the Eighteenth Meeting of the Government-
H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance and First Vice-Chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, in his capacity as Chairman of the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee (GDCC), opened and welcomed all participants to the eighteenth meeting of the GDCC. In his opening remarks, he noted the continued recovery of the Cambodian economy, absorbed labor force and improved socio-economic welfare, during six months since the last GDCC meeting by addressing significant contributions of private sector and public sector to the economic growth estimated to rise above 6 percent in 2011. He also observed significant progress in core reforms, strategies and aid coordination mechanisms including Sub-National Democratic Development Program (SNDD); and National Social Protection Strategy for the poor and vulnerable which were consistent with the RGC’s Rectangular Strategy Phase II and NSDP-Update (2009-2013). Taking this occasion, H.E Chairman of the meeting also conveyed a condolence message to the people of Japan and paid a compliment to the Government of Japan for their efforts to secure the recovery from the devastating tragic events.
The agenda items of the meeting were:
i. National Social Protection Strategy – Ensuring the effective implementation
ii. Integration between planning, budgeting and ODA
iii. Effectiveness of Partnership Dialogue Mechanism
iv. Other Business
[All presentations are available on www.cdc-crdb.gov.kh]
Agenda item 1: National Social Protection Strategy – Ensuring the effective implementation
H.E Ngy Chanpal, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior and Vice-Chair CARD, revealed some key progress of the preparation of the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS 2011-2015) developed by Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD). Recently, the NSPS was approved by Council of Ministers (CoM) on 18th March 2011. Coordination between CARD and DPs is being conducted to promote alignment and harmonization of DP supports with RGC policies and programs. In terms of M&E of the NSPS, a result matrix of the NSPS has been established outlining key outcome indicators along with five main objectives. There has been progress on Identification of Poor Households Program, as the program covered more than 7,100 villages in 17 provinces and planned to cover all villages for 2011. As a coordinating strategy, further existing interventions, coordination and collaboration with DPs, CSOs and line ministries would be strengthened to address existing gaps of the NSPS priorities. Consideration of the following was emphasised:
Comments by Mr. Jean-Pierre de Margerie, World Food Program Country Representative: Mr. Jean-Pierre emphasized the NSPS role in protecting the most vulnerable, preventing the impact of negative shocks, and promoting living standards. He raised comments mainly related to the implementation of the NSPS. Those comments were summarized in four key points:
1. The NSPS document should be disseminated following its endorsement in March 2011.
2. The Implementation Plan for the NSPS with addressing of the involvement of line ministries and reflecting sector plans and ministry annual operation plans should be developed before the next GDCC.
3. The outline of joint mechanisms should be conducted before the next GDCC to improve the harmonization of new and existing social protection interventions.
4. The RGC were asked for clarification on the Government’s specific plans for establishing a sustainable and regular financing framework, possibly including a joint steering committee.
Response by RGC: H.E. Ngy Chanphal has responded to the above four key points raised by DPs. Firstly, the full document of the NSPS planned to be published in the next 6 months and would be shared with line ministries and other stakeholders. The draft three-year Implementation Plan for the NSPS (2011-2013) has been established and consulted with DPs and relevant stakeholders, and the paper should be finalized before the next GDCC. The costing for the NSPS implementation has been analyzed and would be finished within the next six months.
Comments by H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Ambassador of Japan: H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki sought for clarification on following points: (i) Identifying of the coordination and roles of CARD and line ministries in project/program planning and design to ensure consistency between programs/projects implemented by line ministries and the NSPS; (ii). Addressing of the financing mechanism used to coordinate and allocate DP’s assistances to line ministries implementing the projects/programs channeled through CARD.
Response by RGC: H.E. Ngy Chan Phal addressed that, CARD played a coordination role and supported M&E in the preparation and implementation of the NSPS. The line ministries were responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring the outcomes of each project/program activity relevant to their mandates, and working closely with DPs. The financing mechanism should be followed the existing mechanism that financing would be transferred directly to the line ministries implementing projects/programs. To ensure a speedy, efficient and effective holistic strategy implementation, the flows of financing would not be delayed and constraint.
