Monthly Archives: August 2014

Poverty Eradication in Progress

Seminar Discusses Poverty Reduction Policies in Cambodia and Beyond

Ole Doetinchem presents the GIZ IDPoor programme.

Ole Doetinchem presents the GIZ IDPoor programme.

12 August 2014

Combatting poverty and bringing about better living conditions remains one of the cornerstones of international German development cooperation. In Cambodia, Germany, in cooperation with Australia, has been supporting the IDPoor programme for a number of years as a thematically cross-cutting issue within its good governance portfolio.

On August 12, 2014, the German Embassy and GIZ organised a session on poverty with participants from the Cambodian Ministry of Planning, bilateral and multilateral development partners and non-governmental organisations. The session was moderated by Ole Doetinchem, GIZ team leader of the Identification of Poor Households Programme support project. In a brief presentation, he outlined the key aspect of how IDPoor works and what issues the programme is currently working on:

IDPoor is a nationwide poverty targeting mechanism run by the Cambodian Ministry of Planning. It systematically identifies poor households to enable targeted poverty alleviation interventions. To achieve accurate results that are accepted by the local population, the programme has adopted a process combining means testing and participatory local consultation.idpoor-r3_r6

At present, the IDPoor programme is carrying out its eighth annual identification round, covering the provinces Kampong Speu, Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Mondul Kiri, Preah Sihanouk, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng.

 

IDPoor Programme Looks Forward

As a future priority, the IDPoor team is currently developing the procedures for programme extension into urban areas. Simultaneously, the IDPoor database is being moved to the cloud to enable better data access and offer web-based services to its users. IDPoor is also considering current trends in poverty and how its data may support combatting vulnerability.

Internationally, Germany has supported the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network in publishing the third Chronic Poverty Report. Dr Chiara Mariotti outlined the report’s key findings and how this report relates to poverty eradication efforts inDSC_0031 Cambodia:

  • Achieving the goal of Zero Extreme Poverty by 2030 requires a new public policy approach to understanding and acting on poverty. This approach requires three action areas: (i) tackling chronic poverty (i.e. bringing people up to the poverty line); (ii) stopping impoverishment; (iii) and sustaining the escapes people make out of extreme poverty.
  • World-wide evidence, demonstrates that there are three sets of policies that work in achieving all the three goals above:

(i)                  Social assistance including cash transfers or employment programmes to help the poorest get closer to the poverty line and provide a safety net against impoverishment;

(ii)                 Massive investment in pre-school, primary, and post-primary education, ensuring access and quality to all, including poor children;

(iii)                A bundle of policies that promote pro-poor growth. These include industrial policies that promote expansion of labour-intensive sectors, coupled with apprenticeship schemes or training to match skills to opportunities; the promotion of small and medium enterprises; labour legislation that ensures that the jobs created. pay a decent salary and respect minimum DSC_0045health and safety conditions. These three sets of policies will then have to be complemented by more specific interventions tailored to each country’s poverty dynamics.

  • Designing the policies needed to tackle chronic poverty, stop impoverishment and support escapes from poverty requires panel surveys, which follow the same households over several years, enabling the tracking of movements in and out of poverty. Significant investment in national (and sub-national) panel data by governments, donors and international institutions need to be part of the effort of eradicating extreme poverty.

You can download the Chronic Poverty Report at http://www.odi.org/chronic-poverty

 

 

 

 

ASEANSAI Setting Clear and Measurable Goals for Success

The author (middle) sitting with workshop participants discussing indicators for the ASEANSAI Strategic Plan.

The author (middle) sitting with workshop participants discussing indicators for the ASEANSAI Strategic Plan.

26 August 2014

When I was younger, I used to ask my mom the time she would come home from work to play with me. She used to tell me: “I´ll be there at 4.30pm; I took the car to get home quickly.” Every day, at 4pm I would sit in the kitchen, checking the hour regularly to see when my mom would arrive. If she arrived after 4.30, I would reproach her with the exact amount of minutes she was late and ask her to give a reason. If she blamed the traffic, I would try to convince her that she should take the bike next time, to avoid being late again.

 

Simply put, this is what strategic planning and monitoring is all about:

 

  • Set a clear and measurable goal: be home at 4.30pm.
  • Decide on a strategy to achieve the goal: take the car.
  • Check on the achievement or failure: number of minutes late.
  • Discuss reasons for failure: traffic jam.
  • Revise the strategy to avoid future failure: go by bike.

In a regional organization of 10 Supreme Audit Institutions from ASEAN countries (ASEANSAI) deciding on strategic goals and setting up monitoring systems is much more complex, especially when dealing with good financial governance issues. Yet, the logic remains the same.

In a 4-day Workshop in May, participants from 6 members of ASEANSAI discussed how the goals of their ASEANSAI Strategic Plan can be amended with measurable indicators and what activities they needed to pursue to achieve the defined goals. As in other monitoring workshops, the challenge proved to be in the trade-off between relevance of indicators and costs for data collection. The ASEANSAI participants opted for a pragmatic solution: do not set goals too high and include proxy indicators for goals that are difficult to measure. I would like to recommend that approach to everybody dealing with monitoring on governance related topics.

For more information contact jana.leutner@giz.de

 

Bio-agriculture Input Sector Pushes ‘Green Center’ Forward in Cambodia

DSC_000204 August 2014

Phnom Penh, Cambodia –Six private and social business companies leading the local market in providing inputs for agriculture and trainings in organic agriculture sent eleven of their representatives to join GIZ for a consulation this week. GIZ ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (Biocontrol) program hosted the consultation with local companies to discuss moving the concept of a ‘green center’ in Cambodia forward. The new center will aim to bring bio-agricultural companies under one roof, to provide their high quality inputs for a sustainable and environment friendly sound agriculture. Open to the public, the center plans to act as platform for training and dialog activities for national and international development partners, extension workers and farmers, and will provide seminars to consumers interested in learning about agriculture and urban gardening.

