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Eighteenth Meeting of the
Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee (GDCC)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 20 April 2011


Opening Remarks

by Deputy Prime Minister KEAT CHHON, M.P
Minister of Economy and Finance

First Vice-Chairman, Council for the Development of Cambodia
Chairman, GDCC


- Excellencies and Colleagues from the Royal Government

- Honorable Ambassadors and Distinguished Representatives of Development Partners

- Ladies and Gentlemen


1 -  It is a pleasure to once again welcome Government colleagues, development partners and civil society representatives to the Palais du Gouvernement for this meeting of the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee. Before we begin, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, to convey to the Government of Japan and its people, particularly to the victims and members of bereaved families, our deepest sympathy and condolences for the loss of lives and colossal damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. We hope that the resourcefulness and solidarity of the Japanese people will help to secure the recovery from these devastating tragic events.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


2 - It is six months since our last GDCC meeting, which took place on 18th October 2010. In that period we have seen the economy continue to recover and opportunities to create employment and boost social and economic welfare have been expanded.


3 - At the Fourth Cambodia Economic Forum on 16th and 17th February 2011, where the theme was "Cambodian Economy in Post Crisis Environment: Industrial Policy-Options towards a sustainable development", I believe we confirmed that Cambodia is very well positioned to take forward an ambitious and successful programme of growth that will deliver benefits for all Cambodians. With economic growth expected to be more than 6 percent in 2011 and with almost all sectors contributing to this growth, we can expect the private sector to play leading role in delivering these benefits. The public purse is also in commendable shape: revenues show a sustainable upward trend that provides scope for increased public investment as we pursue a sound industrial policy that will diversity both our products and our markets.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


4 -  A number of important reforms have also made notable progress, including on Sub-National Democratic Development, with the commencement of the three- year implementation plan. The National Social Protection Strategy for the Poor and Vulnerable (2011-2015) was approved at the cabinet meeting on 18th March. In the context of my earlier remarks on the optimistic outlook for the economy - but also the challenges that lie ahead - the National Social Protection Strategy for the Poor and Vulnerable is an important piece in the Government's effort to implement the Rectangular Strategy and to maintain balanced growth. This is our first agenda item this morning and I look forward to our discussion on how we can ensure we support the transition to implementation and how we can each play our part in supporting this multi-sectoral approach.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


5 - Our GDCC meetings are closely linked to our high-level consultations that take place at the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum. It is important that we maintain this link and ensure that our agenda remains focused on following-up and monitoring our progress towards the commitments that we made on June 3rd 2010.


6 - I am therefore pleased that our second agenda item will be an update on progress on the harmonisation of planning, budgeting and ODA mechanisms. I believe the progress made in developing the Budget Strategic Plans, which are an integral part of the PFM Reform Programme second platform, means that we have made good progress towards this goal. Colleagues from the Ministry of Planning will provide a longer-term strategic review on how planning and budgeting processes can be further streamlined and coordinated to support NSDP implementation through a more coherent approach to planning and budgeting exercise that incorporates development cooperation resources.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

7 - Our third and final agenda item concerns the format and management of the GDCC meeting itself. I have been the Chair of this Committee since its first meeting on 2nd December 2004 and in that time I have seen important and significant improvements to our partnership dialogue structures. I welcome our on-going effort to ensure the continued effectiveness and efficiency of our meetings. My colleague, Chhieng Yanara, in his capacity as the Head of the GDCC Secretariat, will lead us through a short discussion on the management of the GDCC and how we may work together to ensure a productive dialogue based on the partnership principles that we have always sought to guide our work.

8 - I hope that we can have a constructive discussion on the management of the GDCC. It is a valuable mechanism for regular and high-level contact. As the link between the Technical Working Groups - where more routine work and technical dialogue takes place - and the CDCF - which is a higher-level and less frequent opportunity to set new goals and commitments related to the country's development - it is important that we strike the right balance between a technical focus and higher-level discussion. The Joint Monitoring Indicators of course provide the framework for our discussions here but we also need to use this valuable opportunity to explore how we can together address other challenges and priorities. I will welcome your contributions to this discussion.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


9 - I hope my opening remarks have set a clear structure for our dialogue today. I encourage all participants to make constructive and informed contributions and to ensure positive results from our discussion.

Thank you for your attention