190. Around 80 percent of the population of Cambodia lives in rural areas and rural development



Cross-Cutting Programs

 §    Rural Development

 §    Environment and Conservation

 §    Land Management and Urban Planning

 §    Land Mines and UXO Removal

 §    Labor and Social Services

 §    Gender and Development

has been one of the highest priorities of the Royal Government during its second mandate. The Royal Government adopted a multi-pronged approach to foster rural development and empower local communities to plan and manage development of their communities. The decentralization and de-concentration of public services delivery, support for participatory decentralized area-based development programs, and the provision of credit to households and small businesses in rural areas are some of the elements of RGC’s efforts. Within the RGC, the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is mandated to: (i) co-ordinate, co-operate, implement, monitor and evaluate rural development projects and programs to rehabilitate and develop rural areas by assisting the rural population; (ii) co-ordinate the operational efforts of the various line ministries and assistance programs; and (iii) undertake independent research initiatives to develop the rural areas by liaising widely, assessing needs and investigating possible solutions that would maximize opportunities.


191. During the last five years, 1998 to 2003, the Ministry of Rural Development has coordinated the rehabilitation or construction of:

  • 14,230 km of rural roads (5,230 km with laterite surface),

  • 1,867 Bridges totaling 23,311 linear meters in length,          

  • 5,619 Culverts,           

  • 40,500 points Wells,

  • 679 km Dikes,

  • 452 km Canals,          

  • 1,848 Reservoirs,

  • 6,412 Ponds,

  • 1,414 classrooms, and

  • 16 Rural markets,


192. The MRD is also involved in Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning (IRAP), which is a new planning tool to better identify access priorities and develop proposals for infrastructure and support the investment programs, such as roads, schools and water wells at the district level. IRAP assigns accessibility ranking to communes and villages according to their levels of access to basic minimum needs and services.

193. During the last five years, substantial improvements have been made in providing rural services to Cambodia's poor communities. In particular, in 2003 the MRD was involved in preparing technical standards for rural road construction; empowering the commune councils in rural road maintenance; conducting an inventory of rural roads; building and maintaining a total of 1,000 km of rural roads; and building around 700 water wells. MRD is moving from project oriented approach to sectoral and program approach. MRD's activities are now focused in the following areas to achieve poverty reduction through the expansion of economic opportunities: (i) areas surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake to ensure biological diversity, where three million people live; (ii) border area development, especially in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap and Svay Rieng; (iii) the North-eastern provinces, such as Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri to ensure environmental protection and promote ethnic minority development.


194. In the course of the implementation of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of rural infrastructure projects around 30 million work-days of employment was generated. The Ministry of Rural Development has also been involved in community development, training, establishment of Villages Development Committees (VDCs) and providing training to members of VDCs, food security and nutrition activities, providing training to private sector contractors, and rural credit schemes (rice banks, in-kind banks, village revolving credit and saving schemes).


195. With the rehabilitation and construction of more than 14,000 km of roads, many social services providers (health, credit, skills training, literacy and extension services) can now reach and provide their services not only in rural areas but also remote areas that where previously inaccessible. The mobility of the rural people has significantly improved and now they have opportunities to participate in their community's development. 


196. There are many programs that have delivered services at the rural community level during the last five years. Some of the major ones include: the SEILA program, the Social Fund, and the rural micro-credit schemes. All of these programs have been receiving enthusiastic support from Cambodia's external development partners and it is hoped that they will continue to provide their support to these very important programs that address the root causes of poverty and tackle directly the national poverty reduction goal and the achievement of Cambodia's Millennium Development Goals.


197. SEILA Program: The Royal Government's SEILA Program was initiated in 1996 to formulate, test and continuously strengthen decentralized and de-concentrated systems for planning, financing and implementation of local development at the provincial and commune levels. Beginning with 5 provinces and a small number of pilot communes in 1996, by the end of 2001 and prior to the commune elections, coverage had expanded to half of the provinces and to more than one-third of the rural communes in the country. In 2003 the SEILA program coverage was extended to cover all provinces and communes. During the period of 1998-2003, combining formal training with a "learning-by-doing" approach to capacity building, approximately 3,000 civil servants and 75,000 elected village representatives have been provided training in a variety of technical areas that have included--participatory planning, financial management, contract administration, bidding and procurement, and monitoring and evaluation. Over this period approximately 43 million US$ in direct investment has been disbursed through contractual modalities between the Governor and both public and private implementing agencies at the provincial level, and approximately 42 million US$ between the CDC and primarily private contractors at the commune level. Adopting a partnership approach with the donor community at national level and an integrated, annual programming framework with international agencies and NGOs at the provincial level, a high volume of additional, parallel resources have been mobilized and programmed each year to support the developments at the provincial and commune levels. External evaluations of the SEILA program have reaffirmed the socio-economic benefits that have resulted from civil works projects implemented by private sector at the commune level as well as the growing capacity of the provinces, districts and communes to manage the decentralized systems.


