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Rights-based Development NGO Working with and between Citizens and Neo-patrimonial Cambodian Government Rikio Kimura Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

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Presentation on theme: "Rights-based Development NGO Working with and between Citizens and Neo-patrimonial Cambodian Government Rikio Kimura Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rights-based Development NGO Working with and between Citizens and Neo-patrimonial Cambodian Government Rikio Kimura Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Japan Paper presented at Development Studies Association Annual Conference, 1 Nov. 2014, Please do not quote without author’s permission 1

2 Outline 1. Introduction 2. Research Questions 3. Main Argument 4. Background of Rural Cambodia 5. Theoretical Frameworks 6. Methodology & Methods 7. Findings/Discussion 8. Summary 2

3 Introduction  RBA—political and confrontational process  Challenging for Cambodians to claim their rights from neo-patrimonial government  A Cambodian NGO: Contextualised RBA to fit it into the rural Cambodian context by Working with government Utilising its existing community empowerment approach 3

4 Research Questions  How and in what ways has the intervention of a rights-based development NGO in Cambodia influenced people’s agency in fulfilling their rights to development?;  How have political, economic, social and cultural forces influenced people’s agency in fulfilling such rights? 4

5 Main Argument  By working with government, made full use of and further widened the democratic spaces made available through decentralisation  Used multi-pronged and process-oriented rights- based empowerment approach  But, was uncritical of and did not conscientize people about government’s corrupt/rent-seeking practice that is hidden behind the democratic façade of decentralisation and that has caused land grabbing  However, its non-confrontational approach is the only workable option in relation to authoritarian government 5

6 Background of Rural Cambodia: Decentralisation Reforms  Elected commune councils (CCs) as frontline government rural machinery  To increase the credibility and legitimacy of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP); to seek more funding from international donors  But, ended up opening up more democratic space—electoral power and rights to development (Ojendal & Sadara, 2006; 2011) 6

7 Background of Rural Cambodia: Land Grabbing (Economic Land Concessions)  Economic land concession (ELCs): Granting state private land to companies for agricultural/industrial development World Bank’s neoliberal policy  Rent-seeking complicity between political elite and domestic and foreign companies Discretional transformation of state public land to state private land + Unsecure land tenure (based on occupancy) -> land grabbing 7

8 Background of Rural Cambodia: Social Land Concessions  Social land concessions (SLCs): Granting state private land to the landless poor, World Bank works with Cambodian government The NGO works on SLCs financed by the Bank under the government’s scheme Government’s rhetorical use of SLCs to divert attention from land grabbing (Neef et al., 2013) 8

9 Theoretical Frameworks: Critical Realist (CR) View of Agency and Structure  Agents are reflexive; They draw on structures to act; Their actions reproduce/transform structures  But, agents are constrained by causal powers of structures 9

10 Theoretical Frameworks: Gramscian Thought  Consensual domination: Ideological dominance of the values and norms of citizens  Passive revolution: Acceptance of certain demands of citizens to prevent their hegemony from being challenged  War of position: Battle at the level of consciousness and perception to overcome passive revolution 10

11 Methodology & Methods  CR grounded theory (Kempster & Parry, 2011; Oliver, 2012) Meaning-making (empirical data) as a point of departure to explore causal relations  Methods: Participant observation, focus groups, individual interviews (4 month ethnographic work) 11

12 Findings/Discussion 12

13 Confidence and Capacity Building: Repeated Process of Empowerment  Community workers’ stay at villages during work days -> Increased interaction with Project Participants (PPs) 13

14 Confidence and Capacity Building: Service-Delivery Approach (SDA) Specifically Geared Towards Rights- based Empowerment  Speaking out: Community-based organisations (CBOs) as space to practise speaking out  PRA to concientise PPs about their rights and as the basis for rights-based claiming (e.g. Disaster map) 14

15 15

16 Confidence and Capacity Building: Efficacious Rights Awareness-Training  Helps PPs connect their realities with pertinent rights E.g. How is climate change related to human rights?  Uses dialogical processes 16

