19.     In Cambodia, the Working Group mechanism to monitor progress on specific policy issues has been in operation since 1999. Until recently, the membership of most of these working groups had included donor representatives only and they operated in an ad hoc manner without an overall framework for their operations. Over the past year, on behalf of the Royal Government, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has had discussions with development partners on how to restructure the working groups in order to enhance aid effectiveness and to bring a greater coherence to ODA supported activities. The CDC gave a proposal to the development partners on the basic principles for restructuring the working groups in October 2003. An agreement on the basic principles to restructure the working groups was reached in mid 2004. Subsequently, these basic principles were endorsed by Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister at the Pre-CG Meeting held on 10 September 2004 in Phnom Penh.

20. The Royal Government and the development partners have agreed to establish seventeen Joint Technical Working Groups at the sectoral/thematic level based on the following basic principles:

First, to strengthen the ownership and leadership of the Royal Government, the joint technical working groups shall be lead by the responsible ministry or agency and will include members from other concerned ministries and the development partners. The appointment of the chairperson of the working group shall be made by the Minister of the ministry/agency that will lead the working group. Based on the experiences of some working groups, the newly appointed chairperson of the working group must have the political will and commitment and willingness to devote his/her time to lead the working group. The development partners will nominate a donor coordinator and an alternate coordinator to ensure donor-donor coordination and continuity of the operations of each working group.

Second, each working group must prepare its Terms of References (TORs) that clearly defines its roles and responsibilities. However, to ensure consistency across working groups the TORs of each working group will include the following basic generic elements:

  1. Each Working Group shall jointly prepare detailed strategies or policies for the sector that is being dealt with by the Group, if they have not been developed so far, ensuring that these strategies or policies are consistent with the Rectangular Strategy. For Working Groups that have already developed the strategies or policies, they should be revised if necessary.

  2. After the strategies or policies have been prepared, each Working Group shall develop an Action Plan and identify priorities and modalities of support for the implementation of the Action Plan. The Action Plan shall be considered to be a joint document of the Royal Government and the donor community for monitoring progress by the Working Group.

  3.  Each Working Group shall be responsible for mobilizing resources needed for the implementation of the agreed Action Plan. If the resources are not enough, both the Government and the donors shall work together to re-prioritize their activities in line with the available resources.

  4. Each Working Group shall jointly monitor progress against benchmarks that have been set forth to increase aid effectiveness and to achieve the strategic objectives laid out in the Rectangular Strategy and Cambodia's Millennium Development Goals.

21.    To ensure coordination among the 17 joint technical working groups, the Royal Government and development partners have also agreed to create a “Government-Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC)” to provide policy guidance, to set priorities, and to propose measures to solve problems raised by joint technical working groups. This committee will meet regularly every 3 months. Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister has appointed Senior Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance and the First Vice Chairman of the CDC, to be the chairman of the GDCC. The membership of the GDCC will include Ministers or heads of government agencies, Ambassadors or heads of diplomatic missions, and heads of multilateral institutions. The Government-Donor Coordination Committee will be assisted by a Secretariat. This Secretariat will be located at the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB) at CDC. The role of the Secretariat is to liaise with the joint technical working groups and to collect progress reports as well as identify problems facing the joint technical working groups during the implementation of their activities. The Secretariat will prepare a quarterly progress report including issues and challenges as well as proposed remedies to tackle the problems and submit it to the GDCC for its consideration and decision making. In case, the GDCC is not able to make decisions or solve the problems, the Secretariat will report directly to the Head of the Royal Government for decision-making or to provide direction and guidance.

22.    At the Pre-CG Meeting held on 10 September 2004, Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister also identified the following urgent tasks that each joint technical working group should complete before the 7th Consultative Group Meeting that was held on 6-7 December 2004.

First, both parties coordinate to finalize the list of members and TORs of the joint technical working group, as soon as possible.

Second, each joint technical working group has to appraise the progress in the nine priority areas for joint monitoring that were agreed to at the 6th Consultative Group meeting held in June 2002 as well as identify any outstanding issues and challenges. The reports of the technical working groups will be consolidated into one document that will be presented at the Consultative Group meeting to be held in December 2004.

Third, each technical working group has to develop its action plan and benchmarks for consideration and adoption at the Consultative Group Meeting to be held in December 2004.

23.    The restructuring of the Working Groups under the CG mechanism that the Royal Government and the development partners in Cambodia have agreed to, represents a fundamental change in the institutional set up for planning, managing and monitoring progress on the implementation of development assistance.

24.    As part of the restructuring of the working groups, the TORs of the existing Government-Donor Partnership Working Group is being reviewed and revised. A key role of the restructured Partnership Working Group will be to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Royal Government's Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment to implement the Rome Declaration's commitment. As the focal point on harmonization and alignment issues, it will continue to provide guidance on these issues to all Technical Working Groups (TWGs). The technical work related to planning, resourcing, managing the implementation of Working Group’s Action Plan, and providing quarterly progress reports to the Government-Donor Coordination Committee will be the responsibility of each TWG.

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