Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Donor 'talk fest' slammed

Donor 'talk fest' slammed

Donor 'talk fest' slammed

THE biannual meeting of donors and government officials is nothing more than a "talk fest that has achieved virtually nothing over the past 15 years", one rights group official said, as others agreed and cited glacial progress towards vital reforms in areas such as corruption and responsible governance that is, they claim, threatening to derail the Kingdom's overall development progress.

"We can expect the same old recycled statements from donors this year, followed by the same old promises by the government that will not be worth the paper they are printed on," Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said by email Wednesday.

At the Government Donor Coordination Committee (GDCC) meeting Tuesday, donors noted that in areas such as land rights, corruption and freedom of information, significant progress had not been forthcoming - concerns they have voiced at every similar meeting for the last decade.

In a statement similar to many released at previous meetings, development partners "urged that the four fundamental laws - relating to good governance and corruption - be submitted to the National Assembly for enactment as expeditiously as possible".

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith defended the forum Tuesday.

"These are big laws, and the government needs more time to workshop in order to stream knowledge to both civil and public servants," he said.

 But Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of NGO Forum Cambodia, said that it was only the political will of the government that was impeding reform.

"In my view, the level of concern from the donors has not changed between Tuesday's GDCC meeting and the ones held in previous years," he said.

Adams said donors as well as government officials bore responsibility for the lack of progress on these issues, saying they have "never acted in a truly coordinated way to put real pressure on the government to engage in necessary reforms".

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on