FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kingdom of Cambodia
Nation – Religion – King
Third Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum
2-3 June 2010
"national strategic development plan
to guide the development partnership in
PHNOM PENH, June 3rd, 2010 — The third meeting of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum (CDCF) was held in Phnom Penh on 2-3 June 2010. The CDCF provides an opportunity for Government to engage in high-level dialogue with international and Cambodian development partners to review progress, reflect on challenges, and identify actions that are required to reach the targets set out in the Rectangular Strategy – Phase II, the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), and the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals (CMDGs). The CDCF demonstrates Government leadership of the national development agenda while maintaining and strengthening partnerships with the international community and with civil society.
The theme of the 2010 CDCF meeting was "Implementation of the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II – using the NSDP Update". This theme set the stage for dialogue on the recently updated National Strategic Development Plan, which has been extended to 2013 and sets out a path for Cambodia to return to a path of sustainable and high-level growth in the wake of the global economic downturn.
The consensus of the meeting was that the successful implementation of the NSDP will be underpinned by a return to higher levels of growth, continued macroeconomic stability, good governance and an enabling environment. CDCF participants emphasised and agreed the importance of implementing and coordinating the Royal Government's reform programmes, especially in sub-national democratic development, public financial management, and civil service reform. Development partners provided an indication of assistance of more that USD 1 billion in 2010, with support likely to be maintained at that level for 2011 and 2012. A set of 20 “Joint Monitoring Indicators” were endorsed at the meeting, providing a framework for implementing and monitoring results in a spirit of partnership, cooperation and accountability.
The CDCF meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister KEAT CHHON, Minister of Economy and Finance and First Vice-Chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia together with the Alternate Chair, Minister AUN PORN MONYRATH, Chairman of the Supreme National Economic Council. The meeting was attended by senior officials from Ministries and Departments of Government, approximately 25 delegations from the international community including development partners and diplomatic missions, and representation from civil society and the private sector.
In welcoming delegates to the third CDCF meeting, Deputy Prime Minister KEAT CHHON noted that continued peace and stability, the fruits of the “Win-Win Policy” of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, had benefited Cambodia’s socio-economic development. Having weathered the impact of the global economic downturn, the Royal Government will further deepen the implementation of its core reform programmes. The third CDCF, H.E. KEAT CHHON remarked, provides an opportunity to dialogue on the progress and challenges, and jointly identify key priority actions for national development “to strengthen our partnerships, improve effectiveness and efficiency and mutual accountability in the use of public resources”. This would ensure effective implementation of the NSDP.
Speaking on behalf of development partners, Ms. ANNETTE DIXON, Country Director of the World Bank, confirmed that "we share the same goal" of achieving results for the Cambodian people, particularly the poor and vulnerable. Our success will be determined by the effectiveness of our partnership. She identified the need to ensure that economic recovery addressed issues of equity, diversification, transparency and competitiveness, as well as enhanced social protection and sustainability.
The CDCF was formally opened by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia with a keynote address that served as guidance for discussion during the two days of the forum. Welcoming international development partners, civil society representatives and Government colleagues to the meeting, the Prime Minister identified in his keynote address six interrelated key themes:
During the remainder of the Fourth Legislature, Samdech Prime Minister assured, "the Royal Government will not relax its effort in keeping Cambodia on track of development, including poverty reduction, peace and political stability, good governance, continued reform".
Delegates welcomed the passage by the National Assembly of the NSDP Update on 31 May 2010. Participants agreed that good progress toward the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals has been made including achievements in reduction of child mortality; improved enrolment and admission rates in schools; access to HIV treatment; and access to water supply. Nevertheless, more needs to be done in order to secure the desired progress on Goals relating to acute malnutrition, through addressing cross-cutting issues such as food security in the context of the Health Sector Plan. Continued efforts would also need to be made in primary education, maternal mortality, and environmental sustainability, including rural sanitation and water. Three further principal areas of consensus for further action were identified: (a) finalising the NSDP indicators and Monitoring Framework; (b) harmonising the planning, budgeting and aid management exercises around the PFM reform; and (c) consistently applying the core reforms to support NSDP implementation.
Participants recognized the Royal Government's commitment to a stable and prudent macroeconomic management. Implementation of the Public Financial Management (PFM) reform will be deepened; the PFM reform provides an appropriate framework for coordination and results-based dialogue across the whole of the Royal Government and between the Royal Government and its development partners. Participants agreed on continued effort to improve transparent and effective management of revenues from extractive industries. The private sector must be nurtured as the driver of growth and the creator of jobs and Royal Government policy will focus on consolidating the existing private sector base while creating the enabling conditions, the human capital and the infrastructure for emerging industries. The Private Sector Forum has been highlighted internationally as a best practice and has the full confidence of the Royal Government in taking this work forward.
