HE PRUM SOKHA
SECRETARY OF STATE, MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
CHAIRPERSON OF THE TASK FORCE OF THE INTER-MINISTERIAL
COMMITTEE TO DRAFT THE ORGANIC LAW
NATIONAL POLICY ON DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT
FOR THE MEETING OF THE
GOVERNMENT-DONOR COORDINATION COMMITTEE
June 14, 2006
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a privilege for me to
have the opportunity today to share with the Government-Donor
Coordination Committee the Royal Government’s significant progress in
realizing our national policy on sub-national democratic development.
In June 2005, the Royal
Government approved a Strategic Framework for Decentralization and
Deconcentration Reforms that outlines our national policy on
sub-national democratic development.
Democratic development is
an encompassing vision for improved governance in Cambodia that will
introduce fundamental changes at all sub-national levels —provinces,
municipalities including Phnom Penh, districts, khans, communes and
sangkats. These changes will also bring substantial change to Government
at the national level.
envisages competent sub-national councils — directly or indirectly
elected — that are equipped with the functions, resources and personnel
necessary to respond to local needs and to make concrete improvements in
the quality of life of their people.
At the core of democratic
development are the principles of democratic representation, public
participation, transparency and accountability in local governance. The
policy of democratic development will create an environment of strong
grassroots participatory democracy that empowers Cambodians to influence
decisions that affect their lives and that enable Cambodians to ensure
and sustain responsive and accountable local governance.
therefore, will fundamentally change the way in which Cambodians and
their elected institutions of government interact.
STATUS OF REFORM AS OF CONSULTATIVE GROUP MEETING
IN MARCH 2006
At the Consultative Group Meeting in March 2006, H.E.
Sar Kheng outlined the Royal Government’s Strategic Framework of June
2005 and its proposal for the restructuring and reformation of all
current levels of sub-national administration.
At that meeting, H.E. Sar Kheng identified three major
components that were necessary to advance the reform in the short term.
These three major components were —
preparation of a draft
preparation of a
preliminary Implementation Framework for the Organic Law; and
completion of an
independent study on options for future donor funding and support to
decentralization and deconcentration reforms that was commissioned by
the Ministry of Interior.
I am pleased today to
report on progress regarding these three major components and on
additional steps that have been taken to advance our policy.
1. Completion of Preliminary Draft of the
A preliminary draft of the
Organic Law was completed in mid-May and is now being translated. The
Ministry of Interior has already begun to review and study the first
The draft Law --
structures and processes for provincial, municipal, district and commune
sets out policies and
processes for the re-allocation and transfer of governmental functions,
duties and resources to these councils (including fiscal and financial
arrangements, personnel and assets);
establishes a unified
administration for each council;
ensures that the elected
councils enhance and facilitate local democratic representation,
participation, transparency and accountability;
ensures greater and
improved delivery of services, facilities and infrastructure;
government-donor coordination and cooperation in these areas; and
establishes a strong
Implementing Authority with appropriate authority to oversee
implementation of the Organic Law, including the transfer of functions,
resources and personnel to sub-national councils.
Immediately after the Royal
Government has had sufficient opportunity to consider the preliminary
draft Organic Law, it will be available for consultation and comment,
and amendment where necessary.
A final draft of the
Organic Law will be submitted to the National Assembly and Senate during
the latter part of this year.
2. Completion of Preliminary
At the meeting in March of
this year, H.E. Sar Kheng also outlined a four-phase implementation
strategy for the Organic Law. The four phases are --
The preparatory phase
is from now until the National Assembly and Senate approve the
Organic Law, hopefully by the end of 2006. Considerable preparatory work
will have to be done during this period.
The initial phase
will last from 2007 to 2009. It will involve --
establishment of an
Implementation Authority to oversee implementation of the Organic Law;
establishment of the
necessary structures and systems for implementation of the Organic Law;
the first elections of all
the new councils, starting with the direct elections of commune/sangkat
councils in April 2007; and
the first transfers of new
responsibilities and resources to the new councils.
During this initial phase,
there must be no suspension of present activities at sub-national
The transitional phase will
last from 2009 to 2012.
During this phase, it is
reasonable to expect more rapid and greater transfers of basic
governmental responsibilities and resources to councils at provincial,
municipal, district and commune levels. It can be expected that there
will be greater and more effective delivery of basic services to local
communities by their councils individually, and, also, improved delivery
of basic services by alt government institutions collectively.
The final transformation
phase will begin from 2013 and extend into the future. The experience
gained during the previous phases will further develop and entrench
democratic governance and continue to impact on poverty reduction.
These four phases have now
been further developed in some detail in a preliminary Implementation
Framework that spans the next 7 years and will provide guidance into the
Implementation Framework identifies the main components, priorities and
sequencing of activities for the reform and implementation of the
Organic Law. The preliminary Implementation Framework therefore provides
preliminary guidance, choices and timeframes for international agencies
and donors to develop flexible short-term, medium-term and
long-term programs that are in alignment with the Royal Government’s
policy and strategy.
The Framework is
preliminary, however, as it may well require adjustments dependent on
the outcome of the deliberations of the National Assembly and Senate on
the draft Organic Law.
The preliminary Framework
component for the first preparatory phase of the reform was distributed
to donors last week in draft form.
Immediately after the Royal
Government has had sufficient opportunity to review and finalize the
full preliminary Framework covering all four phases, it will be
available for consultation and comment, and amendment where necessary.
Completion of Independent Study
An independent study on
donor funding and support for democratic development was commissioned
late last year by the Ministry of Interior.
The independent study was
completed in late April 2006. As hoped, the report provided the IMC with
an authoritative statement of options and modalities that will best
ensure the sustainable and focused support of donors for our policy of
The key recommendations in
the report include the need for-
leadership and donor alignment;
an appropriate and
authoritative Implementing Authority;
flexible funding modalities
that takes into account the transitional and dynamic phase in our reform
(the third option, referred to as Option C in the report);
the development of an
appropriate Decentralization and Deconcentration Fund (D&D Fund) for
pooled donor funds that will be complemented by stand-alone projects;
an umbrella Royal
Government-Donor agreement that will cover all donor support for
democratic development, including both contributors to the D&D Fund and
donors supporting stand-alone projects; and
the transition and
phase-out of Seila.
The IMC met on May
18, 2006 to discuss the Independent Study report. The IMC agreed that
priority attention must be given to —
further developing the
option recommended in the Independent Study report for donor funding
support, in partnership with donors;
the design of the D&D Fund
recommended in the Independent Study Report; and
the transition and
phase-out of Seila functions, carried out with the least possible
disruption to current activities.
These matters are now
receiving priority attention by the IMC Task Force.
The Independent Study
report was distributed to donors and discussed at an IMC-Donor meeting
held on May 24, 2006. Donors have been uniformly supportive of the IMC’s
preliminary decisions to act on the key recommendations contained in the
Report pending adoption of the Organic Law.
The Royal Government is now
proceeding with the formulation of a preliminary Government Program for
Sub-National Democratic Development to implement our policy and the
The preliminary Program
will build on the best probable options of the draft Organic Law, the
preliminary Implementation Framework, and the IMC decisions drawing on
the Independent Study. The transition and phase out of Seila, a
government responsibility, will be one component of the Government
Appropriate terms of
reference are now under review for the appointment of a government
design team consisting of national and international members. The
Program formulation process will take several months in view of the
complexities involved and it will include consultation with donors.
Immediate funding is required to support this formulation mission.
The implementation Program
will, of course, be subject to the outcome of the deliberations of the
National Assembly and Senate on the draft Organic Law.
The Ministry of Interior
will also be available for consultations with donors formulating their
own programs to support and align with the Royal Government’s Program,
including a joint donor support program formulation mission which is
planned in the coming weeks.
NEXT STEPS PLANNED
The mandate of the IMC is
close to completion, as is the mandate of the National Committee to
Support Communes/Sangkats. It may be appropriate to create an Interim
Committee for Decentralization and Deconcentration that will manage the
process until the new Implementing Authority is established and
As soon as possible, the
preliminary draft Organic Law and preliminary Implementation Framework
will be reviewed by the IMC. Broader consultations will then be
undertaken with international and national agencies and donors,
including the Technical Working Group on Decentralization and
As I mentioned, it is
anticipated that the draft Organic Law will be submitted to the National
Assembly and Senate later this year.
Once the Organic Law is
adopted, the Government will finalize its implementation Program and
Cambodia will begin its active course toward sub-national democratic
CONTINUED GOVERNMENT-DONOR COOPERATION
The generous support,
cooperation, coordination and partnership of international and national
agencies and donors have been critical to the implementation of the
Royal Government’s decentralization policy since 2002.
We are, however, still in
the early stages of the overall reform process with greater and deeper
changes still to come. In this regard, I wish to highlight the
importance of flexible and adaptable support for our policy on
democratic development. This will be necessary in order to move quickly
once the Organic Law is adopted and in order to ensure a phased,
rational and coordinated approach to implementation that is responsive
to issues and opportunities as they emerge.
I am certain that
democratic development for Cambodia is a goal that is shared between the
Royal Government and its partners. I look forward to the continued
support and coordination of our donors and international and national
partners that will undoubtedly be critical to the success of our reform.