Donor Consensus Statement of the Status of the Joint Monitoring Indicators

Presented By
Ambassador Carol Rodley (USA)

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

Phnom Penh, April 28, 2009

Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, the development partners, would like first to acknowledge the progress made on a number of the joint monitoring indicators.  This progress is due to the successful collaboration between the Cambodian government and the development partners in some of the technical working groups.  We would like to highlight the progress made by the government and the development partners on the health joint monitoring indicators in 2008.  As a result of this progress, the health technical working group has raised its 2009 target for the proportion of deliveries to be attended by skilled health personnel in the public sector from 50% to 65%.  The Council for Administration Reform has also made progress in implementing the merit-based pay initiative, the priority mission groups and the special operating agencies, as well as development of a new public administration reform strategy.  We note in particular the development of an agreed-upon approach by health partners. Given this progress we suggest that the time has come to re-establish the Public Administration Reform technical working group, thereby supporting the development of a Public Administration Reform sector-wide approach.

The joint monitoring indicators for governance and anti-corruption are catalysts for all joint monitoring indicators, and in this area we note that progress has been made, albeit slowly.  In particular, the development partners would like to urge prompt passage of the remaining four fundamental laws and the anti-corruption law.

Progress toward enactment of the penal code has been encouraging.  The development partners would welcome an update on when it will be submitted to the National Assembly.  However, progress on the other three fundamental laws has been limited.  The law on the statute of judges, the law on court organization and functioning, and the law on the amendment of the law on the organization and functioning of the Supreme Council of Magistracy are at the Office of the Council of Ministers.  The development partners urge that the four fundamental laws be submitted to the National Assembly for enactment as soon as possible.

The start of training of judicial professionals has been a welcome development in the judicial area.  This will improve the supply of judicial services.  We look forward to measuring the impact of this training on the courts.  Looking at constraints in this area, we note that the implementation of court registers at the model courts is moving quite slowly and may require the hiring of additional staff to ensure full implementation.

There have been small but significant steps in moving forward the anti-corruption law.  We understand a team at the Office of the Council of Ministers is redrafting the law, which the development partners see as a positive sign.  We commend progress made last October in disseminating information on reported cases of corruption and convictions and urge that reports be made on a quarterly basis.  We understand that a full implementation plan and corresponding information-dissemination plan will be forthcoming once the anti-corruption law is passed.  Development partners request that the government share the draft anti-corruption law before it moves forward.

In the meantime, we urge the government to take measures to deter corruption in all public services by, for example: 1) reducing the time and lowering the cost to clear imports and exports through the port of Sihanoukville; and 2) implementing the Cross-Border Transport Agreements between Cambodia and Thailand and Cambodia and Vietnam.

An excellent access to information policy paper was drafted by the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspections.  However, not much progress has been made since the paper was prepared.  The development partners would like to know the status of the access to information policy and to understand the impediments to approving the policy.

In the land sector, progress has been inconsistent and slow. While there has been notable progress in the reconstruction of the cadastral system, however, other important parts of the land sector reform are delayed. The lack of a systematic and transparent planning and no secretariat to the land technical working group have hindered coordination and progress.  We urge the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction to accelerate this process by 1) signing the partnership principles; 2) strengthening  the technical working group and secretariat; 3) enhancing urban land-tenure security by developing the Housing Policy and assuring proper process, transparency and just compensation in case of resettlements; and 4) avoiding further incidences of involuntary resettlements.

Another technical working group facing constraints is the agriculture and water technical working group.  The strategy for agriculture and water was signed two years ago, but finalization of the five national programs to guide the work by the government and the development partners in the agriculture and water sector for the next five years has been delayed twice.  Strong government leadership on this process is essential.  The development partners welcome clarification from the government on the status of and endorsement of the national programs.  We also welcome hearing how the government intends to move from a project approach to a sector-wide approach, and the government’s expectations for development partners.

The development partners urge the government to prioritize combating corruption and establishing a well-functioning, transparent and accountable legal and judicial system.  In this time of global economic crisis, these things take on added importance.  We believe that doing so will help the country mitigate the effects of the deepening global recession and accelerate recovery for Cambodia.  This will enhance the peace and stability of the country and improve the lives of the Cambodian people.

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