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FA address at the Civil Society Forum on NGOs’ Statement to the 2006 Consultative Group Meeting

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FORUM-ASIA was invited by the Civil Society Forum to Phnom Penh to present its perspectives on the current situation of official development assistance in Cambodia. During the meeting, the FA representative explained why human rights are important in development, highlighted the challenges faced in Cambodia’s development, and made some recommendations to the donors and the Cambodian government.


Challenges in Summary

The multi-dimensional challenges faced in Cambodia can be summed-up into the following:


  • Political coercion and intimidation
  • Lack of protection of human rights defenders
  • Protection and promotion of human rights
  • Limited democracy
  • Endemic corruption
  • Lack of an independent judiciary
  • Unequal land ownership
  • Environmental problems
  • Poverty

In order for us to tackle these challenges, there is a need for sustained and effective cooperation and oordination among human rights, development and environment NGOs at the national, regional and global evels.

Recommendation to Donors

We would like to make five major recommendations to Cambodia’s donors.

  • Donors should emphasize human rights in their development programs and assistance to support Cambodian people to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights but also their civil and political rights. A key area of assistance that the international community can render to the Cambodian government is in implementing the ratified human rights treaties.
  • Donors should encourage the Cambodian government to fully comply with the promises made at the Consultative Group meetings or Government Donor Coordination Committee meetings. The gap between the pledges and results should be examined so that alternative ways to fill the gap could be found. Donors should set an appropriate timeframe by which the Cambodian government can meet these gaps.
  • Donors should also insist on joint monitoring indicators agreed upon at the last Consultative Group Meeting.
  • Donors should continue to support the development of civil society, particularly to increase assistance to NGOs that promote human rights including freedom of expression, association and assembly, development, rule of law, counter-corruption. Donors should carry out more open dialogue with government, civil society and international agencies, to increase frankness in discussions and encourage greater people’s participation.
  • Donors should comply with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which is endorsed by Cambodia as well as many of its donors. In Paris, on March 2, 2005, governments met and agreed to take firm action to reform the ways they deliver and manage aid as they look ahead to the UN fiveyear review of Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals.” The governments ecognized that aid effectiveness must increase to strengthen governance and improve development erformance.

Recommendations to the Cambodian Government

We would like to make six major recommendations to the Cambodian government.

  • The Cambodian government should fully implement and uphold its international and domestic legal obligations to promote and protect all human rights of people in Cambodia, including freedom of expression, association and assembly.
  • The government should make human rights a fundamental component of its development programs.
  • The government should fulfill upon the promises made at the Consultative Group meetings and the orld Summit to prove the transparency and accountability of its development programs, and to chieve UN Millennium Development Goals.
  • The government should comply with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
  • The government should implement ASEAN’s Vientiane Action Programme 2004-2010, which outlines strategies to promote human rights, to strengthen rule of law, judiciary systems and legal nfrastructure, and effective and efficient civil services.
  • The government should encourage and accept people’s participation and access to information, in decision making processes of its development programs, especially in regard to sound management  of natural resources, and economic and industrial land concessions.

Read full text of keynote address (in .pdf).