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  • iCDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in

    Cambodia

    CDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    KIM Sedara and Joakim JENDALwith

    CHHOUN Nareth and LY Tem

    December 2012

    CDRICambodias leading independent development policy research institute

  • ii A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in Cambodia

    2012 CDRI - Cambodias leading independent development policy research institute

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwisewithout the written permission of CDRI.

    ISBN-10: 978-999505267-6

    A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in Cambodia

    CDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    Dr KIM Sedara Senior research fellow, Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) ([email protected])

    Prof. Joakim JENDAL Based at the School of Global Studies, Gteborg University, Sweden ([email protected])

    Ms CHHOUN Nareth Programme assistant in Democratic Governance and Public Sector Reform (DGPSR) programme, CDRI

    Ms LY Tem Former research assistant in DGPSR, is currently a postgraduate student in New Zealand

    CDRI 56, Street 315, Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia PO Box 622, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (+855-23) 881-384/881-701/881-916/883-603 (+855-23) 880-734 E-mail: [email protected] Website: http://www.cdri.org.kh

    Layout and Cover Design: Oum ChanthaPrinted and bound in Cambodia by Angkor Offset, Phnom Penh

  • iiiCDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    CONTENTSAcronyms ...............................................................................................................................vGlossary of Khmer Terms and Phrases ..................................................................................vAcknowledgements ..............................................................................................................viiAbstract .................................................................................................................................ix

    1. Introduction ..........................................................................................................................1

    1.1. Research Objectives and Methodological Approaches ...................................................21.2. Research Ethics and Delimitations ..................................................................................31.3. Theoretical Underpinnings Gender in Democratic Decentralisation .........................4

    2. Background to Gendered Governance in Cambodia The Times They are A-Changing ..........................................................................................................................62.1. Trends in Womens Political Participation ......................................................................72.2. Women, Culture and Political Engagement ....................................................................9

    3. Findings from the Empirical Reviews .............................................................................. 113.1. Decentralisation and its Impacts on Gender ..................................................................113.2. Issues of Female Representation in the Commune Council ..........................................133.3. The Space for Womens Political Articulation and Influence in Local Politics ............17

    4. Discussion and Conclusion ................................................................................................234.1. Decentralisation and Gendering Political Representation in Commune Councils ........234.2. The Ability of Women to Articulate Political Priorities and Pursue Opinions ..............244.3. Conclusions ...................................................................................................................25

    References ........................................................................................................................27

    CDRI Working Papers ..........................................................................................................31

  • iv A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in Cambodia

  • vCDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    Acronyms

    CC Commune CouncilCDRI Cambodia Development Resource InstituteCEDAW Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against

    WomenCNCW Cambodian National Council for Women COMFREL Committee for Free and Fair ElectionsCPP Cambodian Peoples PartyD&D Deconcentration and DecentralisationDGPSR Democratic Governance and Public Sector Reform ICLD International Centre for Local Democracy IULA International Union of Local AuthoritiesLAMC Law on the Administration and Management of Communes/SangkatsMoWA Ministry of Womens AffairsNEC National Election CommitteeNGO Non-governmental OrganisationPRK Peoples Republic of KampucheaSSCS State Secretariat of Civil Service UNDP United Nations Development Programme

    Glossary of Khmer Terms and Phrases

    charekptoeulkloeun personal behaviour () cloeuytorb responsiveness () khan district in the urban areas ()kmeanpakkmean rot no party no state ()kanakpaknoyobay political party ()ormnach power (") pakdoeuknourm party leads ($)pakneung rot party and state or party first and state second ()rotaknuvat state is responsible for executing all the states affairs ()sangkat commune in the urban areas (.)

  • viiCDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    This research would not have happened without the kind assistance of several individuals and groups. The authors are deeply grateful for the funding support generously provided by the International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD), Sweden, to CDRIs Democratic Governance and Public Sector Reform Programme, as well as the institutional support of CDRI.

    We thank the numerous villagers, commune councillors and village assistants in the four communes we visited for their valuable contribution and cooperation. Thanks extend to Ms Ly Tem and Ms Chhuon Nareth for their contribution to the fieldwork and other aspects of the research. Our gratitude and thanks also go to Ms Thon Vimealea, Mr Lun Pide and Mr Ou Sivhuoch for their invaluable support as members of the research team.

    The many staff at CDRI who provided essential logistical and administrative support during the research deserve our appreciation and thanks. The authors are grateful for the support and interest of Mr Larry Strange, executive director and Mr Ung Sirn Lee, director of operations.

  • ixCDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    ABSTRACT

    The commune/sangkat elections in 2002 and 2007 marked a significant step forward in Cambodias democratic decentralisation process. Decentralisation is the most deep-cutting public sector reform and the politically most important democratic development in Cambodia. The reform rearranges power structures, creates space for a more pluralistic political representation, addresses gender equality in local politics, and triggers articulation of new opinions. However, reforms continue to face significant challenges: female representation in political decision-making bodies remains inadequate, gendered articulation of ideas and priorities has limited resonance, and entrenched gendered power structures are not easily altered and even less readily removed. Taking democratic decentralisation and gender equality into account, this study aims to explore the space for women in Cambodias emerging local governance system: To what extent is there an increased gender balance? How do women manage to articulate and pursue their views in local politics? In answering these research questions, we empirically examine two critical issues: female representation in the commune council and womens political articulation and influence in local politics.

  • 1CDRI Working Paper Series No. 71

    1

    INTRODUCTION

    The Law on Administration and Management of Communes/Sangkats (LAMC) and the Law on Commune Elections, both declared in 2001, define Cambodias democratic decentralisation. These laws established the commune as a pivotal nexus for sub-national governance and development. The country has since held commune/Sangkat elections in 2002 and 2007, a process commonly regarded as the most deep-cutting public sector reform and the politically most significant democratic development in Cambodia since the introduction of the 1993 constitution (jendal & Kim 2009). Building on the initial success of this local government reform at commune level, in 2005the Royal Government put forward its vision for a wider public sector reform under the banner Deconcentration and Decentralisation (D&D). This was subsequently codified through the Strategic Framework for Decentralisation and Deconcentration. With the adoption of the Organic Law in April 2008 and the indirect elections of district/khan councils and provincial/municipal councils in May 2009, Cambodia is now embarking on the second phase of reform. It is expected that there will be a significant delegation of functions and authority from the central to the provincial and district levels with the aim of deepening the development of democratic governance at sub-national level, improving basic service delivery under a unified administration management system, and creating a comprehensive local governance programme through functional assignments. Overall, the big-bang democratisation of Cambodia attempted through the UN-led intervention in 1992/3 is gradually becoming deepened, localised and inclusiveor, so it seems.

    These reforms are inherently political, driven by various interests such as the need to acquir

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