EU SPACE (GIZ)
“Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement of Democratic Councils in Cambodia”
Elected councils, as decision-making bodies serving local interests, have been established at three sub-national levels in Cambodia:
•In 2002, the councils in the rural communes and the urban sangkats were directly elected by the citizens for the first time. Communes and sangkats are the tier closest to the citizens and their councillors are expected to know best their constituents’ demands, concerns and interests they are to represent. Utilizing their general mandate and commune/sangkat fund, these councils have taken initiative and responded to local needs by launching projects for local development.
•In light of these successes of the first phase of Cambodia’s decentralization reform, in 2008 the Royal Government established councils in the rural districts and urban municipalities as well as at provincial level and in the Capital of Phnom Penh. These councils are indirectly elected by the commune/sangkat councillors. The provincial councils are expected to be responsible for regional strategic planning and for major infrastructure that is not managed by the central government. The districts and municipalities, as the second tier of local government, are envisaged to be the main tier for the delivery of services to the citizens – especially basic services. In order to fulfil this role, district and municipalities are to be transferred functions with the necessary financial and personnel resources and assets from central government by devolution or delegation. With their district/municipal fund, the councils of this second tier may choose permissive functions to respond to specific local needs and complement transferred functions.
With the National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development (NP-SNDD), the Royal Government has developed the implementation framework of this major whole-of-government reform for the ten-year period from 2010-2019. The main focus of the first two phases is on districts and municipalities that require significant capacity development support in order to fulfil their envisaged roles. The second phase of 2015-2017 aims at filling the established sub-national democratic structures with life by transferring basic service and local economic development functions, financial resources, personnel and assets to districts and municipalities as well as by having an operational district/municipal fund for the councils’ right of initiative.
EU SPACE has been designed to support the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) in implementing the NP-SNDD and is part of the programme-based approach, as defined by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) in October 2010. Funded by Germany, the EU and Sweden, EU SPACE is the joint technical cooperation mechanism of the NCDD and EU Development Partners and complements the financial contributions of Sweden and the EU to the NP-SNDD basket fund.
The first phase of EU SPACE was implemented by GIZ from 2010-2012. “EU SPACE 2” (2013-2015) aims to achieve the overall objective of sub-national government agencies and councils being more efficient, transparent and accountable (to the citizens) in fulfilling their responsibilities. This objective is pursued, both, through
(1) contributing to an enabling legal and policy environment for democratic accountability and sub-national councils’ deliberative space: particular focus of policy advice is on the transfer of functions and resources from the central level to sub-national councils, on strengthening the general mandate of councils and on sub-national personnel; and
(2) enabling district and municipal councils to realise their decision-making and oversight rights and include citizen’s views in their decision-making processes: They will be supported to use more inclusive, transparent and accountable processes for their decision-making. With selected sub-national councils in Battambang and Kampong Chhnang, the NCDD Secretariat in cooperation with EU SPACE ‘models’ council procedures for exploring their deliberative space and for using more inclusive, transparent and accountable processes. For instance, such procedures comprise how to hold public council meetings, organize public forums, use tools for engaging actively with citizens in the decision-making processes, choose permissive functions in response to citizens’ needs, and issue by-laws (“deika”) to regulate certain local matters. The modelled procedures are rolled-out country-wide in the form of council handbooks (“Technical Documents”). “Council Facilitators” disseminate the handbooks and provide orientation to councillors by utilizing an accompanying coaching manual. NCDD-S and EU SPACE jointly provide orientation on the council procedures to the Council Facilitators and train them in applying innovative approaches to capacity development in the form of learning- and demand-oriented coaching.
Total funding of EU SPACE 2:~5.53 Mio. EUR
Germany06/2012 – 12/2015~4.02 Mio. EUR
European Commission02/2014 – 12/2015 1.00 Mio. EUR
Sweden02/2014 – 12/2015~0.51 Mio. EUR (4.6 Mio. SEK)