Opening Address by H.E Mr. Sin Niny - Symposium on Hydro-Meteorological Networks

Siem Reap, Cambodia, 18th Sep 2012

H.E Mr. Christian CONNAN, Ambassador of France to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor and privilege to be here today at the Opening Session of the Symposium on Hydro-Meteorological Networks under the theme "THE VALUE OF HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS", being held in our Angkor Ancient Town of Siem Reap province. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Mekong River Commission, and on my own behalf, I would like to extend the warmest welcome to His Excellency Mr. Christian CONNAN, Ambassador of France to the Kingdom of Cambodia, the distinguished participants from the Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia, and to all distinguished delegates, attending this important event.

I am very glad to see, that so many of you have been able to take time out of your busy schedules and join with us to share information related to hydro-meteorological data across international borders, with specialised representatives of research and academic institutions and the technical line agencies from Member Countries, other parts of the world and cross-cutting programmes of the Mekong River Commission. The theme is to demonstrate the full use of upto-date and reliable hydro-meteorological data at all levels - nationally, regionally, and even internationally.

I am pleased to note that the Mekong-Hycos project has been succeeded with the establishment of an efficient, reliable and accurate near real-time rainfall and water level observation network covering observation sites on the Mekong mainstream and on tributaries in the four MRC Member Countries and China, and the transmission system at basin level, while also strengthening relevant national and regional capacities. The information is shared among the MRC’s four Member Countries to better monitor the Mekong River to support in particular, flood forecasting on the mainstream and flash flood warning activities and other water-related aspects of the basin. This multi-functional project provides input to institutions and programmes covering such diverse areas from navigation, fisheries, agriculture and irrigation, basin planning, hydropower, environment and wetlands to climate change adaptation which contribute to the implementation of the 1995 Mekong Agreement and its Water Utilisation Procedures.

I would like to thank the Government of France for their financial support to the Mekong River Commission for the Mekong-HYCOS project, through the Agence Française de Développement and the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial. Also thanks go to the World Meteorological Organization which supported the project initiative within the framework of World-HYCOS since 2006.

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The issue of sustainability of the project, once the external support comes to an end, is a very important and challenging task. Sustainability will, to a large extent, depend on the continued operation and maintenance of the stations, collection of field data and maintenance of the regional database, availability of sufficient financial resources and logistics and continued availability of human resources within the National Hydro-met Services of the participating countries. In addition, the sustained interest and commitment of the participating countries will be a very important element towards sustainability of the project. This commitment could be secured by demonstrable benefits that the countries could obtain from the project such as accurate and on-time availability and accessibility to data for flood and drought forecasting and warning. The MRC needs to further develop ‘added value’ to the participating countries for example the useful products, tools and applications for integrated water resources management.

In the case of Cambodia, The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology with its mandate on the management of water resources and meteorology, has put efforts into strengthening nationwide hydro-meteorological networks. To this endeavor and among other remarkable achievements was the modernization of the Meteorological Department with the monitoring and prediction capabilities. The establishment of the S-band Doppler Weather Radar station “Techo SEN” during 2010-2011, which is now operational has enabled Cambodia in producing and broadcasting accurate and timely weather forecasts and warnings covering the entire country. It is a fully financed project by the Royal Government of Cambodia and was realized through a contractual arrangement with the Meteo France International. In addition, our special emphasis and priority is equally given to the improvement of the hydrological services aiming at enhancing effective flood and drought forecasting and warning.

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me take this opportunity to thank the National Mekong Committees and line agencies in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam for their active and valuable participation, contribution and support during the implementation phase of this project, and for their commitment for the future operation and maintenance of the network after the project completion. This project forms part of MRC’s ongoing decentralization process and hence hands over the hydro-meteorological network to the Member Countries. Last but not least, I would like also to thank the organisers of this Symposium, the MRC Secretariat in Phnom Penh and the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, for their excellent arrangements. In closing, allow me to express my belief that this Symposium will further strengthen the existing cooperation in the hydro-meteorological area among the riparian countries, the development partners and beyond. I am sure that the experience and knowledge assembled here will also further improve our workable approach to the hydro-meteorological network management for the benefit of the people of the Mekong Basin.

With the best wishes to the Symposium for a very fruitful and productive time and to all of you an enjoyable and memorable stay in Siem Reap, the City with Land of Wonder of the Angkor Complex and, I hereby declare the Symposium on Hydro-meteorological Observation, under the theme "THE VALUE OF HYDRO-METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS" open. 

Thank you for your attention.