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1.1 Background of the study

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has set out the policy of Democratic Development in the Strategic Framework for Decentralization and Deconcentration Reforms in June 2005 as the key approach to tackle local development, inequality and poverty and achieve broad-based and sustainable development (“NP-SNDD, 2010: National Program for  Sub-National Democratic Development 2010-2019”). The RGC wants every citizen to participate in local development and improve the management and delivery of quality public services to meet locally-established priority needs and to ultimately reduce poverty.

The provision of public services, materials/means and basic infrastructures is a crucial component in the sub-national democratic development. Councils of all sub-national administrative levels shall assigned functions, together with adequate resources, in order for them to be able to provide public services, necessary materials and basic infrastructures to their local communities.

A Commune/Sangkat is a legal entity. The power to govern and manage commune/Sangkats are derived for the general, universal, free and fair, equal, direct and secret elections within the framework of each commune/Sangkats. A commune/Sangkats governs local affairs of its territory in accordance with the Constitution, laws, Royal decrees, sub-decrees, proclamations (Prakas) and legal instruments concerned. Each commune shall have a council (hereinafter referred to as Commune Council) which shall be elected by its population under a procedure prescribed by this law.  The commune election shall be conducted for every five years. The commune council elections in Cambodia have represented an important step towards local democracy and decentralization (“Law on the Election of Commune Councils, 2001”).

Reference to the inter-ministerial Prakas of Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Planning No 2423 PRK, dated July 03, 2007 on the preparation of Commune/Sangkats Development Plan and Commune/Sangkats Investment Program stated that Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Planning should collaborate in preparing and disseminating the guideline on the preparation of Commune/Sangkats Development Plan and Commune/Sangkats Investment Program follow the article 11 and 12 of this Prakas.

The purpose of preparing a commune/sangkat development plan (CDP) is to help the commune/sangkat council to mobilize resources - both internal and external - and decide on their use to solve local problems and to serve the general interest of the commune/sangkat residents. CDP will be valid for 5 years, so when preparing CDP, commun/Sangkat councils should seriously take into account on strategies for development of physical infrastructure and non-infrastructure in order to respond to the prioritized needs of communities which will contribute directly to improve the living standard and well-being of citizens.  CDP shall be reviewed every year to update the three-year rolling commune/sangkat investment program and to prepare the annual budget of the commune/sangkat (“Guideline on C/S development plan and C/S investment program, 2007”).

Due to the C/S fund can respond to only some the prioritized needs of citizens, C/S councils should send their plan to provincial line departments/institutions, NGOs and other donors to ask for support. Pursuant art. 27 of the Law on Administration and Management of Commune/ Sangkat, Commune/Sangkat chief shall establish Commune/Sangkat Planning and Budgeting Committee. Commune/Sangkat Planning and Budgeting committee shall process the formulation of commune/sangkat development plan, investment program and annual budget using participatory approach with all concerned people.

Commune/Sangkats Investment Program is an annual plan for implementation of CDP consisted of clear development projects and budget. C/S should prepare CIP every year follow the content and cycle below:

Step 1: Reviewing the Problem or Needs with Citizens 

Step 2: The Preparation of C/S Investment Projects 

Step 3: District Integrated Workshop (DIW)

Step 4: The Approval of C/S Investment Program

Step 5: Monitoring and Evaluation on Implementation of CIP.

1.2 Statement of the problem

            Because there are a lot of steps in CIP process and based on previous study reports showed some gaps in coordination process which contributed to inadequate quality of the plan and does not really respond to the real needs/priorities of the community people. Anyway, this study research is going to study on process of Commune Investment Program (CIP) which is simply explained and mainly focused on the following three questions:

1.       What are the processes/steps of Commune Investment Program (CIP)?

2.       What are the challenges of Commune Investment Program (CIP) process?

3.       How can these challenges be resolved by the government and relevant partners?

1.3 Objectives of the study

The main discussion of this research study attempts to achieve the following objectives:

1.      To describe the processes/steps of Commune  Investment Program

2.      To identify the key challenges of Commune Investment Program

3.      To explain the solutions for these challenges in Commune Investment Program

1.4 Significance of the study

            CIP development will reflect and align with project/priorities and costs in each year of the elected mandate that needed to provide vital inputs on issues/needs of the people to the commune council and the commune council have to take into account and respond those issues/needs with high accountability to their citizens. So to insure the effectiveness and responsiveness of the plan, it needs responsible and mechanism supports from all relevant stakeholders such as commune council, provincial department of planning, provincial planning and investment division, commune/Sangkats support office, other sector departments, civil society, non-governmental organization (NGO) and citizen.

            This study research is very important to all people especially the commune council to identify its challenge of CIP and find suitable solution to address those challenges effectively.  Additionally, it is a source of information that will assist other student or researchers to do more research on this or relevant topic.   

1.5 Scope and delimitation

            This study research is mainly focused on the process of Commune Investment Program and three main objectives are chosen to discuss. Firstly, this research is going to describe the process/steps of Commune Investment Program. Secondly, the study is going to demonstrate the key challenges that the commune council has met in developing the Commune Investment Program. And finally, the study research will explain the possible solutions to solve those challenges effectively.

            To achieve the objectives of the research, I have tried my best to collect information through conducting interviews and research via the internet, books, research report and some relevant documents as secondary data. However, some information is not up to date on the internet because it seems not regular updated by any government or other agencies.   

1.6 Research methodology

            Basically, to achieve the study objectives, most secondary data is used. The secondary data is kind of data that has already been analyzed and reported as publications, reports, books, journal is recommended to use because it is time-saving and cost-efficient. Also, some primary data were collected through conducting focus group discussion (FGD) and key informant interview (KII) with selected community people such as children, youth, women, people with disability, commune council, district officials in Chhloung district, Kratie province.

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