Government-Development Partner Coordinating Committee (GDCC)

4 March 2008

Statement by the TWG on D&D

Ngan Chamroeun,
Deputy Director General,
Directorate of Local Administration
Ministry of Interior

Excellency, Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Representatives from Development Partners
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Co-Chairman of the TWG on D&D, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to make a brief statement regarding progress on D&D as well as the statement prepared by the UN Resident Coordinator.

I am pleased to inform the meeting that the Organic Law on Administration and Management of the Capital, Provinces, Municipalities, Districts and Khans was submitted to the Council of Ministers in mid-February and was endorsed by the Council of Ministers at their meeting on Friday last week. The Organic Law has been submitted by the Council of Ministers to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption prior to their going into recess in April.

Assuming adoption by the National Assembly, the organic law will establish a newly mandated National Committee on Democratic Development to oversee the phased implementation of the law; the design of the legal and regulatory framework; and the design of a new national program on sub-national democratic development. The Organic Law states that sub-national councils will be established through indirect elections within one year of the law being adopted. As such, under the National Committee a preparatory   work plan will be developed which will include priority activities to be carried out this year that will enable the sub-national councils to function once they are in place. These priority activities will include such things as the design of some of the core regulations required by the councils; the design of the initial training plan and training curriculum for the councils; and various baseline studies and analysis of functions currently being performed at sub-national level.

I am also pleased to inform the meeting today that the procurement of a consulting firm to assist the NCDD to design a new national program on sub-national democratic development is well advanced. We expect that the consultants to be recruited will be in place by June of this year enabling the design process to commence and hopefully be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

As regards the GDCC Statement on NSDP Social Sector Priorities, we are aware that mechanisms will need to be defined early on to enable line Ministries, such as those focusing on Social Development, to interact closely with the National Committee. The NCDD sub-committee on  Functions, which was established in 2007 and which is chaired by a Secretary of State from Ministry of Interior, will be expected to organize coordination meetings with line Ministries and establish a modality for functional analysis to be carried out in a consistent manner leading in the future to functional reassignments to sub-national councils and administrations. We can confirm our agreement on the importance of engaging the social sector Ministries early on in the process. We can also ensure the development partners that the design of the new national program will certainly take into account social sector priorities.            

As regards strengthening sub-national participatory planning, fiscal transfer systems and accountability we are again in agreement and there are some very important review and design studies related to these issues that are included in the 2008 NCDD AWPB some of which have already commenced. As there were no participatory planning mechanisms at sub-national level and no inter-governmental transfer systems only six years ago, we do hope the development partners recognize the tremendous progress that has been made in only a short time. In 2008 there is more than $ 30 million being transferred to CS Councils from the national budget and development partner projects to finance priorities identified through a planning process that involves all villages, planning and budgeting committees, Commune Children and Women Committees and CS Councils and annual District Integration Workshops that include nearly all IOs and NGOs working at the local level. As the social sector Ministries begin to engage more with the districts and communes in planning and budgeting there should be an improvement in service delivery but this will of course take time.

One of the biggest challenges facing the National Committee following the adoption of the law will be to manage the wide range of expectations both within the government and with development partners. It is for this reason that we need to ensure a well designed national program that is both forward looking and broad in scope on the one hand and well phased and realistic on the other.

Thank you.    

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