On 23 February 2017, at the Building B, Hall of the Ministry of Economic and Finance: a meeting between the Ministry of Economic and Finance and representatives of 12 national and international civil society organizations was held. Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director, NGO Forum on Cambodia, started by thanking the Ministry of Economic and Finance for giving the opportunity and for invaluable time for the Budget Working Group of civil society organization to meet and discuss on budget transparency, public financial management reform and cooperation for 2017. Budget Working Group presents about its background, achievements, challenges, and to seek collaboration for 2017 work plan. In 2016 Ministry of Economic and Finance recognized 3 CSO/NGOs to observe in the national budgeting process, as well as gave the value time to attend in other NGO Forum works especially early of this year.
There were important issues raised in the meeting, which are: 1) Introduce the background of Budget Working Group. Budget Working Group had 8 NGO/CSO members in 2006 and presently the group has expanded its members to 12. Budget Working Group has main 4 activities such as: 1. Building Capacity to its members 2. Awareness Raising to CSO/NGO networks 3. Observe on Policies implementation and 4. Monitoring on National Budget.
2) Update on the previous meeting with the representative of Ministry of Economic and Finance in 2016. Budget Working Group (BWG) used to meet with Ministry of Economic and Finance (MEF) in 2015 and 2016 to seek for collaboration between MEF and BWG which is secretariat by NGO FORUM. BWG requested to have human resource from MEF to collaborate in providing training to NGO/CSO networks and MEF requested to have 2 ways sharing budget information. MEF is collaborating with BWG so far through attending in Public Forum that conducted by BWG and its core members, providing awareness to BWG members and NGO/CSO networks on National Budget and Sub National Budget, reviewing on Open Budget Survey that is going to public soon after finalized. There is a small challenge that BWG facing is that the missed assigning the focus person from MEF to involve with NGO/CSO works.
3) Update on BWG work and achievements. 1. Citizen participation in monitoring budgeting process. 2. Continue collaboration with MEF in order to seek for support both human resources to provide training and technical persons in other relevant work. 3. Deep analysis on Budgeting process on programing especially on priority sectors such as Education, health, and good governance. The target is group is vulnerable people, media, youth, and sub national governors that involve in Budgeting process.
4) BWG seeks for collaboration with MEF for 2017 work plan. 1. Open space for BWG to fully involve in the cycle of budgeting process. 2. Allow BWG to contribute to MEF works in term of improving Public Financial Management Reform.
5) Open Discussion and Agreed points. 1. BWG actively involve as PFM observer as signed term of reference that has 3 core members NGO FORUM, Transparency International, and Advocacy and Policy Institute. 2. Two ways communication between MEF and BWG to share information on budget and resource/technical persons to provide capacity building. 3. BWG will send BWG term of reference, work plan, and minute of meeting to MEF to seek for approval in further collaboration.
For more detail information, please contact Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO FORUM on Cambodia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org