The programme “Improved Service Delivery for Citizens in Cambodia” (ISD) aims to support local governments to deliver high quality services to the citizens in the sectors of waste and water management, health, administrative services and fiscal decentralisation with a focus on the three provinces: Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap.
The programme focuses primarily on (1) the implementation of the National Programme on Sub-National Democratic Development 2021–2030 (NP-2), especially in the health sector and for the promotion of women working in sub-national administrations; (2) administrative service delivery in digital and mobile form; (3) the development of scalable and climate-sensitive waste and water management strategies and their implementation; (4) citizens’ access to decision-making processes and the strengthening of the complaint mechanism at district and municipal level; and (5) Improving local finance of Districts/Municipalities (DMs).
The ISD programme’s implementing partners include the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDDS), the Ministry of Interior (Mol), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and other line ministries. Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the programme runs from March 2022 until December 2025 with a financial volume of up to EUR 10.7 million.
The ISD programme has a multi-level approach. It combines technical and process advice at national and sub-national levels with offices in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap.
The project pursues an integrated capacity development approach that embeds individual training in institutional processes and procedures. The use of the newly gained specialist knowledge can thus be anchored directly in the everyday work of the administration and improve it in the long run. The involvement of line departments at provincial and national level in the provision of services by municipalities and districts complements course-based capacity building with on-the-job training and coaching. At the municipality and district level, innovations for the work of the elected councils, e.g., through the creation of sub-committees, complement the participatory development of waste and water management strategies. This strengthens dialogue and decision-making at the sub-national level, of which residents benefit directly. Digitalization around the One-Window-Service-Offices (OWSOs) and the ombuds offices improve the access to information and the availability of administrative services.
- Sound recommendations prepared by its secretariat allow NCDD to further implement the decentralisation reform. As a result, districts and municipalities (DMs) are better able to leverage local action for improved service delivery in priority sectors. Scenarios will be developed for key reform areas outlined in the NP-2, like the future setup of the capital and the provincial administrations, the inspection and oversight over sub-national administrations, the decentralisation in the health sector or gender equity and the involvement of women in the sub-national administration.
- The current phase of the decentralisation process, which started in December 2019, places new demands on the OWSOs, which now need to integrate additional services from a variety of sectors under an integrated administration. By supporting the digitalization of access and work processes, the OWSOs will be able to modernize their functioning. In addition, disadvantaged groups will have easier access to the services of the OWSOs. Bringing the state closer to the citizens is an important factor for further target group-oriented improvement in local governance.
- In the area of waste and water management the programme will pilot scalable approaches as sustainable practices that can be taken up by other municipalities and districts. A multi-stakeholder perspective ensures that elected councillors at the sub-national level as well as representatives of civil society and the private sector can participate in sub-national decision-making in addition to specialist and management staff from the sub-national administration.
- Selected districts and municipalities will be supported in implementing their waste and water management tasks assigned to them. Municipalities and districts decide on action strategies for both sectors and begin to implement them. Strengthening resilience to climate change and linkages to local spatial planning with the active participation of citizens, NGOs/CBOs and the private sector are key drivers during planning as well as implementation.
- The local councils are strengthened in their task of conducting a competent dialogue with the local administration, its offices, with civil society and the private sector. The improvement of the legal and operational capacity of the ombudspersons sharpens the effectiveness of the ombuds offices for monitoring public action and helps to align local strategies and improved processes for service delivery in priority sectors with the needs of the population.
- The local governments’ capacities are enhanced to facilitate the financing of local waste management and OWSO services. As a result, DMs prepare the budget which corresponds to local waste management and OWSO services.
- The financial position of DMs improves through the changes in the system of national transfers, provincial shared taxes and local sources (tax and non-tax) revenues. The programme will engage relevant stakeholders (sub-national administrations, Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), MoI, NCDDS, academia, NGOs and the private sector) to discuss and develop new proposals for increasing the local financing of DMs