Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The 2005 GOVERNMENT BENCHMARK REPORT CARD



In December last year the government agreed to a set of 32 performance monitoring

indicators by which international donors could track reform efforts.

At that government-donor Consultative Group meeting, the United Nations, development

banks, and bilateral donors announced they would contribute $504 million for projects

in 2005. Then, donors talked tough and said that if serious progress was not made,

some funding bodies would reconsider the amount of aid money given to Cambodia and

the way it was disbursed.

After the first quarterly check, NGOs described progress as "mixed". But

now after six months, they are demanding action on several points. NGOs and donors

agree that the most serious failings have been in natural resources, with a moratorium

on transporting logs overturned and no sign of the "immediate public disclosure"

of land concessions promised in the benchmarks.

The following is a full list of the performance monitoring indicators and an evaluation

of progress compiled by Elena Lesley from donors, the government, NGOs and media.

1. Fighting corruption and increasing accountability

1. Within the existing criminal law, reported cases of corruption shall be brought

before the courts for investigation and hearing.

2. The existing draft law on anti-corruption shall be brought into compliance with

international best practice [such as reflected in the United Nations Convention against

Corruption or other instruments].

3. The Government should commence preparatory work on establishing a legislative

framework (such as a Freedom of Information Law) to facilitate access to information

held by public authorities. In the meantime, public authorities must change current

practice by displaying a preparedness to share information with the general public

and with other institutions of the Government.

- Little progress to date; reported cases of financial corruption, mis-procurement

and diversion of resources have not resulted in prosecution.

- NGOs and a team of international experts have worked with the Ministry of National

Assembly and Senate Relations Inspections (MoNASRI) over the past four months to

improve their understanding of international standards. International experts will

assess a draft, before submitting it to the Council of Ministers in July or August.

- NGOs and government authorities are discussing the preparation of a Freedom of

Information Law. It is unclear which ministry or government authority will be responsible

for drafting the law and facilitating access to information.

2. Legal, judicial reform and protection of human


Adoption of the drafts of 8 fundamental laws and submission to the National Assembly

as a matter of urgency:

1. Penal Code

2. Code of Penal Procedures

3. Civil Code

4. Code of Civil Procedures

5. Organic Law on the Organization and Functioning of Courts

6. Law on the Amendment of the Supreme Council of Magistracy

7. Law on the Status of Judges and Prosecutors

8. Law on Anti-Corruption

- Seven of the eight laws are with the Judiciary Secretariat of Government for consideration,

one of the first steps in passing a law. Only the Civil Code has progressed to the

Council of Ministers. No action has been taken on the Law on the Amendment of the

Supreme Council of Magistracy.

3. Public administration reform

1. Agreement between government and donors on a strategy to phase out donor-funded

salary supplements and redirect them in support of pay reforms in priority areas

by June 2005.

2. The Council of Ministers approve by November 2005 for implementation starting

in January 2007, a phased medium-term civil service remuneration plan to improve

civil service pay selectively to appropriate levels, that will allow the public administration

to attract and retain talent.

3. Pilot implementation of pay and employment reform initiatives - that are fully

consistent with each other - and that reward performance and promote merit in at

least three sectors or professional streams during 2006.

4. Gradual reduction of cash transactions in the payment of salaries through the

use of the banking system and electronic transfers. Parameters and preparation of

pilots for payments via electronic bank transfers completed by November 2005.

5. A meritocratic human resource policy with a detailed and sequenced implementation

plan will be adopted by the Council of Ministers.

- A strategy and action plan have been produced but further discussion is needed.

- A draft of the plan is not yet finished. However, the group has formed some

elements of an overarching plan and conducted a study on salaries in the current

labor market. The working group is waiting for a revenue forecast done by the Council

for Administrative Reform (CAR) and the Ministry of Finance before making any final


- In early June, the government and donor partners agreed on a merit-based pay deal

for Cambodian civil servants working on priority reform programs.

- The Ministry of Finance has extended the number of officials receiving their salaries

by check. CAR has reached an agreement with the treasury department to facilitate

payment through private banking in some districts.

- CAR has revised the old policy and is currently consulting with ministers.

4. Decentralization and deconcentration

1. The RGC National Policies, Strategic Framework, Action Plan finalized by March

2005 and submitted to Council of Ministers for approval.

2. The first draft prepared for consultation of the D&D organic Laws on the Management

of Provincial & District, Municipalities and the Capital, produced within the

D&D strategic framework.

- A draft of the strategic framework was produced in March and presented at a national

workshop in Sihanoukville in early April. The working group hopes that the framework

will go to the Council of Ministers by the end of June.

- Now that the policy framework is near completion, working group members can start

focusing on drafting the legal framework.

5. Public financial management

1. Implement RGC's Public Financial Management reform agenda: first 12 months of

platform 1.

- The PFM reform agenda is a little behind schedule due to delays in reaching agreements

among government agencies.

