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Programmes 2014-2018

API's five-year strategic plan is largely determined by the programming in the proposals currently being implemented. API is committed to focusing on the following strategic priorities for 2014-2018:

 

API’s past achievements in access to information and democratic governance

 

Over the last six years API has been working with the sub-national Government in five provinces and with Parliament in promoting access to information, information disclosure and local dialogue and participation in the decision making process. API has built institutional ability related to capacity development of local Government and policy dialogue/ lobbying with Parliament to make them more responsive and accountable. It has built good relations and trust with the sub-national Government in the target areas and with Parliament.

 

An external review [1] of API’s work in 2011-2013 pointed out the following:

 

1.    Two themes regarding the Access to Information Law (A2I) emerged:

 1.1    API should press for the enactment of A2I working primarily at the national level.  Motivation is focused on protection of human rights; and

 1.2    API should educate and build capacity of legislators and stakeholders to understand the benefits and value of transparency and accountability, including A2I, in an effort to address needs of Cambodian people.  Motivation is focused on good governance to protect people.

 

Both centre on A2I but approach it from different motivations engaging different target groups and therefore would use different implementation methodologies.  The second theme links more closely to API’s past work and its future work as determined by grants.

 

2. Since 2008, API shifted its advocacy capacity development from providing advocacy training to general organisations and groups to targeting the advocacy and lobby skills of CSOs and issues-based networks and coordinating and supporting these groups in direct advocacy with Government institutions and Parliament. It has had remarkable outcomes. This approach and process needs to be scaled up and strengthened to obtain a better response from Government institutions and holding them more accountable.

 

3. Since 2004, API and others focused on raising awareness and understanding of access to information and its importance in promoting good governance and democratic participation. Building the understanding of stakeholders can be a great starting place to mobilise and advocate for information disclosure on specific issues and legislation as well as policy guidelines for information disclosure.

 

4. API should continue to work on access to information with its partners and civil society networks and support/encourage those networks to demand and support A21 legislation.

 

5. API’s work with local Government and Councils and Parliament in the last six years has advantages. Using achievements, API together with its civil society partners can advocate on critical issues and hold the Government more accountable and responsive.

 

Refocusing and strengthening API’s future interventions

 

API has learned that it should now promote the use of governance systems by encouraging the participation of people in democratic decision making. The full potential of institutions (local Government and Councils), structures and systems for democratic governance is yet to be fulfilled. To enhance the effectiveness of its interventions in democratisation and decentralisation, API needs to invest in long term capacity development of Cambodian citizens and civil society to participate and make best use of these institutions, structures and systems. Awareness and the ability of citizens and civil society to bring their agenda forward are required. To build effective communities that are motivated and able to demand participation and dialogue, API must aim to institute the notion of citizen-state engagement and develop processes that are conducive to real debate and influence.

 

By building on the previous experience and lessons learnt in working with Government institutions, Parliament and civil society networks, API will scale up its work to actively engage and dialogue with all actors at the sub-national and national levels to move toward a culture of openness and open information, in which they recognise the value of disseminating information proactively, responding promptly to requests for information and even providing information that they deem to be politically sensitive. In doing this, API, together with its civil society partners and UN agencies, will strengthen the capacity of officials at the sub-national and national levels and advocate for developing clear processes, tools and mechanisms and allocation of sufficient budget and staff to provide public access to information. API will strengthen the capacity of CSOs to assist communities and citizens to participate in local Government by having information on planning, budgeting, public services, environment and natural resource management, and functions of district and commune Councils, and to use this information to help ensure the transparency, responsiveness and accountability of these Councils.

 

Strategic choices

 

In the next three to five years, API is committed to focusing on:

 

Working with the Government toward the passage of access to information legislation (Parliament and Ministries)

 

1. Developing an understanding of the components of access to information and drafting supportive legislation such as revenue disclosure, contract disclosure and reporting mechanisms.

 

2. Promoting access to information and supporting the legislative process leading to an access to information law and to developing a culture of maximum information disclosure.

 

3. Strengthening the collaboration and partnership between civil society organisations and the Parliament.

 

Working at the sub-national level (District Councils and Commune Councils)

 

1. Promoting transparency and accountability within the Decentralisation and De-concentration framework by improving capacity of sub-national officials and elected Council members and strengthening local organisation’s and peoples’ participation in local governance.

 

2. Encouraging a culture of openness regarding dissemination of and open information about public services, policies, budget, natural resources and the environment, etc.

 

3. Building capacity to disclose information with mechanisms and sufficient budget and staff for accurate and timely release of information.

 

4. Training local authorities on human rights and democracy and establishing local human rights mechanisms in response to human rights violations and abuses.

 

Educating and empowering citizens for civic engagement

 

1. Inspiring and motivating citizens to participate in civic engagement.

 

2. Encouraging citizens to responsibly advocate for themselves and their communities.

 

Collaborating with civil society networks and private sector

 

1. Enhancing civil society networks to engage and establish mutual trust in a partnership environment with the Government, Parliament, Government development partners, and donors and supporting them to collaborate to improve democratic space, good governance, decentralisation, social accountability, and human rights.

 

2. Strengthening API’s role in leading and coordinating relevant NGO networks.

 

3. Engaging business and private sector leaders in promoting more open and transparent Government.

 

Maintaining effective API organisational support

 

1. Practicing principles of good governance.

 

2. Continuing to be bound by clear lines of accountability and transparency and ensuring effective management of the organisation and its resources.

 

Goal and Objectives for 2014-2018

 

Goal

 

The goal of API’s five-year strategy is to contribute to poverty reduction and better protection and promotion of rights and voices, particularly for young people, women, and vulnerable persons and groups, by promoting a culture of public information disclosure, strengthening democratic participation and transparency and accountability within the Decentralisation and De-concentration framework in Cambodia, particularly in the targeted Commune and District Councils, and advocating for equitable and sustainable public policy.

 

Objectives

 

To achieve the goal, five strategic objectives will yield outcomes ensuring positive impact benefiting vulnerable and marginalised groups in which the sub-national and national Government institutions are more accountable and responsive. The outcomes are: 

 

1. Increased information availability and disclosure on critical issues at sub-national.

 

2. Access to information and information disclosure legislation and policies debated and adopted.

 

3. Productive dialogue and effective participation in democratic decision making to enhance the voices of and protect the rights of Cambodian people (young people, women, men and people with disabilities) in the target areas.

 

4. Increased capacity development of local government and councils to improve functions, transparency, accountability, human rights, information disclosure, and collaboration with communities, local civil society and national Government.

 

5. Enhanced and effective participation and contribution of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and networks in democratic governance, human rights, environmental governance, decentralisation, transparency and accountability, information disclosure and development processes at the sub-national and national levels.

 

To achieve these objectives API through its organisational strengthen and support will ensure financial stability, strong management, results, accountability and transparency as overseen by an effective and active Director and Board of Directors.

 

Please find the summary of API's five-year strategy, 2014-2018


[1] API’s Strategic Planning for 2014-2016, Stage 1 Report on ‘Future Directions and Implementations’, prepared by Bud and Shari Yordy assisted by Soun Bun Rith, March 2013