1. H.E. Mr. Keat Chhon, Chairman of the Government-Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC) opened the meeting by welcoming all participants to this second meeting of the GDCC. He informed the meeting that the main agenda item for this meeting is a review of progress that has been made by the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) towards achieving the targets of the Joint Monitoring Indicators (JMIs) agreed at the last CG Meeting.
2. Before beginning the discussion on the agenda item of the meeting, he thanked the Chairs of the Technical Working Groups and representatives of development partners who have been working together to improve aid effectiveness and to maximize its benefits for the people of Cambodia. On behalf of the Royal Government, he said that he strongly encourages all development partners to place a special emphasis on ensuring that Government representatives have real ownership and leadership in the planning and management of the work of these TWGs, not only to strengthen Government ownership of Cambodia's development activities but also to maximize the effectiveness and benefits of this new mechanism.
3. He informed the meeting that to prepare a briefing note for this meeting, the Secretariat of GDCC, at the CDC/CRDB, had sent to the Chairs of all Technical Working Groups a questionnaire to collect information on the current status of their work. He said that he would like to begin this meeting by asking H.E. Mr. Chhieng Yanara, who is the Secretary General of GDCC, to make a brief presentation on the results reported by the TWGs. He said that following this presentation, the Chairperson(s) of each TWG would be asked to make a brief comment—about 3 to 5 minutes—to provide any additional information that they may wish to bring to the attention of this meeting, and the meeting would be open for discussion.
4. To start the meeting proceedings, he invited H.E. Mr. Chhieng Yanara to make a brief presentation on progress that has been reported by the TWGs.
5. H.E. Mr. Chhieng Yanara began his presentation by providing an update on the current status of the formation of the TWGs. He informed the meeting that the proposal endorsed by Samdech Prime Minister at the Pre-CG Meeting held on 10 September 2004 called for the establishment of 17 sector/thematic TWGs. However, he noted that in the process of the preparation of Cambodia's Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment to implement Rome Declaration's commitments, the Royal Government and the development partners have also agreed to establish the 18th TWG on Planning and Poverty Reduction to support the work on the preparation of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) for 2006-2010. This Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment was approved by the Council of Ministers on 19 November 2004. He said that, as of December 2004, therefore the restructured composition of the Working Groups includes 18 TWGS.
6. In terms of progress over the last quarter in getting the TWGs off the ground he said that the progress has been mixed. Some TWGs have taken charge and are moving ahead. Others are at various stages in getting the work going. As for the TWG on Planning and Poverty Reduction, a government working group has been formed. The TWG on Planning and Poverty Reduction is not as yet in place, and so far donor lead facilitator(s) has not been identified. Referring to the "Briefing Note for the Meeting" that was distributed at the meeting (see Annex A), he shared information on the names of the Chairs and Lead Donor facilitators for each TWG that have been reported to CDC/CRDB as of now. He asked participants to send information to the Secretariat of GDCC at CDC/CRDB if there are any changes.
7. He reported that based on progress reported the TWGs, the Secretariat of the GDCC has summarized the information for each Joint Monitoring Indicator that was agreed at the last CG Meeting. He used in his PowerPoint presentation the material presented in Annex II in the Briefing Note for the Meeting (Annex A) in which information is organized in a matrix format that included the following four headings:
(i) Areas (text
taken from CG Joint Monitoring Indicators table).
8. Following this presentation H.E. Mr. Keat Chhon opened the floor for discussion and proposed to follow the order in which H.E. Mr. Chhieng Yanara has made his presentation. Following is a summary of the discussion and decisions made regarding the JMIs:
and Increasing Accountability
H.E. Mr. Sean Visoth, Acting Head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Council of Ministers informed the meeting that two agencies are involved: the Ministry of National Assembly Relations and Inspection and the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers. On drafting of the information access law, he said that this will be done by the Office of the COM.
Another issue raised concerned the case of diversion of food from the WFP food-for-work program.
H.E. Mr. Sean Visoth, informed that investigations are on-going and that the Government and the WFP have already reached an agreement on compensation on food loss in order to resume food-for-work operations that are important to poor people in the countryside. He also said that the Government will continue its investigation to find those responsible for the food loss and take appropriate administrative and legal actions against them. He informed that as of today, administrative sanctions have been taken against two ministry officials working in a provincial department. They have to pay back the amount of food loss, and the Government will take the same action against those found out later.
H.E. the Chair thanked the development partners and asked which specific institution within the Government is the counterpart in dealing with the WFP food diversion case. The meeting was informed that it is the Council of Ministers. H.E. the Chair asked the meeting to take note of this and liaise with the donor community on the WFP issue.
and Judicial Reform and Protection of Human Rights
H.E. Mr. Som Sophal, Vice-chariman of the Council of Jurists and representative of the Legal and Judicial Reform TWG, informed the meeting that the RGC is working closely with representatives of the donor community on how to expedite and modernize the legal and judicial system and on how to expedite the passage of all the important laws especially the 8 fundamental laws which are of concern to the donor community. He remarked that it is difficult to say when those laws will be ready because after the review of these laws by the Council of Jurists, the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Council of Magistrates would have to provide additional technical information on the draft laws, and in the case of Civil Code, the Ministry of Justice will have to work closely with the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and other line ministries to ensure its consistency with the existing laws - - a process that causes delays.
