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Introduction

Girl students in a rural secondary school ride their bicycle back home. (Photo: UNDP Cambodia)
The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated in the southwest of the Indochinese peninsular and has a
rich culture that dates back 2,000 years ago. The country has a land area of 181,035 square
kilometres and population of 14.9 million people [MoP, Population Projection, 2010]. Like in the
rest of Southeast Asia, Cambodias climate is characterized by two main seasons: the monsoon,
which brings rain from mid-May to October, and dry season from November to April.
Economically, Cambodia has enjoyed strong growth rates during the past decade. The economy
is projected to post a 7.6 percent growth in 2013. GDP per capita is US$1,036 [MEF's statement
on 22 July 2013] compared to approximately US$200 in1992, putting Cambodia well on its way
to become a lower-middle income country in the near future.
History
Cambodia gained its independence in 1953. Since then and through to 1970, it was a selfsufficient and prosperous country that excelled in many areas of development. Following an
extended period of civil war, the Paris Peace Accord in 1991 created the United Nations
Transitional Authority (UNTAC), which was backed by some 22,000 United Nations
peacekeepers to prepare the first free and fair election in the country. In May 1993, UNTAC
supervised Cambodias first general election. His Majesty Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk was
reinstated as King. In 2004, he abdicated the thrown and his son, Norodom Sihamoni, was
elected by the Thrown Council to be the King of Cambodia in October that year. Former King
Sihanouk
passed
away
in
October
2012.
Cambodia is a party to a number of international conventions. They include Anti-Personnel Mine
Ban Convention (Ottawa Treaty; ratified July 1999), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW; ratified October 1992), UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC; ratified December 1995), Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disability (CRPD; December 2012), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC; ratified
October 1992), and several international covenants on social, cultural, economic and political
rights.
Challenges

Women in rural area discussing to create regulations to use water pumped from a solar panel in
their village. (Photo: UNDP Cambodia)
Cambodias achievements in economic development during the past two decades have resulted in
significant reduction in the poverty rate, which stood at 19.8 percent in 2011 [MOP, Redefining
the Poverty Line, April 2013] compared to 50 percent in 1992. However, there remain many
challenges for Cambodia to address. One of them is the growing inequality income disparity,
regional disparity between the urban population and the rural poor, and gender disparity. Women
continue to face disadvantages in getting secondary and higher education, decently paid
employment opportunities and decision-making roles in the governments institutions. Genderbased violence remains a serious issue.
Cambodia has entered into a demographic bonus period. Youth, defined as an age group between
15 and 30 years old, makes up 33 percent of the population [MOEYS, National Policy on
Development of Cambodian Youth]. This represents a significant young labour force. An
estimated 300,000 young Cambodians [UNCTs Common Advocacy Point, 2011] enter the labor
market every year, but often they do not have the required skills to meet the needs of the labour
market. Therefore, equipping young people with quality education and skills is crucial to ensure
that Cambodia moves towards improved equality and wealth for its citizens. The quality of the
young people who will join the labour force will determine whether Cambodia can take
advantage of the demographic bonus period, a one-time opportunity for development.
Cambodia has a rich bio-diversity, including an array of diverse organisms and forest resource on
which many poor people in the countryside depend for livelihood. However, in recent years the
forest resource has increasingly come under pressure from economic land utilization.
Meanwhile, the country is known to be vulnerable to impacts of climate change due to its low
adaptation capacity. Rural populations are most at risk to destructive climatic events such flood
and
drought.
Landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) continue to pose obstacle to the advancement
of development especially in the countryside despite progress made in clearing them during the
last two decades. Cambodia has set target to clear some 658 square kilometres of mine-affected
areas by 2019, a huge task which will require sustained external financial support to get the job
done.
With its GDP per capita now over US$1,000, Cambodia is well on its way to earn a status of
lower-middle income country in the next few years. The government has set a vision for

Cambodia to become an upper-middle income country in 2030. Reaching the lower-middle


income country status represents a significant milestone for the country. Yet, it also represents a
challenge to its future development prospect. It stands to lose some of the privileges and
preferences in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA) that it has been enjoying so far
as a least developed country. ODA is expected to go down, compelling Cambodia to raise
national revenue and finance public services by moving towards a more self-sustaining economy.
Successes

A family benefitting from mine-clearing project in North-Western Battambang province grow


green bean seeds in their farm, which used to be contaminated by landmines. (Photo: UNDP
Cambodia)
Over the past nearly two decades, Cambodias economy has been among the fastest growing
economies, unmatched by any other post-conflict society. Factors contributing to this fast
economic growth included: restoration of peace and security; large public and private capital
inflows; economic openness; fairly stable macroeconomic conditions; and dynamic and
integrating neighborhoods. As a result, Cambodia has registered massive gains and
improvements on human development as measured by the HDI: life expectancy at birth,
educational attainments and providing decent living standards measured in Gross National
Income (GNI) per capita (Purchasing Power Parity). Between 1995 and 2012, Cambodias GNI
per capita increased by some 163 percent, from US$797 to US$2,095 (2005 PPP$).
Overall, Cambodias HDI for this period experienced fast growth in the three HDI dimensions at
an annual average growth rate of about 1.7 percent, an average HDI growth faster than the Low
and Medium HDI groups. As a result, Cambodia is among the 40 countries in the South that have
had greater gains in HDI between 1990 and 2012 than would have been predicted by their
previous performances.

