When the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) was launched by the Royal Government of Cambodia in January 2006, external assistance was highlighted as a critical input to the attainment of NSDP objectives and the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals. Soon after the launch of the NSDP the Government therefore outlined its priorities for promoting the impact of development assistance in its Updated Harmonisation, Alignment and Results (H-A-R) Action Plan.
The H-A-R Action Plan, which applies many of the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness to the context of Cambodia, identifies ownership as the cornerstone of effective aid management. This assertion is given practical meaning by the establishment of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum (CDCF) as the successor to the Consultative Group, and, given the CDCF's focus on NSDP implementation and results, it is appropriate that this first Aid Effectiveness Report be associated with the establishment of this new high-level dialogue mechanism.
This Report focuses on the use of development assistance in supporting the implementation of the NSDP. It is particularly concerned with the role of evidence-based approaches in promoting a partnership that is centred on achieving development results. It considers broad trends and, based on the analysis of data provided by our development partners by mid-April 2007, provides policy prescriptions that will support effective aid management across the whole of Government. In this sense it is complementary to, but distinct from, the NSDP Annual Progress Report that reports on progress toward priority outcomes.
This Aid Effectiveness Report also highlights the potential for increased use of aid data across Government, both amongst central ministries in mobilising external resources, preparing the National Budget and the Public Investment Programme (PIP), and at line ministry level, for example in supporting capacity development and the strengthening of national systems. In both cases, the emphasis is on making better use of information to strengthen the planning process, to support results-based monitoring, and to enhance accountability to domestic and international partners.
It must be emphasised that transparency itself is a fundamental objective of our aid effectiveness work, indeed the two are highly complementary as we can only expect to increase effectiveness if we also work to raise awareness and to increase accountability. This Report, and the on-line Database from which much of the information and analysis is derived, therefore establishes an important link between aid and development results by disseminating information, promoting dialogue and emphasising the accountability obligations of us all.
This Aid Effectiveness Report has been prepared by the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB) of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), in its role as the Government's aid coordination and resource mobilisation focal point. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of H.E. Chhieng Yanara, the CRDB Secretary General, and his colleagues, who have prepared this Report and also serve as the secretariat to the CDCF. It is my hope that this Report will serve not only to inform the discussion at the CDCF but, in light of the important analysis that it contains, that it will also be of wider interest to Government, the Technical Working Groups and to broader civil society.