Nation - Religion - King

Fifth Meeting of the
 Government-Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 12 December 2005

Opening Remarks
by Sr. Minister KEAT CHHON, M.P.

Minister of Economy and Finance
First Vice-Chairman, Council for the Development of Cambodia
and Chairman, GDCC


- Colleagues from the Government
- Distinguished Representatives from bi-multilateral and International Cooperation Community
- Ladies and Gentlemen

1.      It is an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome you to the fifth meeting of the Government-Donor Coordination Committee-GDCC. At this meeting we will review progress that has been made since the last CG meeting by TWGs in implementing their action plans and progress that they have made toward achieving the targets of the Joint Monitoring Indicators (JMI). We will also review information that has been collected by the Secretariat of the GDCC from TWGs on resources that the TWGs required to implement their action plans and resources that were mobilized and delivered over the last year.  

2.       In the agenda for this meeting, in addition to these items on review of progress over the last year, I would like to add for our discussion today two items to lay a solid foundation for our work over the next year. First, I would the meeting to discuss and agree on the process for identifying the Joint Monitoring Indicators for endorsement at the next CG meeting. Second, I would like the meeting to discuss how we can improve the pledging process at the CG meeting.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

3.       Looking back at our work in 2005, I believe we have made substantive progress in creating a more effective on-going Government-Donor dialogue process both at the policy level through the GDCC, and for managing the implementation of development cooperation activities by implementing ministries and agencies and contributing development partners through the TWG mechanism. For the Royal Government, the TWGs and GDCC is a very important mechanism that is very much in line with the principles of the Rome and Paris Declarations. I have no doubt that if we commit ourselves to work together to make this mechanism work effectively, it will enhance aid effectiveness -- if we remain focused on the achievement of development results in an environment of mutual accountability.

4.      The year 2005 has been a year of learning-by-doing for both ministries and agencies, as well as donor members of the TWGs. As in any endeavour, some are functioning better than others. As we move forward, I would like to suggest that we carry out a review to examine whether or not the TWGs as they are currently structured, are appropriated to meet our current and emerging needs. I suggest that we also develop broad guidelines for the operations of the TWGs with a view to minimize burden both on ministries and agencies, and our development partners participating in the TWGs.  There is now a need to move away from a focus on processes to substance. We need to ensure that each TWG meeting has a purpose and we need to actively engage donorsí resource personnel who can make substantive technical inputs in the work of the TWGs. To reduce burden on development partners staff of attending numerous meetings, I strongly recommend to donors to limit their participation to TWGs where they are a funding partner and to more sharply focus their support to a few priority areas within their country assistance strategies.

5.      Looking back at TWGs performance in 2005, one issue that emerges is the lack of correlation between activities planned to be implemented by TWGs and the mobilization of resources needed to carry out the planned activities. We need to bring a better balance in this area. As you know, because of our limited budget resources, ODA is the major source for financing our development programs. The efficient allocation of these ODA resources to meet RGCís development priorities in an environment of mutual accountability is, therefore, of critical importance for the Royal Government. On the Government side, I am concerned about the lack of capacity, commitment, and ownership by some ministries and agencies that are adversely affecting the performance of TWGs in their sector. The level of technical capacity of some staff representing development partners in TWGs is also a concern that needs to be addressed.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

6.      As mentioned earlier, I would like to add for our discussion today two items to lay a solid foundation for our work over the next year. First, I would the meeting to discuss and agree on the process for identifying the Joint Monitoring Indicators for endorsement at the next CG meeting. On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to urge our development partners to make effective use of the TWG mechanism for identifying the Joint Monitoring Indicators for endorsement at the next CG meeting. In accordance with the principle of mutual accountability the Government would like TWGs to not only identify the indicators to monitor progress of their work with most of the responsibility on the Government side, but also to (i) identify who will be responsible for work needed to achieve indicator targets; and (ii) the resources required to carry out the work as well as identify development partners who are willing to provide the needed resources. I also urge TWGs to set realistic time frames for achieving the targets by taking into account the existing capacity of the concerned institutions for carrying out the required tasks.

7.      The second topic that I mentioned earlier that I would like the meeting to discuss on how could we improve the pledging process at the CG meeting. As you know, the draft of the NSDP has been submitted to the Council of Ministers and I expect the approval processes to be completed soon. I would like to urge all our development partners to place an special emphasis on aligning your country assistance strategies with the priorities outlined in the NSDP, and your assistance programs with the PIP that is being formulated based on the priorities of the NSDP. On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to emphasize that our development partners should use the time between now and the CG meeting in March 2006 to make available at the CG meeting information on their total pledge, and planned allocation by sector, and within each sector amounts earmarked for on-going programs and projects, and resources available for new programming. I have asked H.E. Chhieng Yanara to design a pledge sheet in consultation with SNEC and the World Bank. During the CG meeting, we will need to ensure that sectoral allocation of donors' pledges is consistent with the sectoral resources requirements identified in the National Strategic Development Plan 2006-2010 for its implementation. I have also asked him to work with the Chairs and the Lead Facilitator of the TWGs to prepare a consolidated list of proposed JMIs.

8.     To conclude, I would like to also inform you that Samdech HUN SEN, Prime Minister has set 2-3 March 2006 for the next CG meeting. Also, the next GDCC meeting to review the new JMIs and the process of pledging will be held on the morning of 15 February 2006. I would now like to begin this meeting by asking H.E. Chhieng Yanara who is the Secretary General of the GDCC to make a brief presentation on the results of his survey of progress made by the TWGs. After his presentation the meeting will be open for discussion.

Thank you.

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