Additional comments and suggestions were made by DP Representatives on the NSPS implementation during the meeting:
- Comments provided by H.E. Ms. Penny Richards, Ambassador of Australia were: (i) Coordination in developing social protection policy was a complicated task which would require strong cooperation between RGC and DPs and other stakeholders and(ii) Sustainability in development of the social protection projects/programs should be emphasized as they should focus on all poor groups in the society.
- Comments were raised by H.E. Mrs. Anne HOGLUND, Ambassador of Sweden were: (i) Land security issues for Cambodian poor in urban and rural areas was a challenge as there has been gaps in the land protection which would need constructive engagement of the RGC in establishing and enforcing an appropriate legal framework. (ii) Further consultation on draft law of NGOs between RGC and CSOs would be required to secure CSO role in service delivery.
In response these issues, H.E. Chair addressed the NSPS and land security were cross-cutting issues. RGC and DPs were asked to continue discuss on these issues significantly through TWG mechanisms.
Agenda item 2: Progress of Integration between Planning, Budgeting and ODA
H.E Ou Orhat, Secretary of State, Ministry of Planning addressed some significant progress related to the harmonization between Planning, Government Public Investment Expenditure and Development Cooperation Financing made by the Task Force comprising of four ministries (MoP, MEF, SNEC and CRDB/CDC), particularly the preparation of a Situation Analysis.
The format and content of Three-Year Rolling PIP (2011-2013) has been improved by the Task Force, and the methodology for preparing the Three Years Rolling PIP 2011-2013 has been updated and used for the preparation of the Three Year Rolling PIP 2012-2014. The first Draft Situation Analysis paper has been produced and discussed at a high level meeting of the four central agencies on 27 December 2010. The second draft has also been prepared and circulated within the Task Force for feedbacks/comments. The final Situation Analysis paper will be widely used for consultation and dialogue with DPs in relation to the development of an action plan to implement priorities set out in the paper.
Comments by H.E Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Ambassador of Japan: H.E Mr. Masafumi Kuroki raised comment that draft Situation Analysis should be further discussed with all DPs rather than only a selected few before finalizing. He also proposed to seek further discussion on two key issues: (i) The Government`s overall vision for the integration process and what impacts on or linkages with the reform programmes of public financial management and aid coordination management are foreseen and (ii) The current status of development of the action plan for rollout of the situation analysis recommendations, and plans for consultation with development partners in the process of action plan development. The World Bank Country Director clarified that while some development partners had been interviewed by the consultant, none had seen the draft report and all development partners would highly appreciate the opportunity to comment before it was finalized.
Response by RGC: H.E Dr. Sok Saravuth, Head of PFM Secretariat and Director of Budget Department, Ministry of Economy and Finance addressed that the Budget Strategic Plan (BSP) has been established in 2008 under PFMRP as the basic step of the budget preparation started in the first quarter every year. In this case, line ministries were asked to integrate both recurrent and capital budget including national and DP’s funding in the BSP. The integration process would be done through this coordinated process. Single budget document would be required in PFMRP rather than a single process.
Additional Comments were made by Mr. Tom Bathel Hansen, DANIDA Resident Representative, regarding POC scheme. He asked for clarification regarding how POC scheme would be reviewed in late this year and terminated in the mid-2012. He also raised whether the RGC promoted the development of full compensation reform so that DPs can support the process.
In response, a representative from Council of Administration Reform re-affirmed that the compensation reform and POC were distinct and separate issues which were not linked each other. However, studies and benchmarking have been conducted to review the best way to apply the compensation reform in this Cambodian reform process. Therefore, the process of compensation reform will be further reviewed and discussed around June this year. Significantly, the progress of implementing POC has been made as seven ministries have implemented POC with around 1000 staffs and nine ministries have requested to CAR and MEF to apply POC.
Additional Comments were made by Mr. Tony Lisle, UN Resident Coordinator sought for clarification regarding (i) The timeframe for the consultation process and dialogue with regard to the development action plan for the integration; and (ii) The indication of situation analysis which will be shared along with the timeframe of the dialogue.
In response to these issues, H.E Chair, concluded that the process was complex and would take time. A timeframe for consultation process would be established in due course once the Committee had finalized a draft and all stakeholders would be provided with an opportunity to comment and provide inputs.
