The GERES team in Southeast Asia wish you all a happy, abundant and meaningful Khmer New Year!
Celebrated in the third week of April in the countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam) around the Mekong, this new year also ushers in a new era of leadership for GERES in Southeast Asia.
Mathieu Ruillet, the outgoing Southeast Asia Rgional Director sends out this message to GERES’ partners in the region.
Our dear partners in development,
Allow me to greet everyone Sur sdey chnam thmey! May this new Year of the Goat bring you and your family the best of health, wealth and much happiness.
On this timely occasion, I am pleased to announce some movements in GERES leadership in the region, as I end a rich and meaningful three year-mission in Southeast Asia. Taking over the helm are Ms. Charlotte Nivollet as Regional Director for Southeast Asia, and Mr. Sim Bunthoeun as Country Director for Cambodia. Both Charlotte and Bunthoeun have been working in development for a long time, and together bring a wealth of experience in managing teams and programs in support of Southeast Asian countries’ and governments’ development goals.
As Cambodia Program Director with GERES for over a year, Bunthoeun, most notably, oversaw implementation – in coordination with the Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the United Nations Development Programme – of the Sustainable Forest Management project which has demonstrated a viable model for sustainable charcoal value chain, benefiting both forest and the communities living in and off of it. As a result, GERES has recently been entrusted by the UNEP DTU (Technical University of Denmark) Partnership with the task of contributing to the development of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) tackling the current barriers to sustainable charcoal production.
We look forward to engaging further with other partners to progressively shift the charcoal value chain towards sustainability.
Charlotte, on the other hand, has been with GERES in Cambodia for more than six years, most recently as Development Director. As such, she oversaw GERES’ continuous efforts in research and innovation, in order to appropriately and effectively support policy formulation relating to subjects critical to sustainable development: energy, natural resources, climate, agriculture and business development. Innovative and ground-breaking studies on the impact of charcoal on the Cardamom forests, and the biomass energy demand patterns of households and industries in Cambodia were recently completed under Charlotte’s leadership. Under her guidance, the GERES Biomass Energy Laboratory – Cambodia’s sole biomass testing facility – was recognized as a Regional Testing and Knowledge Center – one of nine globally – from 2012 to 2014 by the UN-hosted Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
I am confident that GERES’ work in the Southeast Asia region will continue to contribute to strengthening communities’ resilience and development, and that our engagement with you can only grow stronger as we carry on with our mission.
GERES’ recent entry into Myanmar following the lessons learned and successes from the Cambodia Improved Cookstove Project is a testament of the many parallels and similarities among countries in Southeast Asia, of how much energy access contributes to development, and most importantly, of how much work there is still be done to help communities in the region chart their sustainable development path.
As for my own endeavours, effective May 01st 2015, I shall begin serving as GERES Executive Director and shall oversee GERES’ work worldwide from the headquarters in Aubagne, France. I leave the region with my heart overflowing with gratitude for the over three rich and meaningful years that I had worked with every one of you. And I also leave with the utmost confidence that GERES in Southeast Asia will continue to be your reliable and enthusiastic partner in development.
This Year of the Goat is after all believed to abound with opportunities to change the world for the better for as long as humanity works together.
Thank you very much, and a happy Khmer New Year once again!