H.E. the Chair noted that considerable progress has been made and asked the Council of Ministers to expedite the passage of these laws. He emphasized that these laws are badly needed to further strengthen governance and not to satisfy donors. He also made an appeal to co-chairs of the TWG to help push matters forward and for TWG to be proactive.
H.E. Mr. Chhuon Chham, Deputy Secretary General of CAR explained the salary issues is related to progress in public financial reform and that CAR fully supports public financial management reform because it is key to increased revenue and effective and improved expenditure control which can lead to pay raise for civil servants.
H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance and Chairman of PFM TWG informed the meeting that an MOU between CAR and MEF to implement a MBPI scheme for the PFM program is being finalized and will soon be signed by both parties.
H.E. the Chair noted that pilots will be gradually implemented starting with PFM, Trade Facilitation, and Deconcentration and Decentralisation; and that public administration reform and other reform areas will follow the merit-based pay principle endorsed by Samdech Prime Minister.
H.E. Mr. Chhieng Yanara informed the meeting that the first draft of the strategic framework on D&D has been completed and because the D&D reforms is a critical and sensitive issue that will affect the whole governance system of the country, the draft needs approval from policy makers at the highest level.
H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, Chairman of the PFM TWG informed the meeting that the TWG is finalizing the second update on PFM program that will include program management guidelines and manual, including administrative arrangements, the MBPI guidelines, and implementation and monitoring indicators.
Agriculture and Natural Resource Management
H.E. Mr. Chan Tong Yves, Secretary of State of the MAFF and Co-chairman of Agriculture & Water TWG noted that the MAFF and the MWRM have developed and implemented their individual sector strategies, but there has been limited coordination and harmonization between the two strategies. In this regard, there is a need to develop a medium-term agriculture sector strategy including water.
Mr. Sar Sovann, Chairman of the Land TWG informed the meeting that there has been some confusion about indictors 1 to 5 and clarification has been sought on which ministries/agencies are responsible for reporting in this area. He said that land is a cross-cutting issue and no sole agency can solve this. Therefore, the TWG has requested the Council of Land Policy to set up a working group to solve this issue.
Gender, Poverty, and
H.E. Mr. Ou Orhat, Secretary of State, Ministry of Planning, reported that since November 2004 the Ministry of Planning has been working on establishing an inter-ministerial technical working group. He pointed out that the composition of the inter-ministerial technical working group will be finalized by March 11, 2005 and the technical working group will be chaired by the MOP, MEF and SNEC.
H.E. Chair urged the ministries and agencies to quickly nominate officials to the TWG before 11 March 2005, and appointed H.E. Dr. Hang Chhuon Naron, Secretary General of MEF and Secretary General of SNEC to the TWG.
Health & Education:
H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth of the MEF elaborated in detail on PAP disbursement issues. PAP has had a lot of difficulties not only in terms of cash flow, but also in its design and implementation. PAP was supposed to be a pilot program as a performance or budgeting mechanism with specific outputs and indicators for monitoring. However, the program has not been implemented as planned. So far, no guidelines and criteria for program operations and monitoring have been developed.
H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth also explained in detail the issue of disbursements. He informed the meeting that a solution which was discussed at the PFM TWG meeting is to disburse the entire 2004 rolled-over budget and approach at least 80-90 percent of the budget for 2005. This would eliminate the roll over in budget allocation by 2006. MEF is mindful about late disbursement. He noted that, the issue does not solely depend on budget capacity but more on the capacity of line ministries to use the budget appropriately according to the rules and procedures in the Financial Law, especially on procurement. Lastly, he informed the meeting that PFM TWG has discussed and agreed on the continuation of the taskforce.
H.E. Chair informed the meeting that around CR 1 billion are now available for the two ministries (Education and Health), and that every month one eighth of the revenue collected is reserved for PAP budgets for the two ministries.
H.E. Chair emphasized the importance of implementing the harmonization and alignment initiative. A fundamental element in implementing this initiative is for Government and donors to have an open dialogue. Dialogue is a key aspect in creating a better understanding between Government and donors.
9. H.E. Mr. Keat Chhon, Chairman of GDCC, concluded that all the targets of the JMIs that were agreed to at the last CG meeting have been "broadly met" during the first quarter. However, there is still much to be done. He urged all the TWGs to be proactive. He announced that the next GDCC meeting would be held on June 6, 2005.
10. Following the meeting, a signing ceremony between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations Country Team on the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2006-2010 was held at the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
11. The second GDCC meeting adjourned at 12:30 pm.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
H.E. Mr. Keat Chhon,
Senior Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance Chairman of
H.E. Mr. Hong Sun Huot,
Senior Minister, Chairman of National AIDS Authority
H.E. Ms. Lisa Kim
Filipetto, Ambassador of Australia