198. The adoption of the Law on Commune Administration in 2001 and the Commune Elections held in February 2002 are important milestons in Cambodia’s march to a new era of grassroots democratization, along with the establishment of the National Committee for Support to Communes/Sangkats (NCSC) and a Department of Local Administration (DoLA) within the Ministry of Interior, who are responsible for formulating the decentralized regulatory framework and coordinating support to Commune/Sangkat Councils. Anticipating these changes, the Second Phase (2001-2005) of the SEILA Program was re-conceptualized as an aid mobilization and coordination framework to support the Royal Government's decentralization and de-concentration reforms. The five-year (2001-2005) $ 95 million SEILA Program was approved by the Council of Ministers on 5 January 2001 and is now in its second last year of implementation. 


199. Social Fund: the Social Fund of the Kingdom of Cambodia (SFKC), was established in 1994, as an autonomous public institution, under the Presidency of the Prime Minister. It has been engaged, nation-wide, since late-1995, in supporting the Royal Government’s efforts to reduce poverty by financing projects for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure, and other socially productive activities; and by creating short term employment opportunities while enhancing the ability of communities to identify local development needs and manage small scale development projects.


200. The SFKC’s portfolio is demand-driven and entirely determined by the requests it receives from communities, local authorities, public institutions and other organizations throughout the Kingdom. It acts solely as a financial intermediary, funding and monitoring eligible projects. A key emphasis of SFKC is on increasing the participation of communities and the sustainability of the projects while strengthening community ownership in procurement, contracting and management of the facilities created.


201. During the 1998-2003 period, SFKC has received, from local communities, 3,272 project applications valued at US$ 95.8 million. Of these, 59 percent of the projects were in the economic sector and 41 percent in the social sector. Disaggregated, these applications included request for: 1,178 school buildings, 7 irrigation schemes, 54 commune and district health centers, 415 water wells, 1,093 bridges and culverts, 26 drainage and sewerage systems, and 91 secondary school buildings. It illustrates the diversity of demand for small-scale infrastructure facilities, particularly in the rural areas of the Kingdom.


202. During the period of 1998-2003 SFKC has approved 1,928 projects, all over the country, valued at more than US$ 38.8 million. Of the 1,928 projects implemented 15.2 percent were in post-conflict areas, 90.8 percent were in the rural areas, and 9.2 percent in the urban areas. In terms of value, the total labor content of the investments amounted to about 13.2 percent of the total, creating more than 98,660 person-months of employment.


203. Rural Credit Schemes: The Royal Government has fully supported and encouraged the participation of Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs), Specialized Banks, Commercial Banks and the Rural Development Bank (RDB) to provide credit to rural communities.  At present, most of the Commercial Banks do not have branches at the provincial level.  Even those Banks who have established branches in some provinces, these are limited to big centres and there is virtually no presence at districts, communes or villages level. However, MFIs, NGOs and Specialized Banks have been providing credit services to the needy in rural areas for some time. Also, the Rural Development Bank (RDB) plays an important role in financing, refinancing and providing technical assistance to MFIs and in mobilizing domestic and foreign financial resources to support the provision of rural credit for micro-finance activities.


204. Access to credit in rural areas is key to achieving broad-based economic expansion. The Royal Government has taken several concrete steps to enhance the availability of credit in rural areas. These include: transforming NGOs into formal Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) or as a registered financial operator; improving supervision of micro finance institutions to mobilize resources; and reducing interest rates to increase access by the poor to credit. In the first nine months of 2003, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) issued licenses to five MFIs and registered four NGOs as rural credit operators.  At present, there are more than 100 rural financial operators that include licensed micro finances, registered and non-registered NGOs. Most of these, however, are relatively of small size.


