of Douglas Gardner, UN Resident Coordinator: on behalf of the donor
Your Excellency Keat Chhon
On behalf of your partners in the donor community, we are pleased to provide these inputs for your consideration on the subject of corruption and the emerging national response.
Government’s efforts to date:
The placement of anti-corruption within the central position of Good Governance of the overall Rectangular Strategy has been an excellent and appropriate positioning of this fundamental issue. Numerous public statements from the Prime Minister have continued to reinforce the public focus on the matter.
The preparation of the draft law anti-corruption has been owned and led by the Government. We repeat the earlier acknowledgements on the way this law has been crafted—by bringing together the best national experts and seeking input from other parts of Government as well as civil society and international experts. Following a lot of hard work led by MONASRI, the revised draft law is now before the Council of Jurists within the Council of Ministers for finalization.
Local surveys on corruption and the recent ranking of Transparency International have shown the extent of the issue in Cambodia. A strong Anti-corruption law with effective implementation would go a long way to encourage investments from a globalized world economy – leading to jobs, improved prosperity and progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
The Present Draft Law and related JMIs
Knowing the importance that the Royal Government and civil society attach to this anti-corruption Law, we seek your consideration on four outstanding issues in the draft law that will be needed to reach international standards. Such standards are there as global recognition of the essential ingredients for such a law to be successful in dealing with corruption:
Next steps including the other two JMI’s
If these final four points are covered adequately in the law when it is ultimately passed, the 2004 JMI with regard to a law at international standards will have been successfully met. A strong law being submitted to the National Assembly would be encouraged by your partners.
Due to the importance of this issue and the progress already realized, we would invite consideration that this JMI be maintained in the next period with a target of the law’s approval in the third quarter of 2006 and implementation plans being started in parallel during the second quarter of the year.
With regard to another JMI on “Reported Cased of Corruption”, we would welcome data from Government on cases that have been brought before the courts and input on the approach that has been employed by law enforcement authorities. The development partners remain convinced that this is an important JMI. It should also be maintained in the next period.
On the final JMI, we would like to hear from the Royal Government on the status of the Law on Access to Information. If the law is not drafted, we would like to suggest that a clear policy framework on access to information be prepared. Again, given the important nature of access to information, we would like to suggest that this JMI be maintained in the next period as well.
In summary and on behalf of all development partners, we would like to keep the there JMI’s on corruption and suggest that this be done as a separate target or a distinct component in another target with a lead partner or partners on the Government side identified. We reaffirm that we stand ready to support Government owned and led actions on the above matters and their all-important implementation. Since the Government has given such high priority attention to these matters they should benefit from the continued support of being a specific focus of the JMI’s (rather than being subsumed with another JMI).
Statement by Ambassador TAKAHASHI Fumiaki,
Thank you Mr. Chairmen,
I would like to make some remarks on legal and judicial system in general.
The establishment of a legal and judicial system is a fundamental basis for national building, and, as advocated in the Rectangular Strategy, a prerequisite for economic development. Therefore, it is a strong hope of the donor community that the Royal Government of Cambodia will keep, as a joint monitoring indicator, the early enactment o eight (8) fundamental laws. The establishment of a just and stable legal and judicial system is a basis for all development projects, providing necessary conditions for democracy and human right protection, poverty reduction, enhancement of social welfare, administrative efficiency, creation of effective market economy, promotion of business environment, and inducement of foreign investment.
I would now like to elaborate more on legal and judicial reforms, on behalf of my government, with particular emphasise on the following three (3) point:
First, the establishment of a consistent and coherent legal system is crucial in the on-going legal drafting endeavours in various areas, thus avoiding fragmentation of legal instruments. As core instruments, Japan has been assisting the drafting of civil and civil procedure codes. I appreciate active assistance by France in drafting criminal and penal procedural codes. I strongly encourage that other relevant laws be consistent with the core codes in these tow basic areas, thus ensuring a proper and efficient application of law and regulations. For instance, in the civil area, legal instruments concerning commercial activities, transactions, and investment should be compatible with the former codes. In the same vein, criminal laws covering special area should not duplicate nor undermine the latter coders. Such laws include an anti-corruption law, a counter-terrorism law, a law on public assembly for a peaceful demonstration, and an anti-trafficking law. In this regard, the coordinating function of the Council of Jurists in the Council of Ministers should be strengthened, intermediating different opinions and interest of relevant ministries, in order to establish a nationally-consistent legal system as soon as possible.
