Dissemination Workshop of the project “Building Capacity for Civic Engagement, Peacebuilding, and Inclusive Dialogue: toward inclusive and participatory governance”

Remarks by Ms. Alissar Chaker Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia

January 25, 2024

His Excellency Dy Sokphan, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior
His Excellency UENO Atsushi, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia 
His Excellency So Munyraksa, President of the National School of Local Administration (NASLA)
His Excellency Im Sour, Deputy Secretary General of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Board of the Council for the Development of Cambodia
Ms. Sin Putheary, Executive Director, Cooperation Committee for Cambodia
Civil Society partners, Provincial Administrations, Development Partners, and Distinguished Guests

Arun Suo-sdei!

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to all of you present here today at the dissemination workshop of the project "Building Capacities for Civic Engagement, Peacebuilding, and Inclusive Dialogue: Toward Inclusive and Participatory Governance." The project launched in 2020, focused on three key areas: (1) enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and government institutions, (2) improving the quality of engagement modalities, and (3) increasing exposure and opportunities for collaborative efforts among citizens, CSOs, and government institutions. This project has been underway for three years and is now approaching its completion.

First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the project team and all concerned key partners, namely, the Ministry of the Interior, specifically, the Department of Association and Political Parties, the National School of Local Administration (NASLA), the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the provincial administrations, and the NGO networks operating in the four target areas of Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Kampot, and Ratanakiri, for their efforts and commitment throughout the implementation of the project.

I would like also to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to His Excellency UENO Atsushi, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Government of Japan for their unwavering support to improving civic space and civic engagement in the Kingdom, including through the implementation of this project.

Excellencies, and Distinguished guests,

Civic engagement is a cornerstone for democracy and a powerful process to foster collective action for identifying and addressing issues of public concern. As such, the project endeavored to strengthen the partnership between government institutions and CSOs through a multi-pronged approach founded on capacity development, innovation, behavioral insight, and co-design processes to promote constructive dialogue and collaboration for resolving communities’ concerns and improving public service delivery at the sub-national level. This partnership has also promoted a more inclusive and participatory governance, accountability, and transparency, giving voice to marginalized communities.  

Capacity development was delivered in various forms including bootcamps. The hands-on innovation bootcamps have proven successful not just in strengthening the relationship between sub-national authorities and civil society but also in terms of co-designing solutions to existing challenges relating to service delivery. In today’s workshop, you will have the opportunity to hear directly from them how civic learning through innovation Bootcamps allowed participants to acquire knowledge about the community, government, and social issues, and to co-create ‘mutually owned’ solutions.

340 civil servants at both national and local levels were trained within the framework of the project. The National School of Local Administration included in its curriculum the topics of innovation in local administration and localization of the SDGs. Likewise, through the partnership with CCC, 1,433 CSO representatives were trained to strengthen CSOs' institutional capacities, sustainability prospects, and sector-wide resilience. 


Excellencies, and Distinguished guests,

The project results are the first step towards strengthening civic engagement in Cambodia, in particular, in local planning and service delivery, providing space for civil society participation and enhancing trust between the public institutions and their constituency.

Today’s workshop will serve also as a special platform, providing participants with a unique opportunity to foster cross-province interactions and knowledge sharing and inspire collaborative action.

I look forward to today’s reflection and wish you successful deliberations.  

Thank you/ Saum Orkun.