The government’s project to support phase II of the Implementation of the Social Accountability Framework (ISAF) for a period of five years was launched on February 18 with officials saying that there were many areas in need of reforms at the sub-national level even though provision of public services has been improving.
The official launching ceremony took place at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, and it was attended by numerous government officials and representatives of development partners and civil society organizations, with a total of approximately 150 participants.
The project is financed by the Service Delivery Trust Fund which is administered by the World Bank and supported by the governments of Germany and Switzerland, with funding of approximately $9.6 million to improve government services.
Ngy Chanpal, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and Chairman of National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD), said that the implementation of phase I from 2016 to 2018 covered 98 target districts in 18 provinces and impacted three sectors: commune administration, primary schools and health facilities.
Chanpal said that the plan achieved good results and that the experience they had gained while implementing it brought to their attention other priority sectors that provide essential services to people which also require reform.
“We all need to work harder to reform the framework. I’m not saying that we have everything figured out and that as soon as we implement our plans that every problem will instantly be solved. But we are gradually improving how we do things through experience even though these experiences are sometimes difficult,” Chanpal said.
“This time, we are undertaking bigger reforms by expanding into important sectors related to environmental issues, clean water, hygiene and waste disposal,” he said.
Chanpal said that having learned many lessons from the implementation of social accountability measures in phase I, the NCDD is now ready to cooperate with development partners to expand these social accountability measures to 170 target towns, districts and communes in Phnom Penh and 23 provinces.
Chanpal explained that they were focusing on nearly 1,500 entities that provide administration services and more than 7,000 primary schools and health centres across the country.
Daniel Selvanayagam, National Director for World Vision International Cambodia, reiterated that the project’s goal was to connect people to improved public services that operated with social accountability.
“We are all honoured to be entrusted with the task of promoting local dialogue between people and service providers, as well as local authorities in all communes in the country until 2024... it will be of benefit to millions of people, especially vulnerable people, who will have better access to excellent services,” he said.
According to the NCDD’s report, phase II of the government’s five-year social accountability implementation plan is expected to cost about $32 million.
Of that $32 million, about $12 million will be spent on supplies and about $18 million will be spent on other necessities.
Approximately $2 million more in funds will be used for administration and operations for the Public Administration Fund.