In the same vein, it is also important to distinguish legal matters which should be adopted by the Parliament from matters covered by sub-degrees and other subordinate legal instruments. Naturally, law should cover matters relating directly to people’s rights and duties, as well as basic elements of relevant policies, thus carte blanche by law, delegating such matters to sub-degrees, should be strictly restricted on one hand, and it should be avoided to stipulate details of implementation in law on other. The balance between the two categories of legal instrument is important, and the uniformity should be ensured as much as possible in the classification of these two categories in different areas.
Second, based upon these preoccupation, the Royal Government of Cambodia is strongly encouraged to specify areas which require assistance from foreign experts. Otherwise, the risk of duplicating legal assistance would become significantly higher, undermining the efforts to construct a consistent legal system in the country. In the same vein, we, donors, should on our parts, refrain from easily employing foreign consultants, commuting to this country on a short-time basis, who tend to transplant their own legal systems, or, in worse case, introduce excessively innovative rules and systems, virtually non-existent in any sovereign country. Each consultant claims that their advice is “international best practice,” but this will lead to a typical situation of “fallacy in composition” in Samuelson’s terms, which may damage the whole system. Legal systems should respect each society, and donors should ensure that legislative advice be made by experts staying in Cambodia more than one year. In this regard, as far as we are concerned, JICA experts in charge of legislative assistance are all long-term residents in this country, making efforts together with Cambodians counterparts, in solving day-to-day problems and troubles, respecting Khmer legal terminology.
Third, as I have already pointed our in different occasions, the mere adoption of legal instruments is not sufficient. Efforts should be made to enhance capacities for enforcement. The government and donors should continue to provide necessary human resources development, training and apprenticeships for those involved with enforcement, in providing legislative assistance.
I would add a few points specifically on the issue of strengthening the judicial function of this country;
First, the establishment of an independent and professional judicial branch is an urgent task. To this aim, human resources development programmes for the formation and training of judges, investigating judges, prosecutors, the police, as core agents of the judicial branches are urgently needed as well as necessary facilities and equipments for the execution of their tasks. It is hoped that donors concentrate their wisdom and experience as well as financial assistance for this purpose. In the same vein, the drafting of a code of ethics for judges and prosecutors, is also important for promoting the quality of judicial personnel.
Second, given the shortage of human and material resources in this country, due considerations should be made to administrative efficiency. As I have already said at the beginning of this statement, we should bear in mind the legal consistency in rules and procedures, and the priority should be given to the strengthening of basic systems which are applicable to a wide range of areas. Therefore, in order to strengthen the judicial function, the existing and basic judicial system should be first strengthened and improved. From this point of view, the argument for promoting professional expertise by establishing special counts is too early, if not inappropriate. We think that what is required in Cambodia is a strong and unified court system as a basis for a consistent legal system.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, in this juncture, I should point out that strenuous efforts are currently being made for the launching of the Khmer Rouge Trail. The Trial can play an important role as a catalyst for strengthening Cambodia’s general judicial system, providing a good model in legal proceedings based upon due process, efficient judicial administration and support systems. I commend the efforts and awareness of Royal Government to this effort and it is our pleasure that Japan has been contributing to the establishment of the Trial in both financial and intellectual aspects, and we, with other donors, express our high expectation that the Trail will start in motion in an immediate future.
I just would like to add some comments on JMIs listed in the column. In the draft indicator 2. iv, three laws are enumerated as those to which the priority will be given, not seven laws which are considered to be fundamental laws. I believe that the criteria for selecting these laws should be clearly prescribed. I will appreciate it if the content of these laws as well as how laws were chosen as priority areas are clarified.
Thank you for your patience and indulgence.
Development – Health and Education
Your Excellency Keat Chhon, Senior Minister and Minister
A nation’s progress is measured by, and is dependent on the development status of its citizens. Ensuring the health and education of the population is thus a vital Government function. Recognizing this, the Royal Government of Cambodia has invested considerable time and resources in human development and gender equity, and incorporated this as a fundamental component of the Rectangular Strategy and the National Strategic Development Plan. Donors have stood with Government from the outset to ensure positive impact in the development of human potential in Cambodia.
Health and education must be monitored for quality and accessibility, and are critically dependent on timely and predictable management of the Government budget. The “no carry-over” policy is an initiative that brings greater and much needed transparency to expenditures. Government and donors have maintained close consultation through the mechanism of the Technical Working Groups, which also directs attention to other sector-specific indicators such as the recruitment, training, and deployment of midwives, and improvement in education quality at primary level.