205. The introduction of an on-site and off-site inspection manual for MFIs in earlier 2003 by the Royal Government has contributed to improvement in supervision of MFIs. To strengthen off-site supervision a standardized new chart of accounts has also been prepared to ensure the quality and consistency of the financial information submitted by financial institutions. The new chart of accounts is gradually being implemented by the licensed MFIs and those NGOs that intend to apply for a license in the future. The NBC has also developed simplified reporting formats for both registered and licensed institutions. For prudential purposes on-site inspections are being conducted before license and registration certificate as rural finance operators are issued.


206. So far, MFIs have had the freedom to set interest rates. However, their inability to properly assess the risk in setting the interest rate has led to high interest rates. The NBC has issued guidelines to MFIs on the methodology to calculate the interest rate based on market conditions. The methodology is designed to improve the financial analysis that could result in reduced interest rates on loans to be made to the rural poor. Nevertheless, the NBC is conscious that more direct administrative interventions could lead to unsustainable microfinance institutions.


207. At present, the huge gap between demand and supply of funds represents a major constraint to low lending rate in micro finance sector. The regulation on the licensing and registration of MFIs aims therefore to upgrade their legal status and strengthen their operations that will enable them to attract more resources, either in the form of refinance assistance from the Rural Development Bank (RDB) or through equity participation. Building the institutional capacity of the NGOs that have become licensed MFIs is critical for their sustainability.




208. Following the adoption of the Environmental Law in 1996, a draft law on Protected Areas was prepared in 2001. The Ministry of Environment is responsible for implementation of this Law. This draft law provides procedures, guidelines, and regulatory tools for the administration and management of protected areas, protection of rights and traditions of ethnic minorities and creation of protected area communities to seek their participation in the management and use of natural resources, sustainable management, and use of biodiversity. In addition, a bio-safety law has been drafted, and a national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP) was adopted.


209. The Ministry of Environment is actively involved in the implementation of a number of international conventions and treaties regarding conservation, such as: the Convention on Biodiversity, the Protocol on Bio-safety, the RAMSAR Convention, the CITES Convention, the Anti-Desertification Convention, and the Tiger forum.


210. Management of Protected Areas: There are 23 areas that are protected under the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management. Each protected area is classified into four management zones namely core zone, conservation zone, sustainable development zone and community zone. To strengthen the management of these protected areas work on producing maps and demarcation of boundaries for 11 protected areas has been completed, 280 concrete poles as markers for Community Protected Areas have been erected, construction of 68 sub-stations, stations and headquarters in some protected areas has been completed, 110 km roads within protected areas have been rehabilitated, and forest fire breaks constructed and equipped with 6 forest-fire trucks, motorcycles, and other equipment and facilities.


211. The Ministry of Environment has conducted studies and collected data on flora and fauna such as medicinal plants, reptiles, birds, mammals, butterflies and other insects and on the relationship between elephants and human beings. In some protected areas the number of wildlife has been increasing, for example the number of gaurs in Samkos wildlife sanctuary has increased from 30 to 50, the number of elephants in Phnom Prech wildlife sanctuary has increased from 10 to 20, the number of pheasants at Kulen Phrum Tep wildlife sanctuary from 50 to 100, and up to 1,500 pair of Anhinga melanogaster are now found at Prek Tual in the core zone of Boeng Tonle-Sap biosphere reserve.   


212. As part of the Royal Government's policy on decentralization and community participation, the Ministry has established 70 protected area communities, 14 of which have received official recognition. The Ministry has succeeded in building partnerships with several international organizations and NGOs to manage these protected areas, including WB, ADB, GEF, UNDP, UNESCO, FAO, DANIDA, WI, UNEP, Capacity 21, WWF, WCS, FFI, IUCN, WildAid, US Fish and Wildlife, IDRC, CWHC, Mlup Baitong, SCW, RECOFTC, LWS, Oxfam GB and the SEILA program. Because of these efforts, illegal activities have been reduced and there are some indications of increases in the numbers of some wildlife species in these areas,  such as large water birds (Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and Ang Trapeng Thmar), and river dolphins (Stung Treng RAMSAR site).


213. Management of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and Coastal Zone Environment: The Ministry of Environment has made concerted efforts on biodiversity conservation in the three core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve by constructing environmental stations for research and monitoring biodiversity, organization of management groups, conducting environmental awareness and educational activities as well as capacity building for park rangers. A mechanism for cooperation between relevant ministries for sustainable management the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve has been created, which facilitates effective reforms of land use, forestry, and fisheries and creation of community organizations for natural resource management.


