Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation

Posted on 2 June 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 562 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

By now, it is fairly widely know that there are several extraordinarily huge investment projects with Korean background going on – like the CamKo City plan, or the first really high rise 42 story Double Gold Tower 42 in Phnom Penh. In Siem Reap it is surely well known that, since four years already, the largest number of foreign tourists come from South Korea. But it is probably not so widely known that there is also a substantial number of volunteers from Korea – almost 150 – working in a variety of development related fields. It is a long list where they work: agriculture, arts, electricity, health, health education, information technology, Korean language, rural development, sports, and of course also tourism.

The wide variety of fields in this list is not only impressive, it shows also another aspect: it is obviously difficult to set priorities: there are so many real needs to be met. Every volunteer was called to, and is meeting a felt need.

But when it comes to overall planning, it is often said: if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Over the years, policy planning in Cambodia was frequently even spoken about ‘life and death’ priorities – the highlighting in the next paragraphs quoted is not in the original, but added only here – but considering such past statements, it is not clear how to understand them, when looking back. That we, as individuals and as a society, are still alive – does it mean that the problems were solved, the deadly threat which had been seen is no more?

Just some statements to remember – and the times they were made:

“The RGC has actively implemented actions to strengthen governance as specified in the Governance Action Plan, as it strongly believes that good governance is the prerequisite to sustainable socio-economic development and social justice… Today’s program … is a testimony to the fact that we own our reforms, which are a life and death issue for Cambodia.” – Prime Minister Hun Sen, addressing the Forum for Dissemination of Governance Action Plan and Public Administration Reform, 11 December 2001

“Through a vigorous and diligent implementation of the Rectangular Strategy, the Royal Government’s efforts will be focused on deepening reform programs which are a life and death issue for Cambodia. Thus, the Royal Government of Cambodia in the Third Legislature of the National Assembly shall be the ‘Government of Growth, Employment, Equity, and Efficiency’.” – From the Position Paper of the Government for the 7th Consultative Group meeting in 2004

In the process of human resources development, poverty and the lack of general resources are the main obstacles preventing improvement in the results of education in Cambodia, especially in rural areas, and the promotion, the achievement, and the quality control of education on all levels, which are life or death factors for the future development of Cambodia. – Prime Minister Hun Sen was reported to have made such comments during a ceremony commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 4 October 2007.

‘Reforms Are Crucial to Make the Royal Government to Die or to Live’ – said the Prime Minister on 28 May 2008 during the annual review meeting on financial reform – Rasmei Kampuchea on 29 May 2008

We are not trying now to go deeper into the question what happened with these stated high general priorities. Everybody is aware that there are really so many pressing ones in the country: food security and the rising prices for food – sustainable energy in view of the rising prices for non-renewable energy, especially oil – almost regular reports about violence against women and children – the appalling situation in many prison – the dramatic increase in drug related crimes – and surely many more.

Reflecting about events of the past week, we want to focus on a life and death questions of a different, very practical nature: on accidents on the roads. Already on 26 August 2007, the Mirror editorial had stated: “In Three Days, 9 People Died and 17 Were Injured in Traffic Accidents in Phnom Penh” – it had been reported repeatedly that the number of road accidents in Cambodia has been always fairly high, considering the number of vehicles in the country compared to the total number of the population. The new traffic law, adopted by the National Assembly in mid 2006, to be implemented only six months after it was signed by the King, should have started to have a visible impact by now – two years later.

The donation by Handicap International Belgium of GPS receivers to the Cambodian police is integrated with training for traffic police countrywide on how to use the instruments, and there will also be training courses in emergency life saving skills for traffic police so that they can help traffic accident victims before they are referred to hospitals. It is very positive that the latter component is also receiving the same attention as the provision of technical instruments. But it was also reported “that traffic accidents increase in Cambodia:” during the period of the first four months of 2008, there were already 2,249 accidents, and 560 people have lost their lives.

Is this another indication that the challenge is too wide, so that the manifold goals of the new Land Traffic Law can hardly be seen to be achieved? Or is it just a reflection of the fact that the beginning implementation is not happening according to realistic priorities, and therefore not so much could be achieved?
During the recent seminar of the Senate, held in cooperation with international partners, on ‘Legal and Judicial Reform for the Modernization of the Kingdom of Cambodia’ – a Senior Legal Advisor to the Senate seems to have addressed the same problem of setting realistic operational priorities. He said that one should look and focus on minor points and start from there. And as an example he raised the problem that when traveling at night and the traffic light is red, still some vehicles continue to proceed.

But does the political will to enforce the law really exist? On 26 August and on 2 September 2007 I described that I had almost an accident – it was with a car without a license plate which almost hit the moto-taxi I was on. It is a major – non-technical – risk, that so many cars are on the road without displaying even a temporary license plate to identify themselves. This shows a basic flaw in the effort to enforce the law. It might not be too difficult to set it as a priority for some time, to stop, and to fine all cars without a license plate. It would also be an effective way to ensure that violators of trafic rules can be identified – and victims of accidents will not stay without knowing who hurt them.

Nowadays, police are obviously reluctant to report “powerful vehicles” belonging to “powerful institutions.” At that time last year, the Prime Minister had said that action against corruption can be conducted “if we are willing” even without an anti-corruption law. Are the law enforcement agencies willing?

