Training Workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation for the Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework

Remarks by Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, UNDP Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Resident Representative

March 25, 2024

H.E. Sok Puthyvuth, Secretary of State, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning / Arun Suo-sdei!

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Training Workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation for the Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework which takes place for the whole of this week. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for the collaboration and entrusting UNDP to support this very important initiative.

Digital technologies ranging in the fields of science and technology, telecommunication, health, financing, and others have significantly impacted our lives. They are improving financial inclusion, increasing the effectiveness of government and public service delivery, and providing people with platforms and channels to ensure that their voices are heard. Digitalization is transforming countries, communities, economies, and societies, and are for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The pace of digital transformation in Cambodia has been exceptionally fast.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Digitalization remains a key priority for the 7th Legislature of the Royal Government of Cambodia. Development of Digital Economy and Society is one of the Five Strategic Pentagons. In fact, digitalization has remained high on the agenda of the Royal Government of Cambodia at least since 2021 when the Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-35 was adopted. I highly commend the RGC for all the initiatives and especially for keeping “people” at its core by leveraging digital technology for improved service delivery, economy, human capital. These strategies and policies of the Royal Government are critical to prepare the society, the economy, the people and the institutions to translate the opportunities that come with technological advancement into tangible outcomes but also to promote equity in access to digital technologies and to reduce risks and negative impacts.  

UNDP Cambodia stands ready to support the Royal Government in all these endeavours. Our Country Programme 2024-28 identifies digital transformation as a driver and accelerator for reaching Cambodia’s developmental ambitions, and particularly, addressing the digital divide, supporting e-government and delivery of public services. We signed an MOU with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication early this month to collaborate on areas such as building public sector capacity to manage digital transformation, accelerating Digital Public Goods (DPG) and Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for enhancing public service delivery, developing monitoring and evaluation framework, and co-designing digital government initiatives.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Monitoring and Evaluation is an important instrument for the effective implementation of any policy or programme. When used at the start of the process, it helps in laying the foundation for what is called “evaluability” of the policies and programme. It helps in timely implementation through regular tracking and reporting of both results and operational bottlenecks. It also informs our learning to make timely adjustments to our programmatic and implementation instruments. Therefore, a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is critical to guide the effective implementation of RGC’s digital transformation commitments.

We will begin this week with an orientation of the concepts, principles and practical applications of Monitoring and Evaluation and hands-on exercises to generate the building blocks of the M&E framework. This exercise is supported by my colleagues at UNDP Country Office and two external experts, Mr. Chris Bugnion de Montera and Mr. Khiev Keovathanak. They will continue to work with you and MPTC colleagues after this week to finalize the M&E framework.

To make this process successful, I would like you to consider a few suggestions: First, please ensure that the M&E Framework is closely aligned to your respective ministries’ strategic plans, second, where appropriate, make use of the available Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals’ indicators related to digital economy and society, third, adopt as much as possible disaggregated indicator (e.g. by gender, geographic location, age groups etc.), fourth, leverage technology and innovation in generating necessary data to track implementation of priority initiatives, and, fifth, integrate other drivers such as financing and partnership to achieve the ambitions.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Your presence here today and for the rest of the week demonstrates your commitment to achieving an inclusive whole-of-society digital transformation in Cambodia. Your knowledge and experience are an asset for us to develop a strong and solid M&E framework that allows the RGC to monitor and report on the achievements of its digital economy and society priorities.

To conclude, I would like to once again appreciate your participation and commitment to this exercise. I thank the MPTC team under the leadership of H.E. Sok Puthyvuth for their tireless efforts to coordinate this work.

I wish you all productive deliberations and a successful workshop.

Thank you/ Saum Orkun.