214. Regarding management of the marine and coastal environment, the Ministry has setup a National Committee for Coastal Zone Management and technical working groups to promote the involvement of provincial authorities and commune councils in coastal zone management. With the support of DANIDA, guidelines and physical and strategic planning tools for the coastal provinces have been developed and 3 coastal resource centers have been built. Thirty community-based organizations for coastal management have been established, 54 ha of mangroves have been replanted and 9 sea grass species, 84 species of coral and 74 species of mangrove plants have been identified.


215. Environmental Quality Protection: A number of legislative measures and related legal instruments on environmental protection have been developed and adopted as tools for the MoE to fulfill its mission statement on prevention and reduction of the impacts of pollution on public health and environmental quality. These include; a sub-decree on Water Pollution Control, a sub-decree on Solid Waste Management, a sub-decree on Air Quality Management, and Noise and Vibration Disturbance and a finalized draft of a sub-decree on Management of Ozone-Depleting Substances. In addition, the MoE has collaborated with the international community on the implementation of international conventions and protocols, which include: the convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention, the Stockholm Convention, and the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia and finally the Putrajaya Declaration on Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development (PEMSEA/IMO)


216. To ensure water pollution prevention, 48 factories that were adversely effecting water quality have been forced to install wastewater treatment facilities. Also, some main canals and the sewage system in Phnom Penh have been restored and repaired with support from JICA. Wastewater Treatment Facilities have been built in Sihanoukville (ADB), and in Battambang Province (SAWA/EU).


217. Solid Waste Management: Effective management of the industrial and hazardous waste is a priority of the Royal Government.  The MoE in cooperation with the private sector has built a safe landfill, which is used for the disposal of industrial wastes and expired products that contain toxic or hazardous substances. Solid waste management at the municipal and provincial level has also been improved. Also, the recycling of solid waste-refuse from the households in some locations of Phnom Penh has been implemented with very active participation from a low income community. This program is implemented by Non Governmental Organizations such as CSARO and CAMPED/EU.


218. Environmental Awareness and Community-based Management: Environmental education is one of the major priorities in capacity building of the Royal Government and it is also integrated in both non-formal and formal education from the national primary school to the colleges and universities and different committees. Based on experiences from past pilot projects, the community-based participation has been enhanced in the management of protected areas and environmental protection.




219. Based on the Statement of the Royal Government on Land Policy in May 2001, the Council of Ministers adopted the Interim Paper on Strategy of Land Policy Framework on May 06, 2002.  A comprehensive land policy has continually been prepared. To implement the Land Law enacted in 2001, the Council of Land Policy along with the Ministry prepared and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval a set of policy papers and four sub-decrees, including policy paper and Sub-decree on Social Land Concessions (March 2003), Sub-decree on the procedures for Establishing the Cadastral Index Map and Land Register (May 2002), Sub-decree on Sporadic Land Registration (May 2002) and Sub-decree on Organization and Functioning of the Cadastral Commission. In addition, in implementing the said sub-decrees, the Ministry set out four sets of instructions. To support the work of Commune/Sangkat councils, with the support of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry prepared the working paper on the procedures and process of proper Demarcation of Commune/Sangkat’s Boundary, and the pilot was carried out to begin the work that was later extended nation-wide implementation and printing Commune/Sangkat maps. Further, the Ministry drafted and submitted to the Ministry of Interior the joint declaration regarding the Role and Responsibility of Commune/Sangkat Administration in Land Registration. Also, the Ministry prepared the draft instruction manual on “Local Government in Land Issue, Land management and Construction”. These policies and regulatory frameworks were widely disseminated for implementation and compliance.


220. To Implement the Royal government’s de-concentration policy, based on an assessment of the capacity and the scope of responsibility, Cadastre functions in eight provinces and municipalities have been delegated power to sign on cadastral documents granted by the Ministry. The powers are planned to be extended to an additional three provincial department in 2004-2005.


221. The Ministry has developed strategies and a human resource development plan to strengthen its capacity and is being restructured to meet the expected work load. To build staff’s capacity, the Ministry has prepared training manuals, and staff has been provided both in-country and overseas training in the technical, legal, management and leadership areas. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the delivery of services, the Ministry conducted training on “Leadership and Management Change”, for more than 100 senior officials from the central, provincial, and municipal departments of the Ministry.


