34.     Looking ahead, the OECD/DAC survey results highlight some of the challenges that need to be faced to improve aid effectiveness. Achieving success will require a strong commitment and a collective will to tackle the difficult issues. The Royal Government recognizes that to encourage a greater use of government systems and procedures by the development partners it needs to significantly strengthen its systems and procedures. The Royal Government is also aware of the challenges that some of the development partners face to effectively participate in the implementation of the Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment to improve aid effectiveness. The most serious of these challenges is the divide between agreed global policies on harmonization and alignment by the authorities at the national or headquarters of the development partners, and the follow up actions needed to change the practices and behavior of donor operations at the country level. In the case of a number of bi-lateral partners, the authorities in the capitals have now prepared their Action Plans for harmonization and alignment in line with OECD/DAC principles. It is however, not clear whether or not the authorities at the capital or headquarters have fully examined the operational implications of the policies that they have agreed to, and where necessary, taken actions to amend the rules and regulations that govern the planning and management of their ODA resources. Last year, on behalf of the Royal Government, the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC/CRDB)) had asked the OECD/DAC Task Team to not only share these Action Plans with partner countries but also to closely monitor and periodically report to partner countries on:

  • whether or not the Action Plan prepared at the capital of a member country or the headquarter of a multi lateral organization has been shared with their country field offices;

  • whether or not the capital of a member country or the HQ of multilateral organization has provided clear direction or instructions to their country field offices to implement their national or HQ action plan; and

  • what authority has been delegated to country field offices to implement the action plan in the partner country context.

35.   There is an urgent need for the headquarters of the development partners to speed up this process to enable their country offices in Cambodia to effectively participate in the implementation of Cambodiaís Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment that has been prepared through a collaborative effort between the Government and the development partnerís representatives stationed in Cambodia.

36.    There are many challenges that the Government and representatives of our development partners in Cambodia need to begin to tackle together, for example:

  • How to build capacity of ministries and agencies to empower them to plan and deliver their services effectively and efficiently to citizens?

  • How to strengthen national systems and procedures to encourage a greater use of these systems and procedure by the development partners to discourage the creation of parallel implementation systems and structures?

  • How to increase delegated cooperation arrangements?

  • How to minimize the number of donor missions and increase the number of joint donor missions?

  • How to ensure alignment of ODA supported activities with national priorities?

  • How to reduce excessive reliance on the use of international experts?

  • How to attract and retain qualified national personnel in the civil service in light of the fiscal constraints over the short- and medium-term that limit options to increase current low salaries to an acceptable level?

  • How to make ODA supported activities more transparent and accountable for the benefit of the citizens of Cambodia?

37.     Based on progress that has been made over the last two years to strengthen aid coordination and management, in particular the agreement to establish 17 Joint Technical Working Groups lead by a Government representative, the high level decision-making Government-Donor Coordination Committee that will be monitoring progress quarterly, and the Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment; the Royal Government is confident that with the continuing cooperation of its development partners these challenges can be met. Over the next year, to improve aid effectiveness the Royal Government will be placing special emphasis on:

  • Preparing a single National Strategic development Plan for the years 2006-2010.

  • Implementing the action plan on harmonization and alignment as follow up to the Rome Declaration.

  • Preparing National ODA Management and Utilization Policy.

  • Promoting sector and/or thematic/program based approaches for ODA programming.

  • Strengthening partnerships between public sector institutions, NGOs and civil society at the sub-national levels.

  • Strengthening partnerships with the private sector.

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