Development Partner Opening Remarks

Delivered by Mr. Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Manager

At the 18th Meeting of the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee
Phnom Penh, April 20, 2011

Excellency Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance

Ladies and Gentlemen:


Good morning and thank you to Excellency Keat Chhon for the useful introduction and for his chairmanship of this 18th GDCC.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to provide the opening remarks as Lead Development Partner Facilitator. I will keep my remarks brief to ensure maximum time for our dialogue on the agenda items.


First, I would like to thank H.E. Chhieng Yanara and his team at CDC for their efficient preparation and organisation for the GDCC. Development partners are also very appreciative of the efforts of Government representatives who have collaborated with development partners to prepare for a frank and productive GDCC discussion.


The Summary Progress Report of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) gives a useful overview of the achievements of the TWGs. We are pleased to note that the majority of TWGs are on track to achieve their JMI targets and the overall good performance of the JMIs.


Development partners also take note that the TWGs report three chief challenges to their progress: resource constraints; complexity of issues and capacity levels; coordination required across various ministries and agencies. We look forward in this GDCC to focussing on some of the specific constraints faced by TWGs, and identifying what actions or decisions are needed to move forward.


Government and development partners have agreed on three important items for today's discussions. We look forward to hearing Government's plans and how development partners can best assist these endeavours for:


1.ensuring sustainable financing and effective implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy

2.integrating strategic planning, budgeting and aid management, and

3.further improving the effectiveness of partnership dialogue mechanisms


We appreciate the Government's recommendation to conclude GDCCs with a summary of agreed actions. This will be very useful to monitor our progress and deepen our dialogue.


It is useful to note that the GDCC is just one meeting in our on-going dialogue and partnership. As we discuss the proposed agenda items today, it is important that we keep the global context and the country's long-term development in mind.


This GDCC is taking place at a time when Cambodia's economy has recovered strongly from the global economic crisis and the government is thinking beyond the crisis to further diversify its economy. As I said at the 4th Cambodia Economic Forum a couple of months ago, Cambodia has the potential to maintain sustainable, long-term growth at 7-8% a year and the Royal Government has an opportunity to shape the future and to make the future of inclusive and sustainable growth a reality by following its comparative advantages and putting in place policies and capacities that support equitable, private sector-led growth.


One of Cambodia's comparative advantages is its abundant land and land, as we all recognize, is also one of the most challenging issues in Cambodia. With rapid urbanization, the resumption of fast economic growth and the increasing interest from investors in large-scale commercial farming, land issue will become only more challenging, as exemplified in the Boeung Kak Lake area.


Good land planning, land tenure security and a fair and transparent framework for resettlement are critical if Cambodia is to benefit from this comparative advantage. While important progress has been made by the Royal Government in issuing land titles, land tenure security and resettlement remain a challenge.

Development Partners believe that it is in Cambodia's best interests to establish national policies which ensure that resettlements follow due legal processes and provide fair compensation and support to enable residents to be resettled in such a way that does not cause additional harm and indeed helps to improve their living conditions.


Development partners stand ready to assist the Royal Government in addressing this and other challenging issues facing the country's development and we look forward to a positive response from the government in tackling these challenges.


The success of this GDCC will be judged on the quality of the dialogue and the effectiveness of the decisions we reach. Our partnership is based on our mutual interest in achieving the development results that are of vital importance for the wellbeing of the people of Cambodia, in particular those living in poverty and hardship. In this connection, another issue of mutual interest and relevance is the importance that a broad and varied civil society plays in contributing to development including social protection and providing advocacy and services for the poor and development partners would be interested in discussing the possible impact of the draft NGO law on the delivery of development assistance in the country.


We look forward to a productive dialogue today taking us forward to achieve our shared goals.


Thank you.