6. Agriculture and natural resources management

1. Pass/enact key laws and subdecrees, governing natural resources management, including

Fisheries Law and Community Fisheries Subdecree (rollover), State Land Management

and Economic Land Concessions subdecrees and enforcement of Article 18 of Land Law,

that private sales transactions on state lands are illegal and hence should not be

validated by officials. Joint development of a medium term sector strategy for agriculture,

including irrigated agriculture, has been commenced by March 2005, with an overall

policy and strategic framework completed by December 2005.

2. Maintain suspension/moratorium on logging, transport of logs (except those which

have been already inventoried and for which royalties have been paid in full), and

new economic land concessions pending completion of applicable review processes and/or

a legal framework.

3. Increase transparency of state management of natural resources through immediate

public disclosure of existing contracts and compliance status (royalties and other

key provisions) of contracts governing economic land concessions, mining concessions,

fishing lots.

4. Application of sustainable management planning, including Environmental and Social

Impact Surveys , investor evaluations, consultation with local communities, public

disclosure and comment period prior to entering into new contracts for private use/management

of state managed natural resources (land, fisheries, forestry, and mines).

5. RGC disclose the location and legal status and process for termination of mining

concessions, Military Development Zones, economic land concession and other development

arrangements situated on forest land or in protected areas and inconsistent with

law governing management of these areas.

- The Community Fisheries Subdecree has been passed but the Fisheries Law and subdecrees

on State Land Management and Economic Concessions are still under preparation. There

has been progress on the development of an agricultural strategy. There has been

no progress reported on the undertaking to enforce the ban on illegal private sales

of state land; meanwhile, there is evidence that the practice is continuing.

- The transport of old logs has occurred and it remains unclear whether royalties

have been paid in full for those logs. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on March

14 that he was ending the moratorium on new economic land concessions.

- There has been no progress reported on immediate public disclosure of contracts

governing economic land concessions, nor mining concessions. However, there has been

transparency in the granting of fishing lots.

- Even though the required steps were not taken, there is some evidence to suggest

that new contracts for the private use of state managed natural resources have been


- No progress has been reported on the disclosure of information on various development

arrangements in forestland or protected areas.

7. Private sector development

1. The Government will establish a single entry point, or Single Window, that will

allow parties involved in trade to fulfill the documentary requirements for import

or export in a single transaction. Multiple interactions with agencies will be replaced

by information sharing within Government. This will be achieved as a key step toward

an automated Single Window process including CED and other relevant agencies.

2. The revised Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) process articulated

in the draft Law on Concessions will be adopted by the Council of Ministers and submitted

to the National Assembly during 2005. Implementing Regulations will be issued by

June 2005. Beginning June 2005, any new PPI deals will be done in conformity with

the law as submitted to the National Assembly and the implementing regulations.

3. The Council of Ministers will approve a small and medium size enterprise (SME)

development framework, including a definition of SMEs to be used among all Government

agencies, developed by the SME committee and in coordination and consultation with

other line ministries and private sector representatives.

4. The draft Law on Commercial Arbitration is adopted by the Council of Ministers

and submitted to the National Assembly. As evidenced that the law is implemented,

at least one recognized arbitration center, with appropriately trained and respected

staff and a roster of trained and respected arbitrators will have issued at least

two arbitration judgements.

- A single document has been put together.

- The law and regulations have been submitted to the Council of Ministers for review

but not yet adopted.

- The Small Medium Enterprise framework has been submitted to the Council of Ministers,

but not yet approved. An SME definition is still being discussed.

- The draft law was adopted by the Council of Ministers and has been sent to the

National Assembly. It is not yet on the assembly's agenda.

8. Gender, poverty and HIV/AIDS

1. These [issues] will be treated as cross- cutting issues to be addressed under

the broader umbrella of formulating the next five-year National Strategic Development

Plan for 2006-2010.

2. Gender Equality: Put in place the Legal Framework for Protection: Draft Domestic

Violence Law is adopted by the Council of Ministers and submitted to the National

Assembly and a Prevention Plan adopted; Draft Anti-Trafficking Law is adopted by

the Council of Ministers and submitted to the National Assembly and a Prevention

Plan adopted.

- The 18th technical working group had its first meeting with government, donor and

NGO partners in attendance. A very tight timeline for completion of the NSDP has

been proposed, but not adopted.

- The draft Domestic Violence Law has not yet been adopted by the Council of Ministers;

there has been no progress on the Anti-Trafficking Law.

9. Health and education

1. Timely disbursements of the budget for Health and Education as agreed in the Public

Financial Management Action Plan.

- Priority Action Program (PAP) cash disbursements have not met their target numbers

in the health sector. NGOs were unable to obtain information about PAP disbursement

from the Ministry of Education.

10. Harmonizaion and alignment

1. Implement and monitor implementation progress on a six-monthly basis the Harmonization

Action Plan and Partnership Principles.

- The government and donor community have prepared for an NSDP, reorganized the 18

technical work groups and gave a full report on Cambodia's Harmonization and Alignment

Action Plan at the High Level Forum in Paris in early 2005.


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