1. The man-made and natural disasters in the recent history of Cambodia have left it a devastated nation. The decades of conflict and internal strife not only shattered the physical, social and economic foundations that are necessary for growth and development, but more importantly, they decimated the human capital base of the nation. The resulting skewed age distribution of the population and the truncated skills profile of the work force pose added challenges to achieving the nation’s development goals. The lack of qualified and experienced personnel is now a major bottleneck in achieving Cambodia’s development goals. Although, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the education system’s infrastructure that was completely destroyed by the conflicts and civil wars has been a high priority of the Royal Government and significant progress has been made, provision of basic education services remains a formidable challenge.
2. Rebuilding the human capital base, to a level that had existed before the Khmer Rouge regime, will take at least a decade – a simple demographic fact about where Cambodia stands today. The Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes that rebuilding a human capital base that can supply the skills needed by both the private and public sectors is a pre-requisite for achieving its sustained socio-economic development goals and the successful implementation of the many reforms that it has embarked upon. In spite of the Government’s commitment and substantive efforts, successes in the areas of administrative and governance reforms are hampered by a lack of capacity within the public sector to effectively enforce and manage the implementation of the approved laws and regulations. It is important to note, that while Cambodia can benefit from the experiences of its development partners in the formulation of policies and processes, effective enforcement and management of the implementation of the approved policies, laws and regulation is likely to remain constrained, at least in the short- to medium-term, by the existing gaps in Cambodia’s human capital base.
3. Over the last decade, the development partners of Cambodia have responded to the challenges of capacity gaps in the administrative structures of the Government, specifically in the implementing ministries/agencies where their programs/projects are being implemented, by providing support for building capacity of these institutions. This has, however, led to a situation where now there is a proliferation of uncoordinated capacity building efforts on the ground. While the current practices of donors of providing salary incentives within the context of the implementation of individual programs/projects may expedite the implementation of these programs/projects, these practices have also resulted in depleting the capacity within the Government structures as qualified personnel move to more lucrative donor supported programs/projects and as a result continue to adversely affect Government’s institution building efforts.
4. At the 6th CG Meeting for Cambodia held in Phnom Penh in June 2002, the Government expressed these concerns in the context of building meaningful and effective partnerships with its external partners. It also asked for the formation of a “Government-Donor Partnership Working Group” under the CG mechanism to address these and other issues and make recommendations on appropriate approaches.
5. The 6th CG Meeting overwhelmingly endorsed RGC’s proposal on the formation of the “Government-Donor Partnership Working Group”. The Working Group is chaired by the Government with two Co-Vice Chairs, one representing the bi-lateral donors and the other multi-lateral donors. Since the 6th CG Meeting, H.E. the Prime Minister has designated the Secretary General of the CDC/CRDB, who is also the Secretary General of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee, to be the Government’s representative and Chairman of the Working Group. Japan and UNDP have been designated as the Co-Vice Chairs. Mr. Katsuhiro Shinohara (Minister, the Embassy of Japan) has been nominated by Japan as their representative. Ms. Dominique McAdams (Resident Representative, UNDP) is to represent UNDP. In addition, the membership of the Working Group includes representatives of the United Kingdom, Australia, and the ADB.
6. The Government-Donor Working Group has identified the need for developing a harmonized approach for capacity development as one of the three areas of its immediate focus.
OBJECTIVE and SCOPE OF THE ASSIGNMENT
6. The main objective of this assignment is to identify feasible solutions to achieve a more harmonized approach for capacity development based on current data/information on the existing capacity building practices of Cambodia’s external development partners.
7. Specifically, the tasks to be carried out include: