7 June 2013

As a result of its stable, growing economy, Cambodia is moving nearer to middle-income status. This article describes the in-country discussion on “new paradigms” in development cooperation that is taking place in the context of Cambodia’s evolving priorities and capacities.

Cambodia’s evolving aid architecture

As a result of its stable, growing economy, Cambodia is moving nearer to middle-income status. The in-country discussion on “new paradigms” in development cooperation as well as on evolving priorities and capacities has started.

In Cambodia, there are three policy strands shaping the government plan for development. Cambodia has a long-term strategy called Vision 2030. In addition, two other guiding frameworks, the National Strategic Development Plan adn the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, are expected to be adopted following the general election scheduled in July 2013.

The recent Technical Working Group (TWG) Network retreat (25-26 March 2013) marked an important milestone for reaching consensus on the adoption of results-based planning and a national results-based framework between development partners and government officials. The retreat was organized by the Council for Development Cambodia (CDC), which holds an advisory function to the Prime Minister and has been active in moving the post-Busan agenda forward through a dialogue within government and with development partners.  The retreat was attended by senior officials across government, including secretaries of state from the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Economy and Finance, and by development partners from all sectors.

At the retreat, development partners and Government agreed to work towards a national results framework as defined in the National Strategic Development Plan, which supports greater alignment of assistance, fiscal transparency, and focus on key results. Results-based management is also expected to promote mutual accountability in order to drive better development outcomes. Some questions still remain on how to hold different actors accountable and how accountability can be measured. 

Development partners are aware that the development effectiveness agenda in Cambodia is rapidly changing, with an equally changing partner landscape. This requires a different way of working among partners as well as with the government. Partners support an annual dialogue at the highest government level and will explore options for more effective interaction with the government. In addition, partners and government will make joint efforts to streamline the functioning of the different TWGs. 

Cambodia is at a crossroads in its ascension towards middle-income status. In the health sector, where the TWG is well functioning with support from IHP+, health partners are already engaged in a forward-looking discussion on how to better harmonize and align with the government in "one voice" and support the development of the new health strategic plan.

Thanks to Pieter Van Maaren and Momoe Takeuchi for contributing this article.

Categories: Cambodia

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