Germany’s hand in decentralisation, deconcentration reforms to boost longer-term development

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Interior minister Sar Kheng meets with German ambassador Christian Berger on June 2. SAR KHENG VIA FACEBOOK

Outgoing German ambassador Christian Berger on June 2 said Berlin’s “rich” experience with decentralisation and deconcentration reforms and collaboration with Cambodia will be a significant driver of medium- and long-term development in the Kingdom.

Berger made the remark at a farewell meeting with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, according to statement posted on the latter’s Facebook page.

“Considering the importance of these reforms, he [Berger] will work with his successor and continue to strengthen cooperation with Cambodia, pushing the progress of decentralisation and deconcentration forwards,” it said.

The interior minister hailed the overall strong alliance between the two countries, and thanked Berger for his field visits to support the reforms.

The statement also revealed Sar Kheng’s intent to step up bilateral engagement in police matters.

It also noted that Sar Kheng updated the outgoing ambassador on the overall situation of the campaign season which ended on June 3 on a calm, peaceful and non-violent note, which it credited to the active participation of the general public.

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said Germany had traditionally been very active in supporting work related to decentralisation and deconcentration in Cambodia.

Should they remain committed to continuing this support, it would help strengthen civic participation to develop the communes and build the capacity of commune-level officials to implement these reforms.

It would also reduce the dependency of commune level decision makers on the upper echelons of the political hierarchy, he added.

“The more the capacity of commune officials is improved, the greater the level of development we will begin to see in individual communes,” he said.