The Asia Foundation and SILAKA Promote Transparent and Accountable Management of Local Funds in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, February 9, 2021 — The Asia Foundation and SILAKA with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched a three-year project, “Promoting the Transparent and Accountable Management of Local Funds in Cambodia.” The event was presided over by H.E. Ngan Chamroeun, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, and Head of National Committee for Sub-National Development Secretariat.

This three-year project will incentivize local councils to be citizen-friendly and provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the planning and budgeting process. This project will be implemented in 24 communes, within eight districts, across four provinces; namely in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Kandal, and Tboung Khmum Provinces. The initiative will build the capacity of 222 commune councilors and 40 district councilors, facilitate 31 constructive policy dialogues at national and subnational levels, and engage 40,000 villagers.

man reads flyer

His Excellency Taha Macpherson, the New Zealand Ambassador to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia remarked, “Transparency and accountability of public finances are important in ensuring that funding decisions are making a positive difference to the lives of Cambodians. New Zealand is pleased to support local councils and citizens to help build their ability to participate appropriately in the budget planning process.”

His Excellency Ngan Chamroeun, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior and Head of National Committee for Sub-National Development Secretariat, stated: “Strengthening the sub-national administrative financial management system is an essential element of local governance reform as the budget of local administrations has been increased year by year. These local governance reforms have been supported through the Implementing Social Accountability Framework mechanism particularly through component 1: promoting transparency, easy access to information and budget information; and component 2: monitoring by citizens. Therefore, the project “Promoting the Transparent and Accountable Management of Local Funds in Cambodia” supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the New Zealand Aid Programme is highly important in contributing to the implementation of administrative governance reform at the sub-national level.”

Meloney C. Lindberg, Country Representative of The Asia Foundation mentioned that “based on recent household survey among citizens in the target communities, 89.7 percent of the respondents thought that it is important for them to attend community investment plan meeting, and 83.2 percent were interested in learning about the 2020 budget. This signifies people’s interest in learning about and taking part in local council budgeting and investment plan.”

His Excellency Chan Dara, Kampong Thom, Deputy Provincial Governor, said, “The local funds project will be significant, particularly at the district level. It is really important to reinforce and raise the capacity of district-level officials to enable them to have a clear understanding of the budget development process and engage with citizens.”

The project aims to increase citizens’ understanding of the Commune Council’s planning and budgeting processes and funding allocations and their rights and responsibilities in local decisions. Based on the priorities voiced by citizens, commune and district officials will also be better equipped to make more informed budget decisions. Innovative and meaningful forms of participation in the budgeting process will increase dialogue between commune councilors and citizens on local budget priorities. Project learning will also further contribute to improved local budgeting policy and guidelines, with learning will be shared among stakeholders.

woman takes notes while seated in the audience

The word SILAKA is formed from the word “SILA” meaning moral character, moral principles, and moral conduct, and the word “KARA” meaning an act, function, or work. SILAKA is a non-political, non-sectarian local Cambodian NGO with the goal of promoting democracy in Cambodian society. The organization focuses on sustainable development, caring for the environment, and gender and social justice. SILAKA focuses on providing training, women’s empowerment in decision making, and good governance. For more than 20 years SILAKA has provided capacity building for over 10,000 individuals, specifically aimed at empowering women and young women.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation.

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Related locations: Cambodia
Related programs: Good Governance
Related topics: Subnational Governance, Urban Governance

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