Cambodia’s 2012 Human Development Index gives the country a rank of 138 out of 187 countries. Despite the significant setbacks imposed by three decades of war and civil strife, the Kingdom of Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years. Poverty has been reduced from 45-50 percent in 1993-94 to 30 percent in 2007, with 90 percent of the country’s poor concentrated in rural areas. Progress toward the MDGs has been strong but uneven, with most of the gains made in poverty reduction, primary education, child mortality, and HIV/AIDS. The Royal Government recognizes good governance as a key development issue for Cambodia and a prerequisite for economic development and poverty reduction.
How We Are Helping?
UNCDF has been helping Cambodia meet its development challenges by supporting local governance programmes since the early 1990s. Together with UNDP and other development partners, UNCDF helped to formulate the 2010 National Programme for Democratic Development at the sub-national level, with the goal of implementing a strategic framework for decentralization and de-concentration.
The current Innovations for Decentralization and Local Development (IDLD) project is helping to create the necessary conditions for pro-poor local development: better quality local infrastructure and services, better local-level natural resource management and accelerated local economic development. The project has played a vital role in developing and strengthening an analytical approach to the decentralization process in Cambodia. Lessons from its pilot programmes on sub-national grants, sub-national planning and fiscal decentralization have significantly contributed to the policy debate.
Building on IDLD, preparations are currently underway to launch the Local Governments and Climate Change (LG-CC) project. This project aims at demonstrating the key role that Sub-National Governments can play in fostering Cambodia’s climate change resilience. The pilot project will focus initially on one Province and provide continuous feedback to the main central level partners.
To address the climate change challenge in Cambodia, UNCDF is piloting its “Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility”. The facility, known as LoCAL, increases climate change adaptation financing while strengthening the capacity of local governments and of the local climate change adaptation planning process through a system of performance-based grants.