National Dialogue on National Budget Allocations for Sub-National Administrations

Remarks by Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia

March 21, 2024

H.E Chan Sothea, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, Chairman of the NCDD’s Secretariat 
H.E Cheam Pe A, Member of Commission on Economics, Finance, Banking and Auditing of National Assembly
Mr. TANINAI Ichitomo, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Cambodia.
Mr. Son Penh, Executive Director, The Coalition for Partnership in Democratic Development (CPDD).
Excellency, and national Assembly members. 
Colleagues, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

Good morning /Arun Suo-sdei!

It is my pleasure to be part of this important event and I would like to extend my warm greetings to all of you present here today at this Dialogue on National Budget Allocations for Sub-National Administrations (SNAs). 

First of all, let me take this opportunity to express our thanks to Mr. TANINAI Ichitomo, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Cambodia and the Government of Japan for the continuous support to fostering inclusive, transparent, and participatory governance in Cambodia.

I also want to commend National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDDS), particularly Excellency Ma Onn Ma On Nath, Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Information Division for his support and commitment to the Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Local Governance through Civic Engagement project.

Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Coalition for Partnership in Democratic Development (CPDD), Mr. Son Penh, and his team for their dedicated efforts in coordinating and facilitating this important dialogue.

Today’s Dialogue on National Budget Allocations for Sub-National Administrations (SNAs) underscores the strong partnership between NCDDS and CPDD in fostering transparency and creating civic space in Cambodia. Under the project “Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Local Governance through Civic Engagement”, jointly implemented by NCDDS and CPDD, a series of dialogues have been organized with two primary objectives:

  • First, to promote evidence-based budget allocation analysis for improving effectiveness and efficiency in the sub-national public budgeting processes. 
  • Second, to institutionalize participatory planning and budgeting systems informed by international best practices.

In May last year, a similar dialogue was organized by CPDD in which more than 70 participants including parliamentary members, relevant ministries, Development partners, CPDD’s members, CBOs’s representative, Indigenous women, youth, and representatives of marginalized communities such LGBTIQ, People with Disabilities participated. The dialogue helped influence government decisions and policies regarding budget allocation for SNAs. CPDD also submitted a joint statement on national budget allocation for SNAs. These reflect the positive impact of these dialogues on participatory sub-national planning and budgeting.

Excellency, Colleagues, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

The national budget allocation for sub-national administration is not merely about distributing financial resources; it is about empowering local communities, enhancing service delivery, and promoting inclusive development that leaves no one behind.

The allocation of national budget to sub-national administrations is a key mechanism through which we can address the diverse needs and priorities of local communities. Evidence from many countries – like The Philippines, Thailand, India, South Africa - suggest that participatory budgeting processes enhances opportunities for participation, breaking down communication barriers between citizens and the government and improving mutual understanding between all stakeholders.  It helps enhance social accountability. UNDP is pleased to support this process and help develop capacities of both supply sides partners such as municipal administrations and demand side partners, particularly CSOs-led by women, youth, marginalized groups, and citizens. This work is also aligned with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s priority to promote civic engagement in sub-national democratic development processes, policy development, and Sub-National Administration planning. Today’s dialogue will facilitate discussion on the challenges and opportunities to further promote collaboration between CSOs and the government for participatory budgeting. In UNDP, we recognize the fundamental importance of transparent, accountable, and participatory budgeting processes in driving progress and advancing the well-being of all Cambodians.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we engage in today's discussions, I encourage each of you to share your perspectives, voice your concerns, and contribute your ideas toward shaping a budget allocation process that reflects the aspirations and priorities of the Cambodian people. Let us work together to ensure that the national budget process is inclusive and that the budget is allocated in a manner that maximizes impact, promotes social justice, and advances the sustainable development goals for Cambodia.

In closing, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all of you for your dedication, your passion, and your commitment to building a more inclusive, transparent, and accountable system of governance that prioritizes the needs of citizens at the grassroots level. By engaging in this dialogue today, we are jointly reaffirming our commitments to building a governance system that is efficient, responsive and agile to the needs of the people.

I wish you all a very productive session today and look forward to your reflections and contributions to promote a truly participatory sub-national budgeting process in Cambodia.

Thank you/ Saum Orkun.