The purpose of this report is to assist RGC’s efforts to bring about a paradigm shift in the thinking and practices of development cooperation in Cambodia, from a decade-long, dominant Donorship to a new National Ownership. It is based on four case studies of programs which represent good practices of the paradigm shift envisaged by the government. General recommendations on approaches to aid coordination have been drawn from key factors that have contributed to achievements in the respective cases; in addition, specific recommendations for action are offered, both for other sectors and cross-cutting issues which wish to implement better coordination, and for how to further improve aid coordination in the four cases studied.
Looking at the future, the recommendations proposed under this report need to be implemented if they are to have any tangible impact on development in Cambodia. The Government-Donor Partnership Working Group (PWG) is currently mandated to examine issues, make recommendations to strengthen partnerships, and report progress at the CG meetings. Thus, the PWG is perhaps suitable for monitoring and reporting the implementation of recommendations in this report. However, it is important to recognize that the authority to implement recommendations rests with the concerned government ministries and agencies, not with the PWG. For instance, our specific recommendations for action to other sectors need to be further articulated and implemented by the line ministries or agencies in charge of the respective sectors. The implementation arrangements are even more complex when the recommendations are concerned with cross-cutting issues in such areas as public financial management, because many ministries and agencies are involved.
This points to the critical importance of strong commitment and leadership from top political levels for the implementation of the recommendations proposed in this report. The government has demonstrated high level commitment and leadership for the four cases studied. It has identified Education and Health as priority sectors for poverty reduction in Cambodia, and has been increasing national budget allocation steadily to those sectors in the last few years. The top leaders in those ministries cited strong commitment at higher political levels as the most critical prerequisite for successful program development and aid coordination in those sectors. In cross-cutting issues studied, high level commitment to Seila and TCAP has given strong backing for program development and enhancement of aid coordination in local governance and public finance, respectively. If similar commitment can be made to other bringing about similar changes in other priority sectors and cross-cutting issues, substantial progress can be made. Now is the time to further advance the new paradigm of development cooperation in Cambodia.
References (Part I: Chapters 1-5)