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Nation - Religion - King

Eighth Meeting of the
Government-Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 5 October 2006

Opening Remarks
by Sr. Minister Keat Chhon, M.P.
Minister of Economy and Finance
First Vice-Chairman, Council for the Development of Cambodia
Chairman, GDCC
Royal Government of Cambodia



- Excellencies and Colleagues from the Royal Government
- Ambassadors and Distinguished Representatives of Development Cooperation Partners
- Ladies and Gentlemen


1.   It an honor and a pleasure for me to welcome you to the eighth meeting of the Government-Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC).


2.  Since we last met in June, there have been some significant developments with regard to our partnership in Cambodia. Before I reflect on these developments in more detail, I would like to take this opportunity to observe and re-affirm that the sprit of our growing and evolving partnership is a dominant theme. This gives me great pleasure: first, because it indicates that the status of our partnership is strong and robust; and, second, because it bodes well for the future development cooperation and for the future of Cambodia.


3.  Most significant of the developments since our last meeting is the proposal to reform the Consultative Group mechanism (CG mechanism) into the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum (CDCF). It is my privilege to inform you that the proposal was endorsed by Samdech HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Royal Government on 28 September 2006, paving the way for the first CDCF meeting to be held in 2007. This is excellent news for all of us, and we look forward to the CDCF serving at the apex of a structure that becomes a best practice of both ownership and partnership.


4.  In this regard I would also like to make some observations about the process by which the CDCF proposal was discussed and agreed. After our meeting on 23rd August, a series of consultations and dialogue opportunities took place. These facilitated a constructive meeting of minds that allowed us to complete this exercise to the mutual satisfaction of all parties. I believe that this spirit of partnership will remain a constant theme in our dialogue. I therefore thank all Government colleagues and our Development Partners, not only for their support, but for the constructive spirit of their engagement.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


5.   As an embodiment of this commitment to partnership, and the principles that will guide us in implementing the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), we have been developing a revised Declaration on Enhancing Aid Effectiveness. Again, it gives me significant pleasure to announce that we will hold a signing ceremony immediately after this meeting. We hope that the Declaration, which applies the Paris Declaration to our own context, will provide further momentum to our collective efforts to maximise the impact of development assistance.


6.   Other initiatives have also been proceeding apace. We are continuing our work on the Review of the GDCC-TWG mechanism through the same adhoc group that was convened to discuss the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum (CDCF). We will soon deliberate together on a revised proposal that we are pleased to share with you today. Several of our development partners have observed that this is a critical exercise in establishing a well-functioning, comprehensive and cohesive dialogue architecture. We concur with this view and appreciate the spirit of constructive dialogue that we are sure will result in concrete progress.


7.   We have also finalised the OECD-DAC survey. This was a time-consuming exercise but one that I hope you will agree was worthwhile. Our collective aid effectiveness efforts must be based on objective evidence that allows us to monitor our joint progress, and we intend to use the survey’s results to inform our efforts.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


8.   Regarding the management of our GDCC meetings, I would like to make three observations:

  1. As agreed at our last GDCC meeting, we will no longer discuss the Consolidated Report on the Progress of the TWGs. The Report is available, however, and I would like to observe that several of our TWGs have requested the GDCC to take note of some of the constraints that they face. These include information sharing and participation in the Fisheries TWG; together with the need to secure funding for programmes in Food and Nutrition, Infrastructure, and Forestry. The Planning and Poverty Reduction TWG has identified general alignment issues as a priority, while the Anti-Trafficking Law remains a concern to the Gender group.

  2. In light of these observations by our TWGs, I remind you that the GDCC mechanism is available as a forum to discuss any significant or cross-cutting matters that TWGs deem necessary for a higher-level of dialogue, including land, for example.

  3. With this in mind, we propose that the agenda for future GDCC meetings be subject to increased deliberation so that issues of concern to both Government and to our partners can be appropriately identified and prioritised in a spirit of partnership.

9. Let me now turn to the agenda that we have agreed for this morning’s discussion. We will focus on the following issues:


  1. Human Development - specifically issues related to Joint Monitoring Indicator number ten, which concerns maternal health; education enrolment and completion rates; gender issues; and HIV/AIDS. The Ministry of Planning, as the NSDP focal Ministry, will lead this agenda item but I have asked the concerned Ministry colleagues to offer any elaboration that may be necessary.

  2. Decentraliation and Deconcentration — we will have an opportunity to discuss progress and challenges in this important reform.

  3. The Anti-Corruption Law and the newly-established Anti-Corruption Body that was announced in a Sub-Decree in August.

  4. If time permits, we may turn to other issues. We are aware, for example, that our development partners wish to discuss land. While noting our previous joint commitment to provide for a more substantive dialogue by limiting the scope of the agenda, we will of course do our utmost to accommodate this request. Otherwise we can most certainly return to land issues at a future meeting of the GDCC. As we have heard, some TWGs have also raised issues concerning resources, alignment, participation and other matters that have adversely affected their ability to implement their programmes. We may also return to these issues if there is time, or else consider them for a future dialogue.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


10.   With these brief remarks, I invite any comments from you before I turn to the Ministry of Planning to lead us through the first of our agenda items.

  I thank you for your kind attention. With these brief remarks, I now turn to the Ministry of Planning to lead us through the first of our agenda items.

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