Agenda item 3: Effectiveness of Partnership Dialogue Mechanism
H.E Chhieng Yanara, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary General of CRDB/CDC, mentioned briefly on main parts and objectives as well as the approaches of the Discussion Paper on “How to Make GDCC Meetings More Effective”. He also added that after the 17th GDCC meeting held in October 2010, there has been the needs to reconsider and strengthen the quality of this mechanism. After many studies and a wide range of dialogues, a discussion paper has been prepared by CRDB/CDC and shared with all relevant stakeholders for comments.
Therefore, three approaches to strengthen the GDCC dialogue were as following:
The government and DPs also agreed that the preparation of GDCC’s agenda is a vital issue. Generally, the agenda items were endorsed through the broad consultation and agreement between RGC and DPs. Further, the topics shall be accordant to the CDCF’s theme and objectives, and reflected unsolved sector and cross-sector issues. However, the timeframe and discussed topics of the meeting would be further discussed.
Comments by H.E. Andrew Mace, UK Ambassador: H.E. Andrew Mace mentioned that the three initial views to improve the GDCC dialogue quality reflected many points in the paper. First, to improve more GDCC quality, the “cluster” system should be used for discussing of cross-cutting priorities. Second, a short, focused and well agenda based on the CDCF conclusion and the JMIs is crucial. Third, the roles, structures and memberships of GDCC and TWGs would need to be reviewed to be consistent with changes in the broader development dialogue – the proposed Cambodia Development Forum – by focusing on the private sector and CSO arrangement. Further analytical works would be required to implement agreements made at CDCF. However, DPs would provide more supports to the three levels on-going aid effectiveness review dialogue.
Comments by Mr. Tom Bathel Hansen, DANIDA Resident Representative sought for clarification on how the 2012 review process is managed.
Response by RGC: In response to DP comments, H.E. Chhieng Yanara responded that:
In addition, he also stated the discussion paper was created followed to ten proposals from both the RGC and DPs. Moreover, a more comprehensive review of aid management policy would be conducted based on inputs of the 4th HLF on aid effectiveness and 4th CDCF meeting. In this case, the review of dialogue mechanisms would be an important theme of the reviewed policy. Therefore, DPs were asked to participate and support in the new policy preparation.
Additional comments and suggestions were made by DP Representatives regarding partnership between RGC and CSOs:
- USAID representative, Mr Flynn Fuller, suggested the RGC to reconsider the draft NGO law by expanding rather than restricting the CSO operations to enhance partnership in achieving critical development objectives in Cambodia. He noted that provision of US cooperation funds may be allocated only where, in the view of the US Government, there was a conducive environment for civil society to operate freely.
- CCC representative, Mr Lun Borithy, also asked RGC for reconsideration and further discussion on the draft law, including consider the merit points already submitted in previous discussions.
In response, H.E. Chair expressed his appreciation toward the involvement of all CSOs and DPs in supporting the country’s development. In addition, he stated that a continued discussion on the draft NGO law would be conducted in the next meeting of Council of Minister.
Agenda item 4: Other business
H.E Sak Setha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, was provided with the opportunity to briefly present the report on progress of the formulation and arrangement of the Sub-National Democratic Reform (SNDD) and the Three-year Implementation Plan (IP3).
First, He highlighted that based on the 10-Year National Program for SNDD 2010-2019, the first Three-Year Implementation Plan (IP3) has been formulated and approved during its fifth meeting on 30 November 2010 with the aims of strengthening the capacity and developing the functions of the District/Municipal level, continuing support to the Commune/Sangkats. Besides, the law on the Financial Regime and Property Management for Sub-National Administration has already been endorsed by the Council of Ministers and has been sent to the National Assembly.
The draft MoUs with the six sub-program implementing agencies and the 24 provinces/capital are nearing completion and will be reviewed and agreed between NCDD and the respective sub-program implementing agencies by the end of this month. A draft memorandum on the PBA has been prepared and discussed with the concerned DPs. He also noted that an additional component of the IP3 had been added to address gender and will be implemented by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.
H.E. Chair, in his closing remarks, thanked all participants for their fruitful and constructive inputs to make the GDCC meeting an effective occasion for dialogue and partnership.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 am.
 HEFs, school feeding, scholarships and public works are already addressing major vulnerabilities faced by the poor and are proving effective. However, as we have seen, some of these programmes, such as public works, tend to be implemented by multiple development partners on an ad hoc basis without much coordination, and their medium-term sustainability is often questionable.