17 Decentralisation: Working with Government  Reinforces interactions between local government and citizens Capacity and accountability building of government ○ Encourages CCs to be attend village-level meetings ○ RBA Training 17

18 Decentralisation: Working with Government, Cont’d  Gradual realisation of rights in according with the gradual evolution of local governance capacities  Interview, Senior Staff of the NGO “We see SDA as an entry point for rights-based empowerment…When we have found budget or resource to construct schools, we engage with the government and inform them about that, but we also bind them in the agreement in which they need to provide teachers and teaching materials to run the school “ 18

19 Decentralisation: the NGO Uncritcal of Neo-patrimonialism  Limited amount of Commune Sangkat Fund (CSF) due to less committed stance of government to decentralisation  Neo-patrimonialism/rent-seeking pervades every level of government bureaucracy -> financial crisis -> inadequate amount of CSF  Parallel ‘party financing’ by CPP for local investment projects to win votes If no rent-seeking for ‘party financing,’ more CSF  Decentralisation and ‘party financing’: Government’s attempt to bring about consensual domination through passive revolution 19

20 Land Grabbing: Capacity Building and Widening Democratic Space  Equipping the PPs: to use land rights efficaciously to submit petitions to local government to form groups and alliances to organise demonstrations to network with human rights NGOs and media.  Opening up of democratic spaces by the NGO’s strategy to work with government 20

21 Land Grabbing: The NGO’s Complicity with Neo-patrimonialism  Informal revenue from ELCs to partly finance the ‘party financing’ (Un & So, 2011) the heart of neo-patrimonialism  The NGO’s depoliticised stance (e.g. working w/ government) & lack of reflexivity  The NGO’s involvement in SLCs rather than problematising government’s rhetorical use of it to divert attention from ELCs to use SLCs as a passive revolution for the consensual domination of citizens  The NGO and the World Bank resulted in being complicit with neo-patrimonialism 21

22 Pragmatic View  Working with government is the only option Risk of being expelled/suspended Government’s attempts to tighten a NGO law  Gradual shifts on structures  Empirical evidence to indicate how such an approach is the only workable option (E.g. Plipat, 2005: Tagoe, 2005; Macpherson, 2009) 22

23 Summary  By working with government, further widened the democratic spaces made available through decentralisation  Used multi-pronged/process-oriented rights- based empowerment approach  But, was uncritical of and did not conscientize people about government’s neo-patrimonial practice that is hidden behind the democratic façade of the decentralisation and that has caused land grabbing  However, its non-confrontational approach is the only workable option in relation to Cambodia’s authoritarian government 23

24  Kempster, S. & Parry, K. W. (2011), Grounded Theory and Leadership Research: A Critical Realist Perspective, The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 1, pp  Macpherson, I. (2009), The Rights-based Approach to Adult Education: Implications for NGO-Government Partnerships in Southern Tanzania, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 39, 2, pp  Neef, A., Touch, S. & Chiengthong, J. (2013), The Politics and Ethics of Land Concessions in Rural Cambodia, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, pp  Öjendal, J. & Sedara, K. (2006), Korob, Kaud, Klach: In Search of Agency in Rural Cambodia, Journal of Southeast Asia Studies, 37, 3, pp  Öjendal, J. & Sedara, K. (2011), Real Democratisation in Cambodia? An Empirical Review of the Potential of a Decentralisation Reform, Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy Working Paper No. 9, Accessed 12 February  Oliver, C. (2012), Critical Realist Grounded Theory: A New Approach for Social Work Research, British Journal of Social Work, 42, 2, pp  Plipat, S. (2005), Developmentising Human Rights: How Development NGOs Interpret and Implement a Human Rights-based Approach to Development Policy, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Pittsburgh.  Tagoe, M. (2008), Challenging the Orthodoxy of Literacy: Realities of Moving from Personal to Community Empowerment through 'Reflect' in Ghana, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 27, 6, pp  Un, K. & So, S. (2011), Land Rights in Cambodia: How Neopatrimonial Politics Restricts Land Policy Reform, Pacific Affairs, 84, 2, pp References


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