222. Significant amount of training has been delivered to staff to ensure effective and transparent implementation of the land policy and the sub-decrees. The Ministry has prepared training manuals on systematic land registration, and has trained 700 officials, of whom 58 were trainers, 140 were quality control officials, and 6 were orthophoto production officials. Also, training on the role and duty for systematic land registration was provided to the administrative committees in eight provinces in which 3,000 civil service officials participated. The Ministry also developed procedures manual for the Cadastral Commission, and provided training to the 644 Cadastral Commission officials on Land Law, guidelines and procedures on out-of-court land dispute resolution methodologies. To ensure in-depth awareness of Land Law of 2001, the Ministry trained 30 trainers and 1,767 Ministry staff and related institutional staff at the provincial/municipal, Distric/Khan levels across the country. The Ministry prepared training manuals and provided trainings on Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) to 29 National Trainers and 370 provincial/municipal facilitators. Training on District Strategy Development Plan was provided to five national trainers and 30 provincial/municipality trainers.


223. As the education is a prioritized key factor and to promote the land administration professional, the Ministry was successful in having a Faculty of land Management and Administration within the Royal University of Agriculture established in October 2002. As of now more than 100 students have enrolled in this program. This faculty will seek international accreditation of its degree program from the University of Munich in Germany.


224. Some 293,500 land titles have been issuing so far via the pilot projects and the Land Management and Administration Project. 280,000 titles were issued through systematic land registration in 11 project provinces and 13,500 titles were issued through sporadic land registration for plots (land parcels) and flat residences. The Ministry established the geodetic network of 1,313 points and produced orthophoto for 22,108 square km.


225. So far, there have been 1,961 cases of land disputes throughout the country. Of these 493 cases have been resolved, 161 cases were either handed over to the court or canceled. The remaining 1,307 cases are in the progress of being resolved.


226. Land Management: To ensure systematic and planned land development, land use plans have been developed for a number of areas. These include: a strategic development plan of Kamreing district in Battambang province; industrial zoning plan for Neang Kok in Koh Kong province; conservation zoning for Preah Reach Troap Mountain; master plan for Kampot provincial town (sub-degree are being drafted), Pailin town (awaiting comments from the town authority), Chloung district in Kratie province (awaiting comments from the province authority) as well as a master plan for the conservation of cultural heritage buildings in Battambang town (sub-degree are being drafted), a master plan of historical tourist site of Anlong Veng (royal degree are being drafted). Actions are now being taken to prepare a master plan for the provincial towns of Kampong Cham and Mondulkiri, and the municipality of Phnom Penh. 


227. Land Concessions: To implement the Sub-decree on Social Land Concessions at the national, provincial/municipal, and district/Khan levels, mechanism were formed, and pilot projects were carried out in three communes and one Sangkat in the Battanbang, Kampot, Kampong Speu provinces, and Phnom Penh. Based on the results of pilot projects and the poverty social impact assessment study on social land concessions project, the Council of Land Policy in collaboration with various development partners is currently involved in designing a program for Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development (LASED).


228. Construction Management: Regulation for the management of the opening and closing of construction sites, and the management of engineering design and construction companies. Work is now underway on drafting the Prakas on the fee structure for construction permits. The Ministry issued construction permits for 42 hotels, 31 factories, 17 gas stations and 42 residential sites. It also issued 190 permits to business involved in engineering design and construction.




229. Cambodia is one of the most heavily land mined and UXO (unexploded ordnance) affected countries in the world. The land mines and the UXO left behind from the Vietnam War and the internal strife in subsequent period continue to cause hundreds of fatalities of innocent citizens each year. Several years of aerial bombing and shelling and widespread use of landmines by combatants have had a devastating impact on the country. The problem is so severe that rural poor’ access to essential facilities such as water, roads, bridges and cultivable land is seriously restricted and hazardous.


230. The Level One Survey (L1S) completed in April 2002 identified 3,037 suspected areas contaminated by mines or UXO, covering an area of 4,466 square km or 2.5 percent of the country's surface area. About 1,640 villages, representing around 12 percent of all villages, have to cope with levels of high contamination by landmines and UXO, and more than 5,500 villages have UXO scattered on their land. 


231. The Royal Government considers the task of clearing land mines and UXO to be a prerequisite for achieving its development goals. In December 2002, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) completed work on preparing a National Mine Action Strategy and the Five Year Mine Action Plan 2003-2007 for land mines and UXOs clearance.  At present a large number of operators are participating in the de-mining operations. Work on preparing a draft of National Mine Action Standards (CMAS) was completed in late 2003, to standardize the process of accreditation and license monitoring and to ensure quality assurance of the many de-mining agencies involved.  CMAA has also established a Quality Management Cluster within its structure to monitor the implementation of these standards by the de-mining agencies.


