Policy Coherence in Agricultural and Rural Development: Cambodia
This paper presents the main findings of the Policy Coherence for Agriculture and Rural Development study. Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is about making sure that policies for sector development do not contradict or undermine one another and that as far as possible, policies are complementary and create synergy. In practice, it is about reconciling the multiple concerns of diverse stakeholders. Our study aimed to identify: (1) the major problems related to coherence among agriculture and rural development (ARD) policies; (2) the structures and processes used to ensure coherence and their effectiveness: (3) and how different interests in policymaking are reconciled. We also attempted to draw lessons, including examples of good practice.
For Cambodia, agriculture and rural development (ARD) is one of the most important sectors in alleviating rural poverty and promoting equitable growth. The sector is complex and multifaceted: development partners working in ARD in Cambodia usually have different priorities, arising from their own country situation analyses and assistance agendas. This has led to the fragmentation of programmes and projects, and thus reduced potential for synergy. ARD subsectoral policies formulated based on the NSDP framework have helped improve the harmonisation and alignment of development partners’ initiatives with government. However, despite the comprehensiveness of the ARD policy framework, lack of clear prioritisation blocks potential synergy that would otherwise enhance the sector’s development. Weak intra-government coordination, institutional complexity and fragmentation create overlapping or contradictory sectoral policies which undermine development. A number of mechanisms have been deployed to improve policy coherence, enhance aid effectiveness and address coordination issues at various levels. Among these, the important roles of ARD Technical Working Groups in ensuring coordination and coherence at sectoral level have been undermined by a breakdown in communication, goodwill, participation and trust between government and development partners participants. It is clear that coherence among different ARD initiatives is determined not only by donors’ efforts and commitment but also, largely by government action to tailor and direct donors’ activities as well as improve its internal coordination for better aid utilisation. Although Cambodia still needs support and faces a number of internal challenges, the country must continuously demonstrate self-reliance with regard to developing and managing policy implementation. Such efforts could help Cambodia’s government achieve a coherent ARD strategy that could provide real synergy in the sector.
Keywords: Policy coherence for development (PCD), alignment, harmonisation, synergy