EU: The Role Of Civil Society In Decentralised Cambodia (24/03/2010)

Battambang, 24 March 2010 - The EU Delegation to Cambodia today met with its funded partners in a seminar to discuss how Civil Society Organizations could contribute to the decentralization process in Cambodia. Some one hundred partners from different sectors including representatives from the Ministry of Interior have shared their different perspectives on this topic. This is one of a series of seminars organized by the EU Delegation to Cambodia twice a year for its funded partners to learn from each other to contribute to the development of Cambodia.

The workshop has underlined that the decentralization is not only a question of electing Council members, but involves devolving adequate powers, financial means, effective bureaucracy, economic development and, importantly, the rule of law at sub-national levels. It is also about the accountability of sub-national government.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Michelle Labeeu, the Head of Operations of the EU Delegation to Cambodia stressed the important links between EU development cooperation with the government and the role of the civil society in the long-term development goals of Cambodia, " The EU has also long partnered with the government to advance democratic governance reforms, of which sub national democratic development is key. We have also long appreciated that Cambodia's civil society is often a vibrant and effective development actor. This workshop provides us an important opportunity to jointly examine achievements and challenges." added Ms. Labeeu.

During the discussion forums, the participants had a great opportunity to exchange experiences and explore different and innovative approaches to decentralization and the sub-national democratic development reform process in order to build upon good practices and the cooperation between civil society organization and local authorities at different levels.

Background - Following the Government's adoption of the strategic framework for Decentralisation and De-concentration, the passing of the Organic Law in 2008 and the current efforts to finalise a 10 year National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development, the EU has supported these efforts for this important reform. EU support includes € 10 Million joint EC-UNDP Democratic Decentralisation Local Governance (DDLG) project which began in 2005. Additionally, EU currently funds 12 ongoing projects with a total amount of € 5.25 million in different fields of work, through local calls for proposals under the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities which is one of the European Union's assistance programmes with the aim of strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations and local authorities to contribute to a more equitable, open and democratic society.

For further information please contact Mrs Pok POUN at the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia: 023-216996, pok.poun@ec.europa.eu