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Nineteenth Meeting of the

Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee (GDCC)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 26 September 2012


Opening Remarks

by Deputy Prime 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

    -    Honorable Ambassadors and Distinguished Representatives of Development Partners and NGOs

    -    Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


1-         It is truly a pleasure to welcome Government colleagues, Excellency Ambassadors, development partners and civil society representatives to the Palais du Gouvernement for our nineteenth meeting of the Government-Development Partner Coordination Committee. To begin with, it is necessary to acknowledge the extensive effort to prepare for this meeting that has been made by the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board of the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC/CRDB), under the overall leadership of Minister Chhieng Yanara, in collaboration with the TWG Chairs and the lead facilitators from the development cooperation community.


2-         Our meeting today comes at a time when our development partnership is demonstrating some promising results as well as a readiness to respond together to confront new challenges. I hope that this morning’s discussion will provide an opportunity both to acknowledge our good progress as well as to have a detailed dialogue about our next steps together as partners in development. Partnerships are an essential part of any modern-day development process. Cambodia is of course privileged to be the Chair of the ASEAN group in 2012 and regional integration is uppermost in our thoughts as we prepare for the ASEAN Economic Community beginning in 2015.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


3-         We have a full agenda before us today. Before we proceed, it is important to remind ourselves of a number of principles that we have adhered to in our partnership and to which we have made a joint commitment. At the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness from 29 November to 1 December 2011 in Busan, Republic of Korea, your countries and institutions reaffirmed their commitment to principles of partnership. The Royal Government of Cambodia also endorsed the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, as did all development partners represented here. These commitments, which have once again been reiterated in other international forums such as the Rio+20 Summit on 20-22 June 2012 and the UN Development Cooperation Forum on 5-6 July 2012, reminded us of the imperative to identify a joint global response to truly global challenges. One of the messages that has come out loud and clear is that we need a change in mindset and behavior to make our partnership sustainable and oriented toward development results. Business as usual will not get us the results and future we want and to which we jointly committed ourselves at the High-Level Forum in Busan. We have often committed to change our practices to improve our partnership, but equally often our development partners have failed to live up to these commitments, both at the country level and global level, as evidenced in the 2011 OECD Report on Global Monitoring of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which shows that development partners still have a long way to go toward meeting their commitments.


4-         Our GDCC meeting today is principally founded on this spirit of partnership. The most immediate business on our agenda is to endorse the Joint Monitoring Indicators. The JMIs have been in use since 2004 and have proved to be an excellent tool not only for focusing our joint efforts and resources on achieving results but also for providing a platform for reflecting more broadly on how our partnership can work more effectively. The JMIs presented for our consideration this morning have been the subject of extensive review and discussion over the past three months, including a JMI preparation retreat that was organized by the Royal Government on the 20th and 21st August in Sihanouk-ville with CRDB/CDC as the focal agency. So I am confident that we now have a set of indicators that will serve as a reliable guide for our results-based partnering effort. The JMIs would serve to promote transparency in resource use, both from the Royal Government and from the development partners and would ensure that our commitments are translated into measurable results.


5-         In our GDCC meeting today, our discussions will also reflect on the process for preparing two important policy initiatives that are central to our partnering work. First the new NSDP 2014-2018, which will be prepared next year. This policy document will review progress, identify the main lessons to be learned and will guide us on where resources are to be allocated. The second initiative is the Development Cooperation and Partnership Strategy, which constitutes the rules of the game for our development partnership and serves as a tool for mobilization of the external development resources. In both cases, the principle of transparency will be an important guide in how we will work together in the future and how we must embrace partnerships with other important development actors.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


6-         One of the lessons we have learned very well through the JMI partnering process and NSDP implementation is the need for transparency and openness in a development partnership. From Paris to Busan to New York, the message of " transparency of development partners’ resources from source to results" has been singled out many times, and the Royal Government also emphasizes the importance of and the need for resource transparency in Cambodian development process. I believe that some progress has been made in improving resource transparency for domestic resources and also external resources of some development partners in recent years. The efforts of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and our partner line ministries in the Public Financial Management Reform Programme are showing that greater resource transparency – through budget reform, improved information systems and the Budget Strategic Plan exercise – contributes to improved planning that, in turn, leads to improved development results. External resource reporting has also improved as CRDB/CDC has made tremendous efforts to record these flows. However, CRDB/CDC needs to go further and I urge- all development partners and NGOs to continue working with CRDB/CDC in this regard. It is important that we understand and record all resource flows from the original source right through to the achievement of the intended results. We all have a responsibility and a role to play in producing and sharing the information that is required to understand where these resources come from, how they are managed and what their impact has been. With these issues in mind, and speaking as the Minister of Economy and Finance, the Royal Government is seeking to include ODA more comprehensively in the National Budget. Transparency in resource use will then lead directly to improved programming and resource allocation, contributing to development results, but to do this we will require the involvement of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and CRDB/CDC in the whole process from programming to budgeting and implementing project/program resources. The annual PFM Reform Programme retreat which took place in Phnom Penh on 18th and 19th August and our meeting this morning will provide further opportunity to discuss the necessary actions to move forward on this matter and the responsibilities of each relevant partys.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


7 -        Also in this morning’s meeting, the Royal Government will provide a briefing on the Prime Minister’s Directive Number One on the effective management of Economic Land Concessions. As all members of this Committee are aware, so far Samdech Prime Minister has put in place a number of measures and has personally directed their implementation with the Senior Minister, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction acting as the focal point in implementing this Directive Number One. The complexity of the land issue that is being addressed and the longer term nature of these interventions means that we are not yet at a stage where we can engage in any dialogue related to progress in an informed manner. However, the Royal Government understands the value of sharing information on the Directive’s approaches, measures and some preliminary results.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


8 -        We can only acknowledge the fundamental principles of transparency at our meeting here today. But my comments highlight the importance of further information sharing and dialogue. In particular there is a need to complement our collective dialogue meetings such as GDCC with bilateral consultations, usually led by CRDB/CDC and MEF. I encourage all partners to work closely with the Royal Government through CRDB/CDC and MEF to ensure that regular bilateral reviews take place to include a review of the portfolio, the expenditures that have taken place, the partnerships that are currently active and, most of all, the results that have been achieved.


9-         Partnership with the NGO community are also important, given the resources they mobilise and manage and their important role in supporting service delivery across many sectors. Samdech Prime Minister was impressed by the responsiveness and quality of the NGO’s collaboration with Government and other national institution during last year’s flooding. He confirmed that an annual meeting would take place to ensure that NGO support was consistent with national development priorities. I am therefore pleased to inform you that the Guidelines for an Annual Consultative Meeting with NGOs that has been discussed and agreed with NGO representatives has been endorsed by Samdech Prime Minister.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


10-      Before beginning our meeting I wish to invite His Excellency Douglas Broderick – the UN Resident Coordinator who was recently appointed as new Lead Development Partner Facilitator - to say a few words on behalf of the development partner community.


Thank you for your attention