting a lot of detailed data from many countries through these procedures, which contain among others also terms developed by the Political Instability Task Force at the George Mason University in the USA, which elaborate also about further terms which we quote here:

Economic distress appears to be almost a necessary condition for serious instability, but it is not a sufficient one. There are many instances of declines in GDP per head that have not been followed by political instability. It is only when economic distress is accompanied by other, underlying or structural features of vulnerability that there is a high vulnerability to or risk of serious outbreaks of political and social unrest.

Defining political unrest

We define social and political unrest or upheaval as those events or developments that pose a serious extra-parliamentary or extra-institutional threat to governments or the existing political order. The events will almost invariably be accompanied by some violence as well as public disorder. These need not necessarily be successful in the sense that they end up toppling a government or regime. Even unsuccessful episodes result in turmoil and serious disruption. The assessment of what constitutes a “serious threat” still requires judgment and can be arbitrary, but this is a step forward from having no definition at all.

Political Instability Index

The overall index on a scale of 0 (no vulnerability) to 10 (highest vulnerability) has two component indexes—an index of underlying vulnerability and an economic distress index. The overall index is a simple average of the two component indexes. There are 15 indicators in all—12 for the underlying and 3 for the economic distress index.

As a result, a table is automatically calculated from the hundreds of data collected. We quote only the beginning of the resulting Political Instability Index of Rank, Country, and Score:













1

Zimbabwe8.8
2Chad8.5
3Congo Kinshasa8.2
4Cambodia8.0
4Sudan8.0
6Iraq7.9
7Cote d’Ivoire7.8
7Haiti7.8
7Pakistan7.8
7Zambia7.8
7Afghanistan7.8

Naturally, this ranking for Cambodia on Position 4 (from 165, with some countries sharing the same ranking number) was received with surprise, and even rejection. Considering the final results, it was quickly dismissed as a report supposedly produced with a hidden agenda against Cambodia. – More surprising is how the Cambodian embassy in England reacted against the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report, which misunderstands the report as made up of arbitrary statements targeting Cambodia – and therefore asking the Economist Intelligence Unit to “issue a retraction.” This is misunderstanding is obvious from the following excerpts of the letter of the Cambodian ambassador to the Economist Intelligence Unit:

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment with your latest report, “Manning the Barricades” in which you highlight Cambodia as one of the countries most at risk of suffering serious social unrest as a consequence of the on-going global financial crisis.

Your scaremongering allegations are highly dangerous as they could be construed as actively inciting unrest. They also happen to be a gross distortion and misrepresentation of Cambodia’s true position and there can be no justification for these claims.

May I suggest that it is insulting for you to claim that Cambodia is more politically unstable than the war-torn nations of Iraq and Afghanistan…

You also appear to have rather arrogantly dismissed any serious evidence which contradicts your own claims; not least that provided by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, who only in February 2009 addressed a Business Round Table event co-hosted by your own organisation.

You may recall that the Prime Minister used that occasion to record that Cambodia had just enjoyed a decade of blistering growth, more than doubling its per capita GDP between 1998 and 2007. He attributed this great success to political stability, forging deeper integration with the global trade and investment communities; and improved macro-economic management.

You also seem to have ignored Cambodia’s sizable oil and gas deposits, its wealth of natural resources as well as its growing reputation as a “must visit” tourist destination and as a center of enterprise and investment….”

It is extremely unfortunate that the result of an analysis of hundreds and hundreds of international data, which fully agree with the assessment of Cambodia’s economic growth during the last years, is not seen for what it says: that countries which had a high growth rate based on factors now being eroded by the international economic crisis, are facing a more serious danger of disrupting instability than countries which have been anyway politically instable, and economically at a low level. The Economist Intelligence Unit is not questioning past achievements – but it is sounding a warning that these achievements are now facing a most serious challenge, and therefore the new situation merits utmost attention.

This week’s reflection is much longer than usual.

It was written with the hope to improve communication between Cambodian and international voices, which is often mis-communication: while facts are presented with an invitation to rationally discuss them, they are emotionally dismissed. This is not useful, and ways have to be found to communicate better.

Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...