Development Partnersí Background Paper on
the JMI on Aid Effectiveness (target 2)

for the
14TH Meeting of
the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee (GDCC)

Phnom Penh, April 28, 2009

Progress in identifying aid effectiveness priorities is encouraging

The consultation process on the identification of aid effectiveness priorities to feed into the aid effectiveness JMI has been very useful. It has simplified our aid effectiveness efforts and increased their relevance by moving discussions from central high-level commitments to the sectors and to focus on relevant and achievable actions for 2009.

Development partners wish to commend CDC/CRDB for the leadership it has provided so far through the Technical Working Group (TWG) Network.  We hope that CDC/CRDB will continue to provide technical advice and support to TWG chairs and secretariats and further opportunities for dialogue on aid effectiveness within the Government.

We acknowledge that the priorities identified and discussed through the 19 TWGs all contribute to achieving the following outcomes:

  1. Developing sector strategies and plans to lay the foundation for more solid Programme-Based Approaches (Mine Action, Land, Decentralization and Deconcentration, Agriculture and Water, Rural Water and Sanitation);

  2. Implementing annual operational plans, which are essential to better plan, prioritize and align Government and development partner resources to national priorities and systems (Education, Health, Planning and Poverty Reduction); and

  3. Improving the coordination of capacity development efforts to strengthen country systems (Council for Administrative Reform, HIV/AIDS, Health, and Education).

Supporting activities directed at these outcomes will be the focus of our joint efforts to make aid more effective over the next few months.

The case for stronger ownership

The Accra Agenda for Action emphasizes that country ownership is a key element in accelerating progress towards increased aid effectiveness. It also states that political solutions and commitments are required from both Government and development partners. This was also an important point raised by the Government during our dialogue on aid effectiveness at the CDCF meeting last December.

In line with this objective, the JMI aid effectiveness exercise has attempted to promote ownership and leadership in line ministries and agencies over the management and coordination of aid resources, in consultation with development partners. These priorities are tailored to meet the specific needs of each line ministry and agency; they are measurable and achievable. Development partners hope that they have been, or will be, endorsed by the highest political levels of these institutions. This political commitment will be essential in guiding future discussions at the TWG level and in ensuring effective implementation. High-level commitment from development partners is also required.

We hope these priorities will serve as a catalyst for ministries to exercise stronger political leadership and develop more comprehensive aid effectiveness plans, as suggested by the Government at the CDCF in December 2008.

Partnerships matter: More joint efforts are needed to ensure effective collaboration for implementation of these priorities

More needs to be done to improve the quality of partnerships in the TWGs, including with civil society organizations and emerging donors. While there has often been consensus on what the aid effectiveness priorities should be, the process to reach them has not always been consultative. It is important that Government Chairpersons and Lead Donor Facilitators improve their efforts to ensure such consultations are conducted in the future, in a spirit of dialogue and mutual accountability.

The consultation and training initiative on improving partnerships that CDC/CRDB plans to conduct later this year will provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced in establishing partnerships, while also identifying examples of best practice. We welcome this initiative and hope it will provide some practical recommendations to help improve the quality and effectiveness of our dialogue and the implementation of our joint commitments. We encourage senior Government officials, heads of development cooperation and Lead Donor Facilitators to be prepared to engage fully in this exercise.

Actual implementation and monitoring progress of these priorities is critical

Effectively implementing these priorities and closely monitoring their progress will be essential. Having agreed on these mutual commitments, Government and development partners should take the next step of defining and agreeing how the commitments will be implemented, with defined responsibilities and timetable for implementation, in particular exploring what changes are entailed for both sides. The association of these priorities with the JMIs, and their implied monitoring alongside the other JMIs, will elevate their profile and support their swift and full implementation.

Mutual accountability is more than sharing information and monitoring progress, it requires leadership and commitment on the part of both the Government and development partners to deliver. This requires having adequate incentives for compliance in place.

Cambodia will participate to the second phase of the Global Evaluation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in early 2010. The experience in other countries shows that independent evaluations can often contribute to strengthen mutual accountability. In order to stimulate progress and hold all stakeholders to account, we suggest that this evaluation includes an independent review of development partner harmonization and the use of country systems.

Development partnersí support

Development partners are committed to supporting their Government counterparts in implementing these joint priorities and in monitoring progress.

Development partners would also like to propose organizing, in close collaboration with CDC/CRDB, an experience sharing workshop for lead donor facilitators focusing on issues related to aid management and coordination in sectors. Such an event would encourage networking and cross-fertilization across sectors, it would also be an opportunity to identify common challenges and highlight good and innovative practices that could be replicated. We believe that this initiative could feed well into the aforementioned Government-led consultation process on improving partnerships.

Questions for dialogue

  1. With reference to these priorities being associated with the JMIs, how does the Government envisage monitoring the implementation of the aid effectiveness priorities and to promote stronger mutual accountability?

  2. What kind of support for implementation and monitoring would be expected by the Government from development partners?

  3. How will the Government ensure inter-ministerial coordination necessary for the implementation of aid effectiveness priorities in key sectors which involve a number of Ministries (such as the Agriculture & Water TWG)?

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