Opening Statement by Douglas Gardner, UN Resident Coordinator,
to the GDCC
Phnom Penh, Cambodia 12 February 2007

Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of development partners, I am pleased to share with you some opening thoughts for this gathering.

Since the Last GDCC in September of 2006, there have been some important developments to highlight::

  • The nation recently commemorated the 15th Anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. This was a moment when all people could acknowledge the very precious peace that has been reestablished in Cambodia after decades of conflict. Peace has had an extremely positive socio-economic impact on the nation. The anniversary was also an opportunity to look forward to the next 15 years and identify key issues that need to be addressed including further governance reforms and wise management of increased resources generated by economic growth as well as potentially large oil and gas revenues.

  • Economic growth for 2006 has reached another commendable level of approximately 9.5%. This shows that the economy is advancing -- yet with this growth, increased inequalities for marginalized groups and the rural poor will require a stronger focus in 2007.

  • The National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP: 2006-2010), which was launched almost one year ago, has become a practical working document to guide increasingly the national budget process as well as donor investments.

Taking further this last point, the Government has in the NSDP set key goals with measurable indicators. These NSDP targets are aligned with the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals. They cover critical indicators on the well being of Cambodian people such as:

  •  Children completing primary school;

  • Women surviving child birth and having universal access to reproductive health services;

  • Access to clean water and sanitation;

  • Maintaining forest cover;

  • HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults

  • ... and more. These are just a few representative samples taken directly from the NSDP.

Clarity on government development priorities helps partners to better focus our assistance. Likewise, fora such as these allow Government and development partners to identify together opportunities to accelerate progress on NSDP targets as well as recognize problems that might be braking progress.

In that spirit of supporting the nationís prime development priorities, we are pleased today to focus on the following areas that if handled well can accelerate Cambodiaís development, or, to the contrary, if not working well, can slow progress. Not in this list for discussion today are a number of sectoral issues which are equally important -- but it was felt that they were making good progress on their JMIís and could thus be discussed at future meetings.

The priority issues we would like to take a look at with you in this GDCC are:

Legal and Judicial Reform;
The Anti-corruption Law;
Public Administration Reform;
Issues related to land; and
Economic Land Concessions;

As development partners, we are committed to partnering in the provision of our support and having an open dialogue to see how we can best do this.

            Thank you.

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