While there is consensus on the central importance of human development, the proposed development indicators have now been incorporated into administrative and financial reform agendas. Within this context, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Health will collaborate to develop a monitoring indicator on disbursement of funds and procurement of supplies to service delivery units. This indicator of joint responsibility will be monitored during the year as one of the official Public Financial Management Reform Programme indicators.
People are the building blocks of development and are every bit as important as administrative and financial reform. Much has been achieved in the social sector that Cambodia can be proud of. However let us not forget the facts that still confront us today. Half of the children never complete primary education. They are the resource for the future and must be treated as such. We are proud that HIV prevalence has fallen from over three percent to under tow percent, but it is still unacceptably high, as is preventable maternal mortality. Significant gender inequities persist, in access to education, public services, and decision-making positions. Infant mortality is falling, but less than 20 percent of the population use public health services. We cannot allow these critical issues to slide away from our attention.
The donor remain committed to supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia is its implementation of the Rectangular Strategy, including the central importance of human development; and also to the collaboration and communication embodied in to TWG mechanism. We acknowledge that achievement of Government in steadily improving the rate of disbursement. However we still need to have appropriate, clear indicator that can reflect progress in the provision and use of public services, and that should be part of our report to the Consultative Group. We stand with you in a determination to make certain that vital services in health and education are available to all of Cambodia’s people.
Donor Statement for Decentralization and Deconcentration (D&D)
Your Excellencies ladies and gentlemen. The international development partners acknowledge the importance of the Strategic Framework for D&D, approved in June 2005 by the Council Ministers. This policy document sets out a comprehensive set of reforms at a sub national level to achieve two strategic goals:-
1. To strengthen and expand local democracy.
2. To promote local development and to reduce poverty.
The government’s commitment made at the last GDCC on the 12 December 2005 to complete the draft of the Organic Laws and a preliminary outline implemented strategy by the end of the first quarter of 2006, is welcome and will provide clarity on priority reforms and how they are to be implemented. The draft organic law will provide an important opportunity for consultation within the government and with key stakeholders at a national and sub national level and we would welcome more information on how this process will be conducted. It is important that a national program is developed to implement the D&D strategic framework that provides sufficient detail to allow donors to use the remainder of 2006 to review existing support to D&D and to design future support, in line with the Cambodian Harmonization and Alignment Action Plan, so that appropriate resources are available to support the RGC’s reforms and development program form January 2007 onwards.
Four development partners currently provide investment funds through the governments Commune Sangkat Fund (CSF), amounting to $8 million, or 62% of the total CSF Development Component of $13 million this year. This contribution depends upon government structures, functions and procedures which the Seila Program has helped to put in place as well as harmonized technical assistance which has greatly reduced the overall proportion of ODA allocated to TA. Nine donors currently provide financing of local development, program support and technical assistance through the harmonized external resource framework established by the government under the Seila Program and Partnership for Local Governance Project. The current aid mobilization framework has enabled donors to channel investment of nearly $26 million to the sub-national level this year. As Seila’s mandate is due to expire at the end of 2006, and the current arrangements for harmonized technical assistance will end concurrently, the international development partners would welcome an early decision on the institutional framework for sub national investment, including structures, functions and procedures, which will be put in place to enable harmonized donor support to the government’s D&D reforms to continue following the close of the Seila Program at the end of the year. This would help avoid the risk of disruption of donor support, and ensure that the principle of harmonized technical assistance is upheld, at this important stage of the governments D&D reforms.
The draft JMIs for D&D prepared by the government provide a useful outline of the main actions to develop the reforms in the D&D strategic framework.
Final D&D Joint donor statement 15 Feb 06
Finalizing the JMIs will provide an opportunity to address the points raised in my presentation. As discussed at previous GDCC meetings, it is now critical that the first meeting of the D&D TWG is held, to discuss and finalize the D&D JMIs in preparation for the CG meeting on the 2 & 3 March. The TWG meeting will also provide an opportunity to agree a work plan for 2006 and created a forum to discuss how donors can align, in a harmonized way, their support behind the government’s ambitious reforms for D&D and continue to provide the sub national investment needed for local development.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this joint statement on behalf of the development partners.