232. Between 1998 and 2003, the four main operators: CMAC, RCAF, HALO Trust and MAG – have cleared a total of just under 163 square Km or around 3.6 percent of the suspected land mined area, removed and destroyed 235,571 anti personnel mines, and found and destroyed 513,388 unexploded ordnance pieces. As a result the number of accidents has steadily decreased from 1158 in 1999 to 755 in 2003.




233. During the period of the second mandate of the Royal Government, 1998 to 2003, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation made significant progress in implementing the labor laws and providing social services to  vulnerable groups. The International Labor Organization of the United Nations as part of its labor conditions monitoring activities has declared that the garment and footwear industries in Cambodia are free of forced labor, child labor, or discrimination.


234. Following the formation of the new Government, July 2004 the Ministry was reorganized and its name changed to Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. The reorganized Ministry will be responsible for the labor affairs as well as the vocational training, youth and sports portfolio that was previously under the Ministry of Education's jurisdiction.


235. In terms of the implementation of the Labor Law, during the last five years the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation developed and adopted 51 legal instruments such as the Anukret, Prakas, and other regulations. In accordance with the provisions of the Labor Law, the Labor Advisory Committee and the Arbitration Council were established. In the year 2000 the monthly minimum wage for workers in garment and footwear industries was increased from 40 to 45 US dollars including bonuses and other fringe benefits. The entitlement of workers in the private sector to paid annual leave was set at the same level to which workers in the public sector are entitled.


236. The Ministry carried out inspections of labor conditions, health and safety conditions, and foreign labor management practices. Some 5,495 enterprises were inspected, of which 4,062 enterprises were found to be in violation of the Labor Law.  The Ministry issued cautionary notices to 3,249 enterprises that were violating the Labor Law and regulations, and 440 were fined. Because of the strengthening of the inspections process, the number of labor disputes decreased considerably.


237.  The Ministry registered more than 500 enterprise level unions, 16 federations of trade unions, and 1 confederation of trade union with 200,572 members. There are six employers' associations represented by an employers' confederation.  Both the rights of workers to strikes and the employer's right to lock out were respected.


238.  The Ministry registered 138,148 job seekers of which 134,791 were employed by commercial enterprises. The Ministry provided overseas employment services for 3,437 workers in Malaysia and the Republic of Korea. In accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand 181,579 Cambodians working in Thailand without proper work permits were provided appropriate documentation by the Thai authorities.


239.  In September 2002, a Law on Social Security Schemes for persons defined by the provisions of the Labor Law was promulgated. This Law entitles workers and employees in the private sector to old age, invalidity, and survivors benefits as well as on-the-job injury benefits. A National Social Security Fund has not been established yet for implementing this Law due to lack of both technical and financial resources.


240. Social services provided to veterans included monthly payments to veterans that were increased by 30 percent and again by 10 percent. Over 4,600 homeless and 147 mentally handicapped persons were provided training and funds to reintegrate in to the community. Emergency food and supplies were provided to 2,701 fire victim families, 965 drought victim families, 419,181 flood victim families and 10,596 starving people that contributed to reducing the number of homeless. Some 1,200 juvenile delinquents were provided health care services and vocational training and were integrated into the community. Also, around 1,100 juvenile delinquents were provided education on the impact of drug abuse.


241. The campaign against prostitution included not only prosecution of the culprits but also the provision of education and advice on health care issues to the concerned. Each year the Elder People's Day was celebrated to enhance the awareness of the contribution of the elders to the society and to encourage the establishment of elder peoples associations.  The five-year National Plan to Fight Against Child Sexual Exploitation has been successfully implemented. The Program for Elimination of Child Labor and the Program of Child Prevention Network in Community was implemented. The Ministry managed 21 orphanages that look after 2,218 orphans. The Ministry has cooperated with NGOs to establish another 78 orphanages for 1,864 orphans. The orphans were provided food and accommodation, vocational training, and child-care services.


242. In Cambodia, there are some 169,000 persons with disabilities. Around 93 percent of these are males and 60 percent victims of war. A program on the rights of the disabled was successfully launched that resulted in subsequent provision of services to this group. The Ministry cooperated with NGOs to establish 10 vocational training schools to provide vocational training to people with disabilities.




