A Cambodian government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Samdech Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior, is going to visit Germany next week in order to study German decentralization. The delegation will further consist of Minister of Environment Say Samal, Minister of Education Hang Choun Naron, and Minister of Health Mam Bunheng. Originally, the study tour was scheduled for November 2017, but was postponed indefinitely after the dissolution of the main opposition party by court decision in the same month.
According to Benjamin Knoedler, deputy ambassador of Germany in Phnom Penh, the study tour aims to encourage the ongoing decentralisation in the Kingdom. It will address local service delivery in public health, education, solid waste management and forestry. So far, Cambodian political decision-making is highly centralized, leaving only very limited space for sub-national levels in policy making and implementation with discretion.
The delegation will meet with officials of the German Foreign Office, the federal ministries of the Interior, Building and Community, and Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as members of parliament. In addition to a short stay in Berlin, the Cambodian delegation will visit the southwestern federal state Baden-Württemberg for four days. In there, the ministers are expected to meet the Minister of Interior of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart and to visit the forest administration of the regional council Tübingen in Bebenhausen, local authorities for waste management and the recycling center in Essingen, an education and vocational training center in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a winery in Winterbach, as well as the local government of Mutlangen and the district hospital in there.
After the official study tour, Mr. Sar Kheng will visit Dermalog Identification Systems GmbH in Hamburg. The company developed Cambodian National ID Cards and ePassport beginning in 2015.