MEETING OF THE GOVERNMENT-DONOR COORDINATION COMMITTEE
STATEMENT ON PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Excellency Keat Chhon,
Senior Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance,
I am pleased to make this statement on private sector development on behalf of Cambodia’s development partners. Over the last year, we have seen very important progress in this area. We are impressed by the RGC commitment and effort in consistently implementing reforms. The results have been very encouraging, especially in the reduction of cost and time in import and export processes, as well as company registration. As an example, prior to September 2004, on average 61 enterprises were registered monthly, and after the simplification in that month, the average registration has been 124 per month. This provides tangible evidence that reforms can have very positive and visible outcomes on the ground and gives us a strong incentive to further increase our efforts at change. We have also noted a growing interest form the international business community in Cambodia. We must now ensure that this interest and intentions are translated into realized investments.
A key area for early action is in trade facilitation. The establishment and implementation of single window clearance with harmonized procedures & guidelines for documentation, inspection and clearance of goods continues to be delayed. In a highly competitive global and regional market, Cambodia cannot afford to lose markets because of high transaction cost.
Promoting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ)’s an excellent move that will mot only bring about increased employment for a growing young population, but also help diversify the growth base that Cambodia needs. But SEZ success depends on its ability to operate as one-stop-service with the most cost effective and time efficient process.
RGC has made important step in approving the draft concession (PPI) law, and we look forward to its early adoption by the National Assembly and effective implementation. Transparency and credibility in the concession granting process is essential to increase private sector investment and participation in infrastructure by reputable companies.
Predictability, transparency and equality of treatment under the law and regulations are essential for long-term investment in Cambodia. The passage of several important business related laws such as the law on commercial enterprises is an important first step, and we congratulate government on the serious steps it is taking to ensure such laws are passed quickly. Nevertheless, as we said last year laws are only really useful if they are well implemented. We have not seen too much progress in this area. Much more effort at judicial reform is need to achieve such effective implementation.
RGC’s approval of SME Development Framework last year provided the foundation for future efforts to develop this sub-sector. As the dominant element of the private sector in Cambodia, SMEs need to be encouraged to join the formal sector by simplifying all business registration and licensing requirements that impede their potential growth. For example, initial surveys show that over 75 licenses affect SME’s operations. Some of these are certain to be redundant and need to be rationalized.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we need to be aware that the next phase of reform in private sector development will be more complex and more difficult as we confront entrenched interests. But we also believe that 2006 offers a unique opportunity to release the vast potential of private sector development, and to strengthen Cambodia’s competitive advantage for the benefit of all its citizens. As your development partners, we will continue to offer our continuing support for a bold plan of action in 2006.
The reformation and restructuring of sub-national governance in the Strategic Framework for Decentralization and Deconcentration, and consequential national adjustments, is extremely comprehensive, intricate and sensitive.
Organic Laws to develop, support and guide these policies are presently being conceptualized and fleshed out in accordance with the basic concepts of the Strategic Framework document. The first drafts will be available at the end of March and will provide a basis and opportunity for consultations between the government and key stakeholders. Clearly the TWG(D&D) will be one of the principal forums for discussion and information between donors and the government.
Although it is desirable to include all major principles for sub-national democratic development in one comprehensive and cohesive set of Organic Laws, it is simply not feasible to implement all the extensive and complex components of the Laws immediately or simultaneously. These matters must therefore be prioritized, phased, and implemented incrementally over several years.
The Royal Government is therefore deeply conscious of the essential need for a broad implementation strategy that identifies the basic choices and time frames for priorities, phasing and implementation. The government has already indicated its intention that a preliminary and provisional outline of this strategy will also be available at the end of the first quarter of this year.
This provisional outline includes preliminary options and strategies for general donor funding programs; institutional arrangements for donor funding and funding mechanisms; and SEILA from the Independent Study of Donor Support. This study will also take into account the broad intentions of the Declaration on Harmonization and Alignment.
I cannot over-emphasize that is crucial for all stakeholders (including the Royal Government) that the preliminary strategy should include as much certainty and detail as may be feasible and realistic on all of these matters, so that we can all develop our future plans, both individually and collectively, for 2006 and beyond. In this respect however, two important factors must be borne in mind:
Clearly too, the TWG(D&D) will be one of the principal forums for discussion and information between donors and the government as regards these matters.
In these respects, there is a mutual and essential need, for close cooperation, understanding and consultation between the government and the donor community. Appropriate coordination between donors, and effective and efficient mechanisms for donor-government consultation and cooperation, is crucial for achieving our policy objectives.
I trust that you will accept my assurance that these essential matters have the strongest support of the Royal Government.
In conclusion I should emphasize that the Royal Government desires and expects that the donor community will contribute towards the promotion and establishment of democratic development in this changing environment with eve greater and more effective understanding and support.