Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government pushes talks with NGOs

Government pushes talks with NGOs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Bun (front, second right), Ministry of Interior secretary of state, instructs municipal, district and commune authorities to set aside a specific time to hold forums with NGOs twice a year. Hong Menea

Government pushes talks with NGOs

A senior Ministry of Interior official on Tuesday instructed municipal, district and commune authorities to set aside a specific time to hold forums with NGOs twice a year to show the willingness and commitment of sub-national administrations to address their concerns.

Secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior Bun Hun was speaking to some 300 people, mostly members of civil society groups.

“This is a point we want to push, not only at the national level but also to sub-national authorities. We have on many occasions instructed sub-national leadership to arrange meetings with local NGOs."

“We have advised them to hold forums between the provincial administration and civil society organisations operating in their area,” he said.

Hun said Minister of Interior Sar Kheng had instructed local authorities to hold such meetings several times, for example in Directive 040 issued last year and a letter on Thursday in which he asked city and provincial authorities to organise forums with local NGOs at least twice a year.

“We want to find out the issues facing civil society organisations and address your concerns about a lack of transparency. What challenges do you face? "

“[The ministry’s instruction] has not yet achieved many fruitful results. Now the ministry has ordered them to set a specific schedule for 2019 in every province to meet with civil society organisations and report back to the ministry,” he said.

Hun said the programme aims to help sub-national authorities take more responsibility for solving local issues and discover if there are problems between NGOs and local administrators due to previous disputes.

“For example, district and commune authorities recently imposed bans when NGOs have tried to organise events."

“I suggest civil society organisations in every locality contact commune and provincial administrations to organise these forums. If a meeting cannot be arranged or is cancelled, please contact me and I will help sort out any issues,” he said.

The Ministry of Interior itself has twice held forums led by Sar Kheng with civil society organisations from across the country – once in June last year and again in January. Another meeting is expected to take place in the second quarter of this year.

A Halo Trust official who asked not to be named told The Post that Pursat province had yet to hold a forum and he didn’t know when the local authorities planned to do so. This person said they would like sub-national authorities to organise one very soon.

“From the end of 2018 until now, I have not received a letter of invitation. I’m still waiting,” he said.

Net Chenda, the executive director of the Organisation to Improve Communication and Swallowing Therapy Services in Cambodia, said she also wished to see forums take place soon. On behalf of other civil society organisations, she said she wanted regular and clear discussions between them and local authorities.

“Because it’s a new programme, local authorities need time to incorporate it into their annual plans, and there may be budget issues. But we are expecting that forums in the provinces will happen soon,” she said.

Kandal provincial governor Mao Phirun told The Post on Wednesday that he was yet to organise a forum as he had been too busy. However, he said one would be held in the second quarter of this year.

“We can’t organise a meeting right now. It has nothing to do with budget, it’s just that we don’t have the time. The meeting will be a great opportunity to jointly try to resolve issues and problems that go beyond the province,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Bosba: The first Khmer woman composer from UK’s Cambridge

    Bosba Panh is just 25 years old, but she’s already accomplished some impressive milestones for herself and the Kingdom. On July 24, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge as the first Khmer woman composer and Khmer music graduate ever at

  • ‘Golden’ Angkor Wat likely due to natural phenomenon: ANA

    Pictures and video clips of the Angkor Wat temple, its spires seemingly coated in gold, have been shared tens of thousands of times on social media, prompting a sense of wonder among those who have seen them. Hong Sam Ath, who took the pictures and

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway