To further promote people’s participation in social activities, the Project Coordination Office has organized the 2 Annual Demand for Good Governance Project Forum. That forum, Promoting Citizens’ Participation for Better Governance, was held on January 27, 2011, in Phnom Penh.
According to the Forum’s agenda, promoting people’s participation will enable people to build ownership and will increase accountability and transparency. Through this participation, it will also support the project and program implementation at National and Sub-national levels with sustainability, so that it will be able to improve living standards and poverty reduction among Cambodians.
“Citizens’ participation is a right, compulsory, and indispensable social element that are able to catalyze the process of good governance. It supports the process of decentralization reform, enabling to stimulate the socio-economic development; thus, it helps Cambodian people to live in prosperity, equity, and sustainability,”
said H.E. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
He added that the government’s comprehensive goal is to create a culture of democracy with responsibility based on engagement of its people. These engagements are more than engaging in elections; people should participate in every aspect of social activities, such as improving social security, infrastructure, and public services.
Mr. Qimiao Fan, Country Manager of the World Bank, said that promoting citizens’ participation is a fundamental success of the government’s decentralization reform, because decentralization is all about improving accountability between the government and citizens, and it is about improving accountability for delivering goods and fast services at the grassroots level.
He went on to say that building good governance does not only require processes, policy, and procedures, but more importantly, it requires a culture of transparency and accountability of all government officials. Also, it needs citizens and civil society to engage in the process.
It is difficult to fully increase citizens’ engagement in the decisionmaking process, in part because it requires that citizens and civil society have access to significant human resources and a range of capacities.
Not only is it a long-term process, but the Cambodian government should work hard to accomplish its decentralization policies.
H.E. Ngy Chanphal, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior, said that the culture of democracy is not just an imported product from a foreign country that we can use immediately like a vehicle. It must be constructed through the development of human resources, social infrastructure, the economy, and stability.
The government has established the Demand for Good Governance Project to improve citizens’ participation, particularly in helping people to increase access to information and accountability between citizens and the government, he added.
He mentioned that it has been implemented by the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, The Asia Foundation, and other non-government organizations.
The Demand for Good Governance Project was established on June 24, 2009, with a total budget of US$ 25.5 million. The fund was granted by the World Bank, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Cambodia Investment Association, and a portion of the government’s budget. Implementation
period is from 2009-2013. (SEAW)
BY CHRIN SAMVISAL