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PM Claims Cambodia to Disconnect with World Bank First

Written By vibykhmer on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | 5:36 AM

Cambodian PM Hun Sen warns to anyone suggesting of other leaders of Khmer Rouge regime be put on trial. Five high ranking former cadre are currently on trial.
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Written by DAP NEWS -- Tuesday, 08 September 2009

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday claimed that the Cambodian Government had decided first to discontinue the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), a project financed by development partner the World Bank.

“I clarify that Cambodia decide to end the partnership with World Bank in land titling as it has complicated points,” said the premier during the ceremony of the 2008 population census at Chaktomuk hall.

“It has not reached the deadline yet, but I asked World Bank to withdraw its remaining budget as it has many complicated policies which it is difficult to work with and cooperate,” he added. “Previously, we did not do like this so now we can access with our national budget gradually.”

Hun Sen reiterated that Cambodia decided to terminate the project first, not the World Bank. “Do not act like the prestigious one which confirmed to terminate first; Cambodia terminated first,” he said.

The PM stated that the World Bank should not try to act as a “big brother,” ruling and controlling other institutions.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), on Monday told DAP News Cambodia that he regretted the Cambodian Government’s decision to cease the World Bank’s project.

“[The World Bank] have donated to help Cambodia, but we do not help ourselves,” he told DAP News Cam- bodia. “I suggested the Government rethink its connection with the World Bank again.”

Bou Saroeun, a spokesman for the World Bank, refused to comment on Monday. He referred questions to World Bank HQ.

Following a decision by the Council of Ministers on Friday 4 September to terminate World Bank financing of the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), World Bank Country Director for South-East Asia, Annette Dixon, made the following statement:

“Land security and a fair, transparent approach to resolving land disputes and resettlement are among the greatest challenges facing Camb- odia today. People without land or secure title to land are much more likely to be poor and stay poor,” according to the statement released on Monday.

It’s for these reasons that the World Bank has been working intensively with Government, development partners and other stakeholders since 2002 to put in place a modern and comprehensive land administration system.

This project has issued more than 1.1 million land titles, mostly to poor people in rural areas. However, recent land price increases, which have averaged over 30 percent, have been leading to land disputes, compensation issues, eviction processes and resettlement issues.

As part of our continuing dialogue with Government on these growing challenges, the World Bank undertook a review to find out whether LMAP was still achieving its intended outcomes given the rapidly changing land sector environment.

The review found that LMAP’s successes in land titling in rural areas have not been matched in urban areas where land disputes are on the rise. This was due in part to delays or lack of implementation of some project activities. While originally designed as a multi-pronged approach to addressing a range of land issues, LMAP focused on areas where it could be most successful: titling rural land and building the capacity of the land administration to register and title land and implement policy.

“We have shared the findings of the review with the Government but could not come to agreement on whether LMAP’s social and environmental safeguards should apply in some of the disputed urban areas. For the World Bank, the implementation of these safeguard policies is critical,” said the statement, adding that “However, we are encouraged by the Government’s statement of its commitment to continuing reforms in the land sector and working towards an improved policy and legal framework for resettlement that reflects their commitment to international treaties.”

“We remain committed to working with Government and other development partners through the Technical Working Group on Land to support Cambodia’s efforts to secure land tenure, reduce poverty, and improve economic opportunity for all of its people.”

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