First Chapters of Handbook for newly elected Councilors launched

District Council of Boribor District, Kampong Chhnang Province, holding its monthly council meeting
5 February 2013

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – With a series of Technical Documents, the National Committee for Sub-National DemocraticDevelopment (NCDD) aims to support the Councilors of Capital, Provinces, Municipalities, Districts and Khans to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Once finalized, the Technical Documents will constitute a “Handbook for Councils”. Recently, the Chairman of the NCDD approved the first two chapters. In two provinces, launching ceremonies marked the achievements of the contributingcouncils and the chapters’ handover.

More effective council meetings

During the last year, NCDD-S developed the handbook’s first two Technical Documents for sub-national Councils with technical support of the EU Program for Strengthening Performance, Accountability and Civic Engagement (EU SPACE). These documents provide orientation on how to conduct more effective council meetings as well as dissemination and consultative forums. During the 2-3 month modeling period, the target councils of the EU SPACE Program in the provinces of Battambang and Kampong Chhnang put the documents to the test. Councils tested their own comprehension of the documents and the degree in which they help them achieve their new roles and responsibilities.

During the launching ceremony, Mr. Sok Sothy, Deputy Head of the NCDD-S Policy Division, expressed his appreciation for the efforts and contributions of NCDD-S officials and the EU-SPACE Program. Mr. Sothy especially thanked the target councils for their contributions to the development and modeling of the documents. The councilors’ meaningful involvement helped to field-test their usefulness and improve document quality.

Mr. Sok Sothy furthermore underlined that the Technical Documents are not intended to serve as an instruction or guideline for the councils. The documents are intended as a resource for the council. The extent in which the councils follow the guidelines is their choice.

Councils appreciate capacity development support

Mr. Gereon Kaus, EU SPACE Strengthening Councils Advisor, stressed the importance of developing  sub-national council capacities, and welcomed the recent approval of both Technical Documents by Deputy Prime Minister, His Excellency Sar Kheng. He expressed his hope that the documents will help the councils to improve the efficiency of their monthly council meetings and support them to be well-prepared for organizing dissemination and consultative fora.

As representative of the councils in Battambang, His Excellency E Sarom, Provincial Councilor, shared his perspective that, ‘council meetings improved remarkably over time, with the guidance of the Technical Documents’. His Excellency E Sarom welcomed coaching support provided by the EU SPACE Program for supporting the councils’ meeting preparation.

Additionally, His Excellency Men Thoeun, Chairperson of the Provincial Council in Kampong Chhnang, asked for continued capacity development from NCDD-S, specifically mentioning the coaching approach, tested with EU SPACE support, to achieve better performances of all councils.

Rolling out the coaching approach – countrywide

NCDD-S is currently rolling out the coaching approach that was successfully tested with EU SPACE support in two target provinces.

The ceremonies marked a milestone in the efforts of NCDD-S to support the capacity development of sub-national councils. A slightly re-formatted version of the modeled Technical Documents is expected to be made available and disseminated country-wide to all councils in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, two new Technical Documents are currently being developed and will be modeled in the target councils.

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