The Cambodia Experience in Establishing a Consultation Mechanism
A distinguishing factor in the Roadmap process of Cambodia has been the participatory approach the EU Delegation has taken in the elaboration and implementation of the European Country Roadmap for engagement with civil society.
One of the important lessons learnt from the development of the Roadmap in Cambodia is that CSO involvement in policy dialogue has the potential, while taking into consideration contextual constraints, of making policies more pro-poor and responsive to vulnerable peoples capacities and needs. The use of Social accountability mechanisms are increasing in Cambodia through the Government's Strategic Plan on Social Accountability for sub-national democratic development and in many areas civil society organisations are becoming more professional.
The Roadmap was elaborated in 2014 by the European partners in Cambodia (the EU, Member States and Switzerland) and includes the views of local civil society and the existing coordination structures. It identifies long-term objectives for European cooperation with CSOs encompassing both dialogue as well as operational support. The roadmap is being integrated into the European joint programming process in Cambodia as well as being incorporated into European policy dialogue and joint European initiatives..
European development partners in Cambodia seek to structure regular consultations with civil society to improve dialogue and understanding.. This will be vital to strengthening strategic cooperation in programming and policy issues as well as to increase the consistency and impact of European actions in support of civil society. A regular consultation mechanism will also be important in maintaining the momentum gathered during the process of preparing the Roadmap.
The objective to launch a structured dialogue between the European partners and civil society in Cambodia is coherent with Priority 3 of the Cambodia Roadmap: Expand and structure European dialogue with civil society, and in particular with indicator 3.1: establish a specific platform for European dialogue with CSOs with an agenda, schedule, participation list.
In support to the Delegation, the Roadmap Support Facility has provided technical assistance for the implementation of some of the priorities of the Roadmap. According to Lydia van de Fliert of the Roadmap Support Facility, “Today, the EUD demonstrates its commitment to engagement with civil society by setting up a structured dialogue mechanism. The Facility supported the EUD in developing the criteria and terms of reference for establishing a Consultation mechanism between European development partners and civil society in Cambodia.
It also supported the drafting of a survey that will soon be widely distributed amongst members of civil society in Cambodia in the capital city and in the provinces. The purpose of the survey is to further map the Cambodian civil society landscape, find out how civil society coordinates and who civil society determines as their representatives in such dialogue as well as what their priorities are for establishing a dialogue with the EU”.