4.     At the 6th CG Meeting held in Phnom Penh in June 2002, the Royal Government presented a proposal to establish a Government-Donor Partnership Working Group. This proposal was overwhelmingly endorsed and subsequently the Government-Donor Partnership Working Group was established. In its deliberations the Working Group agreed to begin its work by focusing on problems/issues for which feasible solutions already exist and that can be agreed to and implemented immediately. It was a pragmatic approach that assigned a high priority to picking the readily accessible “low hanging fruits”. Thus, the Working Group began its work by commissioning three studies to collect and analyze the necessary background information and outline feasible solutions to tackle the harmonization issues. The three studies focused on: (i) the capacity building practices of Cambodia's development partners, (ii) practices and lessons learned in the management of development cooperation; and (iii) preparation of national operational guidelines for development cooperation. The first two studies have been completed. Also, the first draft of the third study has been prepared.

5.     The first study on the “Capacity Building Practices of Cambodia's Development Partners” was financed and supported by UNDP. The methodology used to carryout the study included personal interviews with donor and government representatives, as well as collection of quantitative data through a questionnaire from multilateral and bilateral partners and NGOs. The survey questionnaire covered five areas that are related to building the individual and institutional capacity and the employment of national and international personnel to support the implementation of the programs and/or to fill capacity gaps. These five areas included: training, operational support, monetary incentives including salary supplements, and the employment of national and international personnel. The study findings are now being discussed by the Council for Administrative Reform with development partners to arrive at a set of recommendations on which there is consensus, and to develop an action plan for their implementation.

6.     The study on, "Practices and Lessons Learned in the Management of Development Cooperation: Case Studies in Cambodia", was financed and supported by Japan. This study examined four cases of good practices that included:

Sector-focused aid coordination:

  1. Education -- Sector Wide Approach (SWAp)

  2. Health -- Sector Wide Management (SWIM) and Tuberculosis Sub-Sector (TB)

Cross-cutting-issue focused aid coordination:

  1. Local Governance -- SEILA

  2. Public Finance – Technical Cooperation Assistance Program (TCAP).

7.     The preparation of the national operational guidelines for the grants component of the ODA, the third study, is financed and supported by UNDP. The guidelines are being prepared in close collaboration with key Government agencies and the development partners under the umbrella of a Sub-Group of the Government-Donor Partnership Working Group (GDPWG). These guidelines cover each stage of the program/project cycle: identification, formulation, implementation, monitoring, review and evaluation of projects. The guidelines take into account the OECD/DAC’s Good Practice Papers on harmonizing donor practices for effective aid delivery, UN General Assembly Resolutions, and lessons learned in the management of development cooperation activities in Cambodia. This work on preparing operational guidelines on the grant side has been closely coordinated with the work on the preparation of the Standard Operating Procedures for loan projects. In terms of process, after the guidelines have been endorsed by the Sub-Group of the GDPWG, they will be presented for discussion and approval by the Government-Donor Partnership Working Group. After approval by the GDPWG, CDC will submit the guidelines to the Council of Ministers for approval.

8.     The findings and recommendations of these studies present both opportunities and challenges for the Royal Government as well as the development partners. They offer opportunities to improve ODA effectiveness through strengthened partnerships to achieve more harmonized practices in program planning, formulation, financing, and the management of the implementation of development cooperation activities. The challenge now is to find ways to quickly move forward with the implementation of recommendations on which there is agreement between the Royal Government and the development partners.

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