On agricultural productivity and diversification—issues that are important to the economy at large as well as to the livelihoods of millions of Cambodians—four main priority areas were identified by both the Royal Government and development partners, which include: rural infrastructure such as irrigation construction and maintenance, marketing and finance systems; expanding research and extension services; focusing on agri-business, diversification and trade, including in standard setting; and ensuring transparent and equitable access to productive assets such as land, capital and inputs.
The forum agreed on the importance of a National Social Protection Strategy as a priority as eloquently summed up by Samdech Prime Minister in his Keynote Address: "From journey in hardest period of the crisis, Cambodia has gained lessons and experiences. From these lessons and experiences, we have witnessed a need for social security system that is rigorous, comprehensive and in accord with capacity and need of Cambodia."
The forum was honored by the presence of Deputy Prime Minister SAR KHENG during the discussion on sub-national democratic development reiterating Royal Government's leadership and commitment in deepening the reform. Participants agreed that this reform is not only "whole of government" but also "whole of development partner". As the three-year Implementation Plan is developed, all stakeholders made a commitment to ensuring that resources are managed effectively and programmed in a coherent manner.
The forum was grateful for the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister SOK AN of the Royal Government’s public administration and legal and judicial reforms as well as accountability and combating corruption. Deputy Prime Minister SOK AN emphasised that good governance and the Rule of Law are at the heart of the Royal Government’s Rectangular Strategy. Reported progress on respective reforms included: on anti-corruption, the Law on Anti-Corruption was promulgated. The mechanisms, resources and personnel to implement the Law are now being put in place. On legal and judicial reform, the Civil Code, Civil Procedures Code, Penal Code and Penal Procedures Code have been promulgated. Priority is being placed on further strengthening of legal framework (finalization of the remaining laws such as law on the organization of the court, law on the statute of judges and prosecutors and law on the organization and functioning of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; consideration on administrative and administrative procedures code). On administrative reforms, steps have been taken to ensure transparency in the provision of the public services including publication of a compendium on public service provision. The Priority Operating Costs instrument as a temporary mechanism will be finalized by the end of this month and reviewed ahead of the next CDCF in the context of a broader review on progress achieved in the public administration reform. Longer term reform to compensation – which proceeds on a "parallel track" - will need to be sequenced properly and will be informed by resource availability and the principle of sustainability.
The need to remain focused on longer-term efforts to maintain and strengthen public service capacity based on the principles of equity, unity, sustainability, merit, transparency and performance was agreed by all participants at this meeting. In this way it is possible to "Serve People Better".
On each of the issues discussed, delegates agreed that the successful implementation of the NSDP rests on the capacity of Government to coordinate multi-sectoral reforms and on the effectiveness of partnerships. The discussions on aid effectiveness considered the management of the core reforms, the use of national systems, harmonisation of planning and budgeting arrangements, and more coherent development partner support as an important focus. The increased use of programme-based approaches, it was agreed, provides a response to managing multiple development partners but also to engaging across the whole of Government, as well as working with civil society.
Noting that the principles of ownership and partnership are the hallmarks of the two-day meeting, Deputy Prime Minister KEAT CHHON then led the meeting through a dialogue dedicated to creating an increased understanding of the role of development assistance in supporting national development, the need for assistance to have a greater impact, and the manner in which development partners and Government could work more closely together on activities that would directly contribute to the achievement of development goals. A consensus was formed around a series of concrete proposals that would promote the effective and coordinated use of all resources, in line with commitments made by the Royal Government and its international development partners. Accordingly, a set of "Joint Monitoring Indicators" were endorsed by the CDCF of priority goals and actions across key sectors and reforms. Implemented by Government, with support from development partners in the period leading up to the next CDCF meeting, these Indicators will be monitored and followed-up in periodic meetings between the Government and development partners.
The Multi-Year Indicative Financing Framework, it was acknowledged, has provided a useful tool for informing the planning and budgeting process at both central and sectoral levels and it has contributed to the promotion of more predictable external financing. Indications of support received from all major development partners demonstrate progress in meeting commitment to predictable financing agreed in the Accra Agenda for Action, a global framework for effective development cooperation. Development partners indicated support of more than one billion US Dollars in 2010, with positive indications of support to the NSDP of a similar magnitude for 2011 and 2012.
Delegates agreed that the challenge now facing Cambodia was to maintain macroeconomic performance in the face of significant global uncertainty while also extending support to rural development, the diversification of agriculture and the protection of the poorest members of society. The successful implementation of the NSDP, and the attainment of the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals, will therefore be determined by effective coordination of macroeconomic policies, sector programmes, and core reforms of the Royal Government. Development partners pledged their commitment to supporting this endeavour.
The agreements reached at the meeting will be taken forward through existing Government-Development Partner Joint Technical Working Groups and progress will be monitored by the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee. The Forum tentatively agreed that the fourth meeting of the CDCF will be held in Phnom Penh at the end of 2011.