The purpose of this report is to present a succinct update on progress that has been made by the Royal Government of Cambodia to implement the Rome Declaration's commitments to improve ODA effectiveness in order to achieve Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals. In Cambodia, aid coordination and management has undergone a number of changes over the past several years in response to an increasing flow of external assistance, to an increasing mix and number of foreign and national players in development, and to a more complex, cross-sector and multi-disciplinary development agenda. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has set up management systems and institutional mechanisms to support aid coordination and management through the Council for the Development of Cambodia. However, in spite of major improvements, the current situation is such that a significant proportion of ODA still bypasses the National Budget process because of the practice of direct funding by donor agencies to project implementers. This situation has resulted in inadequate Government ownership of many projects; in “piece-meal” efforts and insufficient coordination by donor agencies on sectoral issues and institution building; in a proliferation of different procurement, disbursement, auditing, and progress monitoring and procedures among agencies; and in the formation of donor-supported project management units staffed either by expatriates or by nationals with "topped up" salaries, which have adversely impacted on Government’s institution building efforts.

To respond to these concerns the Royal Government of Cambodia presented its overall vision for a New Development Cooperation Partnership Paradigm for Cambodia to improve ODA effectiveness at the 4th Consultative Group Meeting held in Paris in May 2000. It was discussed, accepted in principle and supported by all donor representatives present at that meeting. This strategic vision was offered as ideas on the nature, structure and implementation options for building partnerships to support the achievement of Cambodia's national development goals through more collaborative arrangements. The Royal Government has been working hard in collaboration with its development partners to achieve this vision.

Soon after the launch of the New Development Cooperation Partnership Paradigm for Cambodia, the Prime Minister appointed Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC/CRDB) to be the RGC’s Partnership Focal Point within the Government. As the Partnerships’ Focal Point, CDC/CRDB is responsible for coordinating and mobilizing resources for public investments, and to provide support to ministries/agencies to enable them to effectively manage the process of establishing partnership arrangements with Cambodia’s national and external partners. The CDC/CRDB is also responsible for expanding the aid management information systems within the Government to ensure that there is a functioning government-wide system to monitor the implementation of development programs, and for coordinating with sector ministries on issues related to resource mobilization.

An Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee to Strengthen Development Cooperation Partnerships was established in April 2001. The purpose was to ensure that key officials are seriously involved in policy decisions and operational actions for capacity development, integration/enhancement of information and monitoring systems, and for assessing progress and identifying issues during the transition to fully functioning development partnerships, covering dimensions such as procedural harmonization, ownership, and capacity indicators. It is headed by the 1st Vice-chairman of CDC. The membership of this Committee includes key officials in-charge of partnership arrangements at the Secretary/Under-Secretary of State level. The Secretary General of the CDC/CRDB also serves as the Secretary General of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee. The Committee is supported by a Secretariat, composed of the staff of CDC/CRDB.

At the 5th CG Meeting held in Tokyo in June 2001, the Royal Government provided further elaboration on strategic implementation considerations that should be taken into account in developing effective cooperation partnerships with the development partners. At the 6th CG Meeting held in Phnom Penh for the first time 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”. To began its work the Working Group commissioned three studies to collect and analyze the necessary background information and to outline feasible solutions to tackle the harmonization issues. The purpose of these studies was to provide to both the Government and the development partners factual information and analysis on donors practices to tackle the harmonization and alignment issues based on facts rather than perceptions. 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.

The Government-Donor Partnership Working Group has also been busy in supporting both the work of the OECD/DAC on examining harmonization and alignment issues in Cambodia's context, in particular the preparation of Royal Government's Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment, and in discussions on the restructuring of the Working Groups under the CG mechanism. In Cambodia, several Working Groups under the CG mechanism have existed to monitor progress on specific policy issues since 1999. To strengthen this monitoring mechanism under the CG process, over the past year the Royal Government and development partners have had extensive discussions on how to restructure the working groups in order to enhance aid effectiveness and to bring a greater coherence to ODA supported activities. The Secretary General of CDC/CRDB, as the Chairman of the Government-Donor Partnership Working Group, submitted a proposal to the development partners on the basic principles for restructuring the working groups in October 2003. After extensive discussions an agreement on the basic principles to restructure the working groups was reached.

At the Pre-CG Meeting held on 10 September 2004, Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister endorsed the proposal to create 17 Joint Technical Working Groups at the sector/thematic level. To ensure coordination among the 17 joint technical working groups, he also endorsed the proposal to:

  1. 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. The GDCC is Chaired by Senior Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance and the 1st Vice-chairman of CDC. The membership of the GDCC includes Ministers or heads of government agencies, Ambassadors or heads of diplomatic missions, and heads of multilateral institutions.

  2. The Government-Donor Coordination Committee will be assisted by a Secretariat. This Secretariat is located at the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB) at CDC.

The first meeting of the GDCC was held on 2 December 2004 just before the 7th CG Meeting that was held in Phnom Penh on 6-7 December 2004 to review and agree on monitoring indicators under the CG process. I am encouraged by the fact that because of the existence of this mechanism, for the first time in the CG process, we have had an opportunity to openly discuss and review the indictors to monitor progress. The next meeting of the GDCC is planned to be held on 7 March 2005 to review jointly, Government and donors, progress that has been made on monitoring indicators agreed to at the last CG Meeting.

I am pleased to report that to monitor progress on the implementation of Rome Declaration's commitments, the Royal Government's Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment has been prepared through a long process of consultations with the development partners. The Action Plan was approved by the Cabinet on 19 November 2004. I am also pleased to report that the Royal Government and 12 development partners who have shown a willingness to support the implementation of the Action Plan on Harmonization and Alignment signed a Declaration on 2 December 2004.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our development partners for their support. The Royal Government, on its part, remains committed to improving ODA effectiveness to maximize its benefits for the people of Cambodia. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia I would like to express our appreciation to the Government of France for hosting this very important meeting aimed at enhancing ODA effectiveness through harmonization of donor practices and alignment of ODA supported activities with national priorities. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank H.E. Chhieng Yanara, Secretary General of the Cambodian Rehabilitation Board at the Council for the Development of Cambodia for his dedication and tireless efforts to enhance ODA effectiveness to maximize its benefit of our people.


Phnom Penh, 9 February 2005

Senior Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance
and First Vice-Chairman of the CDC

| Content | Back | Top | Next |

Home | 8th CG Meeting | 7th CG Meeting | Partnership and Harmonization TWG | GDCC | Policy Documents Guidelines | Donor Dev. Coop. Pgm. | NGO