243. Over the past five years the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), in cooperation with other government institutions and local and international non-government organizations, has been implementing the national strategy Neary Rattanak, 'Women are Precious Gems". Neary Rattanak presents a vision of Cambodian people, both women and men, who are united and moving forward to build a prosperous and peaceful nation, upholding law and order in a just and transparent system with good governance to achieve social, economic and political stability. The goal is to improve the living conditions of women and to alleviate poverty by building the capacities of women and empowering them to participate equitably in the socio-economic development of the nation. The Royal Governments efforts have been focused on mainstreaming gender, women in decision-making, public awareness, increasing access to education and health services, economic empowerment, legal protection and effective governance.


244. Mainstreaming Gender:  At the national level, gender issues with specific targets and indicators have been integrated into Cambodia's MDGs, SEDP II and the NPRS. Promoting gender equality and equity and enhancing human resource development has been incorporated as one of seven policy measures in the National Population Policy. To improve monitoring on gender issues, the Royal Government has instructed the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) to develop gender-specific indicators that could be used analyze the nature and extent of gender disparities. Some ministries have made budget provisions to address gender disparities, most notably in education. MoWA was designated as a priority ministry in the MTEF for 2005-2007. The inter-ministerial National Council for Women was established by a Royal Decree in February 2001. Cambodia is moving towards meeting its international reporting obligations on the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Two gender focal points from each of 12 line ministries were trained by MoWA in 2000-01.  Gender working groups have now been established in MoEYS, MAFF, MRD and MoI with active support from the senior management of these ministries. To promote gender mainstreaming at the sub-national levels, the Royal Government recognizes that a "critical mass" is necessary to give women the confidence to participate actively. The Seila Gender Mainstreaming Strategy 2001-2005 was prepared and implemented by MoWA that focused attention on promoting awareness of gender issues in local government and community-based authorities by: (i) building commitment and capacity, (ii) increasing participation of women in local development planning and governance and, (iii) enhancing capacity for gender monitoring, evaluation and database management.  Recently designated women and children focal points in the commune councils are being trained to integrate gender-responsive action into commune development plans.


245. Women in Decision Making: Over the past five years, the number of women in decision-making positions has increased. In the political arena, a significant number of women were elected as commune councilors because political parties were encouraged to nominate female members to stand for elections; MoWA worked in partnership with NGOs to provide training to female commune council candidates and female commune council members. The new Commune Planning and Budget Committees are composed of one woman and one man from each village covered by the commune. In village development committees, 40 percent of members must be women. The percentage of women in the newly elected National Assembly has not, however, increased significantly. To increase the participation of women in politics there is a need to change attitudes and perceptions not only among women but also in the overall political culture. The Royal Government has been supporting leadership programs for senior women civil servants to promote equitable participation of women in national decision-making. 


246. Building Public Awareness: There is now increased public awareness of gender equality and equity issues. International Women’s Day has been used as an opportunity to promote a specific theme such as stopping violence against women or recognizing the important contributions of women to the economy. The Neary Rattanak radio program broadcasts information on gender concerns, sectoral priorities and activities of the ministry.  Media and communication strategies are being used extensively throughout the country in campaigns against trafficking of women and children. 

247. Facilitating Increased Access to Education: Access to education not only contributes to reducing poverty and illiteracy but reduces vulnerability, social instability, maternal and infant mortality rates, HIV/AID epidemic, domestic violence, trafficking, and discrimination in family and society. MoWA is working closely with the MoEYS in advocating for measures to increase gender equity in school enrolment at all levels and mainstreaming gender in the school curriculum. Priority is also being given to mobilizing resources for interventions which will increase access of female students to continue their education beyond basic education (grade 9) such as dormitories, scholarships and opportunities for overseas study. MoWA also implemented literacy and child care programs in 16 provinces/ municipalities. Provincial staff provided training to child care and early childhood education working groups and literacy trainers. The literacy program prepared by MoWA was approved by MoEYS and implemented nationwide.