To push their vision forward, the participants of the workshop developed an action plan to map out the next steps for the center.

Companies that joined the consultations have the common aim to promote sustainable agriculture with little or no chemical (organic) use. These companies include Bayon Heritage Holding Group Co, Ltd., Angkor Green Investment and Development Co. Ltd., EX-M (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., iDE Cambodia, and Entrée Baitang Co. Ltd., which met at the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC).

For more information on the development of Cambodia’s first ‘Green Center’ contact:

Mr. Claudius Bredehöft

National Project Coordinator Cambodia

ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (Biocontrol)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

M     +855 12 21 54 30

E       claudius.bredehoeft@giz.de

 

Organic Food Certification Gives Consumers Confidence to Go Organic

Mr. Vannak interviewed

Display of certified organic products during COrAA’s 2nd Organic Fair, March 2014

11 August 2014

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Issues of food safety and nutrition have become a part of public discussions in many countries. Also in Cambodia, the number of people who are concerned about the quality of food and make an effort to consume safe and healthy foodstuff is continuously increasing. When in search of wholesome food, organic is the best option. However, many people rightfully ask, “How do we know that it is really organic? How can we trust claims that certain rice, fruits or vegetables were produced organically?” Commonly, certification of producers and processors is the means to enable consumers to trust products.

To gain consumer trust in organic products, the Cambodian Organic Agriculture Association (COrAA), with support from GIZ, is developing a certification system for the domestic market. To independently certify processes throughout the value chains for organic, chemical-free or other food production standards has been the founding mission of COrAA since 2006. However, it was only in 2010 that COrAA started to conduct inspections and to develop a certification system. Currently over 30 producers have obtained certification based either on the Standard for Organic Crop Production or the Standards for Chemical-free Crop Production.

On request, COrAA sends an independent inspector to inspect the farm, plantation, or food processing operations. Farmers are inspected individually, or in a group. Smallholders usually

An inspector, accompanied by the owner, checks an organic rice field.

An inspector, accompanied by the owner, checks an organic rice field.

join an organic producer association or a cooperative, which have set-up an Internal Control System to safeguard the integrity of the organic quality of their products.

All persons dealing with the products are identified, registered, instructed on the requirements for organic certification and contracted to ensure compliance. The activities of the persons involved are then monitored in a system of regular visits and documentary control. The inspectors of the group visit every field at least twice during the growing season and record their findings. COrAA’s inspectors check if the group can manage its control system. During the inspection they check different areas of the farms at random.

Farms and processors are inspected once a year, while organic vegetable producers are examined twice a year. However, certification bodies also have to conduct unscheduled inspections to assure that producers follow standards. During the audit, the inspector assesses the producer’s understanding of basic organic farming rules and tests for the possible contamination of organic fields with chemicals from adjacent fields. Then, the inspector will check the fields and all storage facilities, including the farmer’s house. The findings are summarized in the inspection report. Deviations or non-conformities and corrective measures will be pointed out. The COrAA-assigned inspector has to discuss the findings with the farmer or operator.

After this, the inspection report is submitted to the Certification Committee, which is composed of three people independent from COrAA. Based upon the review, the committee will decide if certification can be granted. COrAA can reject an application for certification if the respective standards were not met, or if they were violated.

Certification is expressed to the public by COrAA’s certification marks, also known as labels. These are marks of conformity, not to be confused with trademarks. A mark can only be used on products which come from farms that have been certified based on one of COrAA’s standards.

COrAA strives to further professionalize its certification system by upgrading the skills of the inspectors and the certification managers as well as by further defining the certification processes. In addition to cooperating with regional certification bodies that are members of the Certification Alliance (CertAll), COrAA is also working towards the recognition of its certification system by other ASEAN member countries. In the future, COrAA hopes to offer certification for international markets such as the EU at reasonable costs through CertAll members, which have obtained respective accreditation.

The Certification Alliance includes members from China, India, Nepal as well as several ASEAN countries. The aim is to improve exporting conditions for Cambodian organic products to reach buyers in the region.

COrAA is also preparing the certification for food products obtained through ‘wild collection’, such as honey. Commercial inputs for organic agriculture, such as organic fertilizers, are another area of concern. Furthermore, COrAA currently prepares guidelines for organic inputs to enable the certification of such products.

For more information, please contact Mr. Winfried Scheewe (email: winfried.scheewe@giz.de).

Signing ceremony for Memorial at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Unterzeichnung10 July 2014

German Ambassador Joachim Baron von Marschall and GIZ Country Director Mr. Adelbert Eberhardt witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by H.E. Chuch Poeurn, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and H.E. Kranh Tony, Acting Director of the office of Administration of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on the establishment of a memorial for Khmer Rouge victims at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, on 10 July 2014.

The funds for this memorial have been provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) as part of the German support for the ECCC Reparation Program 2013-2017, an extensive program of eleven reparation projects and five non-judicial measure projects for the benefit of the victims of the Khmer Rouge which is coordinated by the Victims Support Section of the ECCC.

 

Please follow the link below for the speech of the German Ambassador Joachim Baron von Marschall:

http://www.phnom-penh.diplo.de/Vertretung/phnompenh/en/00__start/Unterzeichnung_20MoU_20-_20Bo_20Rede.html

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