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15 Responses to “Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation”

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[…] Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation […]

He, that’s quite like my recent blog entry! The more the merrier?

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[…] Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation […]

[…] Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation […]

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[…] * សូម​អញ្ជើញ​អាន​វិចារណកថា​ជា​ភាសា… * ដើម្បី​ជ្រាប​​នូវ​ពី​ព័ត៌មាន​ស្ដី​អំពី​​ស្ត្រី​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​ សូម​អញ្ជើញ​​​ទស្សនា​តំបន់​បណ្ដាញ​កម្មវិធី​ស្ត្រី​នៃ​អង្គការ​វិទ្យាស្ថាន​បើក​ទូលាយ​​​ ដោយ​ចុច​តំណ​ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ!​​ សូម​អរគុណ​! http://women.open.org.kh/ * ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​ខាងលើ​វិញ […]

[…] * សូម​អញ្ជើញ​អាន​វិចារណកថា​ជា​ភាសា… * សូម​ជម្រាប​ថា​ក្រៅ​ពី​ការ​អាន​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន កញ្ចក់​សង្គម ជា​ភាសា​ខ្មែរ​ លោក​ អ្នក​ក៏​អាច​អាន​ផង​ដែរ​នូវ​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន​ The Mirror ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស​ ។ * ដើម្បី​ជ្រាប​​នូវ​ពី​ព័ត៌មាន​ស្ដី​អំពី​​ស្ត្រី​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​ សូម​អញ្ជើញ​​​ទស្សនា​តំបន់​បណ្ដាញ​កម្មវិធី​ស្ត្រី​នៃ​អង្គការ​វិទ្យាស្ថាន​បើក​ទូលាយ​​​ ដោយ​ចុច​តំណ​ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ!​​ សូម​អរគុណ​! http://women.open.org.kh/ * ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​ខាងលើ​វិញ […]

[…] * សូម​អញ្ជើញ​អាន​វិចារណកថា​សម្រាប់… * សូម​ជម្រាប​ថា​ក្រៅ​ពី​ការ​អាន​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន កញ្ចក់​សង្គម ជា​ភាសា​ខ្មែរ​ លោក​ អ្នក​ក៏​អាច​អាន​ផង​ដែរ​នូវ​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន​ The Mirror ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស​ ។ * ដើម្បី​ជ្រាប​​នូវ​ពី​ព័ត៌មាន​ស្ដី​អំពី​​ស្ត្រី​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​ សូម​អញ្ជើញ​​​ទស្សនា​តំបន់​បណ្ដាញ​កម្មវិធី​ស្ត្រី​នៃ​អង្គការ​វិទ្យាស្ថាន​បើក​ទូលាយ​​​ ដោយ​ចុច​តំណ​ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ!​​ សូម​អរគុណ​! http://women.open.org.kh/ * ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​ខាងលើ​វិញ […]

[…] Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation […]

[…] * សូម​អញ្ជើញ​អាន​វិចារណកថា​សម្រាប់… * សូម​ជម្រាប​ថា​ក្រៅ​ពី​ការ​អាន​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន កញ្ចក់​សង្គម ជា​ភាសា​ខ្មែរ​ លោក​ អ្នក​ក៏​អាច​អាន​ផង​ដែរ​នូវ​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន​ The Mirror ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស​ ។ * ដើម្បី​ជ្រាប​​នូវ​ពី​ព័ត៌មាន​ស្ដី​អំពី​​ស្ត្រី​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​ សូម​អញ្ជើញ​​​ទស្សនា​តំបន់​បណ្ដាញ​កម្មវិធី​ស្ត្រី​នៃ​អង្គការ​វិទ្យាស្ថាន​បើក​ទូលាយ​​​ ដោយ​ចុច​តំណ​ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ!​​ សូម​អរគុណ​! http://women.open.org.kh/ * ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​ខាងលើ​វិញ […]

[…] * សូម​អញ្ជើញ​អាន​វិចារណកថា​សម្រាប់… * សូម​ជម្រាប​ថា​ក្រៅ​ពី​ការ​អាន​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន កញ្ចក់​សង្គម ជា​ភាសា​ខ្មែរ​ លោក​ អ្នក​ក៏​អាច​អាន​ផង​ដែរ​នូវ​ព្រឹត្តិបត្រ​ព័ត៌មាន​ The Mirror ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស​ ។ * ដើម្បី​ជ្រាប​​នូវ​ពី​ព័ត៌មាន​ស្ដី​អំពី​​ស្ត្រី​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​ សូម​អញ្ជើញ​​​ទស្សនា​តំបន់​បណ្ដាញ​កម្មវិធី​ស្ត្រី​នៃ​អង្គការ​វិទ្យាស្ថាន​បើក​ទូលាយ​​​ ដោយ​ចុច​តំណ​ខាង​ក្រោម​នេះ!​​ សូម​អរគុណ​! http://women.open.org.kh/ * ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​ខាងលើ​វិញ Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)ថ្ងៃ​ ពុធ​ ទី​ ០៧-១១-២០០៧៖ … […]

[…] Week 562 – 2008-06-01: Setting Priorities and Concentrating on Their Realistic Implementation […]


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