Strengthening National Systems in Cambodia

Successful and sustainable achievement of Cambodia's development objectives will depend on establishing capacity to design and implement policies, and to manage public resources through effective institutions. The effort to strengthen national systems has therefore been identified as a priority developmental objective for the Royal Government and its partners.

This web-page provides a summary overview of efforts to strengthen national systems and the role of the development partnership in supporting public sector systems and encouraging their increased use for managing development assistance. This page also provides links to useful resources related to the effort to strengthen and use country systems in Cambodia, including to a page that provides an inventory of key documents on national systems.

What are country systems?

In the Cambodia context, country systems include the institutional procedures, mechanisms and arrangements for formulating policies and supporting their implementation through:

  1. planning

  2. budgeting (principally through PFM reform)

  3. execution of budgeted funds (use of Treasury systems)

  4. procurement

  5. reporting, accounting and auditing

  6. monitoring and evaluation

Beyond these core systems are also more specialized functions, such as social or environmental impact assessments, and management/administrative systems such as those addressed under the National Public Administration Reform.

Why is strengthening country systems important?

The effort to strengthen country systems and to increase their use by development partners is linked to the effort of the RGC's reform and sectoral programmes to develop sustainable capacity for developing, implementing and monitoring RGC policies in an accountable manner. The Royal Government of Cambodia emphasises the capacity development role of external assistance in supporting the core reforms and other efforts directed at developing and strengthening systems in the public sector.

What progress has been made?

While there has been strong ownership and development partner support for the RGC core reform and sector-based programmes, the use of national systems has remained very low (see note that summarises progress).

In 2010 a mapping study "National Structures and Systems for Aid Implementation in Cambodia" - was therefore commissioned by the development partners of the European Union, in coordination with the Partnership and Harmonisation TWG. This study provided some insight into current systems use and the issues that confront both RGC and development partners in strengthening and using these systems.

In May 2011, RGC hosted a National Workshop on Strengthening and using Country Systems. This highlighted the need to: (i) disseminate information on the major reform programmes; (ii) to coordinate strategically amongst the major reforms to facilitate implementation; (iii) to recognize and address the challenges of managing change; and (iv) to extend leadership and technical support to systems strengthening.