248. Facilitating Increased Access to Health Information and Services, and Reducing Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, MoWA designed and implemented pilot projects to expand reproductive health education and community-based distribution of contraceptives. In the initial pilot project, female and male reproductive health volunteers in two provinces were trained in reproductive health and sex education. These volunteers conducted hundreds of information dissemination sessions at the community level. Building on experience gained through these activities, MoWA’s Health Department developed a community-based contraceptive distribution program that was implemented in six provinces. Training was provided to distribution agents and group leaders. Materials were developed and procedures put into place to facilitate smooth imple­mentation and on-going monitoring. A pilot project on fighting against malaria was also conducted in one province.  Education and information agents were trained to provide training to villagers, heads of villages and district facilitators.  MoWA’s ability to work through women’s networks at the grassroots level greatly facilitates successful implementation of these types of outreach activities. MoWA also took the lead in drafting a National Policy on Women and Girls and HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases and is a strong advocate within the National AIDS Authority steering and technical committees for a multi-sectoral response to the AIDS pandemic, and recognition of the specific vulnerabilities faced by women and girls in this response.

249. Economic Empowerment: The Royal Government has strived to ensure the rights of women to equal access to economic resources and opportunities. MoWA worked together with MAFF in developing a policy on fruit and vegetable marketing, implement pilot activities with farmer and water user groups, establish farmer field schools, train women farmer leaders, and develop a strategy and plan of action for mainstreaming gender in agriculture. Micro and small enterprise and the informal sector of the economy are particularly important to women. MoWA has been providing skills training in traditional ‘women’s’ skills (e.g., sewing, weaving, hair dressing) and providing micro-credit through Women in Development (WID) Centers and provincial departments. A more comprehensive strategy has been developed to better promote and support women in enterprise. The ‘one-village, one product concept’ was introduced at a workshop on “Women and Promoting Micro and Small Enterprise Development” in 2001. Pilot activities have been undertaken to introduce village- based food processing technologies; develop and test approaches to increasing access to markets for particularly vulnerable groups; and, convert WID Centers into integrated Women's Empowerment Centers offering a wider range of support including technical skills, business development services, and facilitating access to credit, markets and other services, and life-skills training. The garment industry is a major source of paid employment for women. The elimination of the quota system in January 2005 will expose Cambodian exporters to direct competition from neighboring countries. To increase opportunities for women for paid employment in the garment industry the Royal Government is working to secure its reputation for good labor practices, and attract garment factories from Thailand.  Pilot activities are also being implemented to the reduce vulnerability of garment workers to retrenchment.

250. Strengthening Legal Rights and Ensuring Legal Protection: The Royal Government is making progress in putting a gender-aware and gender-responsive legal framework into place. In addition to drafting a new law on domestic violence and providing inputs into the new draft law on trafficking drafted by the Ministry of Justice, inputs from a gender-perspective were also provided on the Property Law, Criminal Code, Marriage and Family Law, and regulations for implementing the Labor Code.  Extensive consultations were conducted with all stakeholders in the drafting of a new law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of Victims. This was presented to the Parliament in the last govern­ment mandate however the adoption of the law has been delayed due to political developments in 2003 in the lead up to and the aftermath of the July 2003 elections. The Royal Government is committed to eradicating trafficking in persons. Actions are being take at several levels: (i) preparation and negotiation of memoranda of understanding with Vietnam and Thailand on bi-lateral cooperation to eliminate trafficking in persons and protection of trafficked victims; (ii) drafting of a new law on the Prevention of Trafficking that will soon be presented to the National Assembly for its approval; (iii) training of civil police, military police, court officials, soldiers and local authorities on combating trafficking; (iv) extensive information, education and communication campaigns against trafficking of women and children; and (v) the efforts of concerned authorities who have been working hard to capture traffickers of women and children and bring the perpetrators to justice. MoWA has also been called upon to intervene in cases of gender-based violence including domestic violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation. MoWA's role has been primarily to help women gain access to legal and protective services, and as an advocate at senior decision-making levels, particularly on high profile cases. A social work institute has been established which is providing training to NGOs providing legal representation, protection and responding to the psycho-social needs of persons subjected to gender-based violence.

251. Effective Governance. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) was created in 1999 to foster gender equality and advance the role and status of women in Cambodia. The Ministry has been engaged in activities directed at promoting gender mainstreaming throughout the government, as well as undertaking strategic action on priority gender concerns. MoWA is a relatively new ministry and its mandate has shifted from an emphasis on direct services to a catalyst and facilitator of gender-responsive action in the policies and programs of all government and non-governmental institutions and civil society.  Extensive attention has been given to strengthening the capacity of the Ministry to effectively carry out this mandate and manage its activities. This has entailed formulating new strategies and programs, extensive staff training and strengthening of internal systems and procedures. This process will need to continue at the central level along with increased attention to strengthening the effectiveness of provincial departments and district offices.


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