http://www.ilo.org/asia/countries/cambodia/lang--en/index.htm
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/worldwide/asia-and-the-pacific/cambodia/
http://www.imf.org/external/country/KHM/index.htm
http://www.un.org/en/sections/where-we-work/asia-and-pacific/index.html

IMF Concludes 2015 Article IV Consultation Mission to Cambodia


Press Release No. 15/317
July 3, 2015

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff


teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a
country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the
IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the
IMFs Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of
this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to
management approval, will be presented to the IMF's
Executive Board for discussion and decision.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra visited Phnom Penh during June 22July 3,
2015 to conduct discussions for the 2015 Article IV consultation 1 with Cambodia. The team assessed macroeconomic
developments and held policy discussions with ministers and senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and
met a large group of stakeholders, including representatives of the academic and business community, civil society, and
development partners.
At the conclusion of the visit, Ms. Jain-Chandra issued the following statement:
Economic activity remains strong driven by construction, real estate and garments exports. GDP growth is estimated at 7
percent in 2014 and is expected to stay at the same level this year. After declining in early 2015 due to the sharp oil price
decline, inflation is expected to rise moderately to 2.6 percent by end-2015. The current account deficit remains largely
financed by foreign direct investment (FDI) and official loans, and is projected to moderate over the medium term,
supported by export growth and the completion of large power projects. Gross official reserves stood at US$4.4 billion in
December 2014, nearly 4 months of prospective imports.
The macroeconomic situation and outlook are thus favorable, although there are downside risks. A protracted growth
slowdown in Europe or a stronger dollar would constrain garments exports. Weaker-than-expected growth in China would
have spillovers through the FDI, banking, and tourism channels. On the domestic front, rapid credit growth, particularly
to the buoyant real estate and construction sector, intensifies financial stability risks. Any erosion of competitiveness
could adversely affect exports and investment.
Against this backdrop, discussions focused on how best to continue Cambodias successful development by safeguarding
macro-financial stability, securing fiscal buffers, and promoting competitiveness, diversification and inclusive growth.
Rapid financial deepening in Cambodia requires careful macro-financial risk management to ensure financial stability. In
this regard, the recent expansion of reserve requirements to cover foreign borrowing and the enhanced focus on liquidity
risk management are steps in the right direction. Continued development of negotiable certificates of deposits (NCD)
markets launched by the National Bank of Cambodia and formalization foreign exchange markets would support marketbased monetary policy operations, better liquidity management, and the promotion of local currency.
Moderating credit growth to a more sustainable level would require additional tightening of monetary policy and
strengthening regulation and supervision. While stronger enforcement of micro-prudential regulations and continued
strengthening of supervisory capacity can moderate the build-up of credits risks, well-designed macro-prudential policies

could play an important supportive role. Given the growing systemic importance of micro-finance institutions, regulatory
and supervisory upgrades are warranted. The buoyant real estate market also needs close monitoring and further
strengthening of regulatory frameworks to ensure that the sector can support growth without compromising financial
stability.
Strong revenue performance supported by the Revenue Mobilization Strategy (RMS) and solid growth have eased
immediate fiscal pressures and improved fiscal buffers by replenishing government deposits. The fiscal deficit narrowed
(including grants) to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2014, primarily driven by stronger revenues. Going forward, institutionalizing
the RMS reforms to sustainably increase revenues would be important to secure fiscal sustainability. Also, further wage
increases should be contingent on projected fiscal performance (such as meeting revenue targets and maintaining an
adequate fiscal buffer). Continued focus on upgrading the quality of public services by deeper and efficiency-enhancing
civil service reform and by linking budget to policy through the Public Financial Management reform programs is needed
to better support the momentum of fiscal consolidation over the medium term. Although debt remains sustainable with a
low risk of distress, closer monitoring of fiscal risks from contingent liabilities and further strengthening of capacity to
analyze these risks would help safeguard the fiscal space.
The ongoing regional transformation offers a unique opportunity for Cambodia to diversity its production base and move
up the value chain. Improving competitiveness and human capital would make growth more sustainable and inclusive. To
take better advantage of regional opportunities and Cambodias own demographic dividend, continued improvement in
skills and vocational training, energy and logistics, and the business climate is critical.

Cambodia: Investing in human capital critical for


sustaining growth
23 Feb 2015 (UNDP)

Ms. Vin Rattana,


middle, supervises her colleagues at a car garage she manages in Siem Reap province. (Photo: UNDP Cambodia)

When Ms. Vin Rattana completed high school a decade ago, her parents did not have enough money to send her
straight to study for a university degree. But that was not the end of the road for her. She enrolled in a technical
training school to learn how to fix cars.
Whenever I came home during the school break, my friends would ask me what are you studying? I told them I
learn about car mechanics and electrical systems. The laughed at me and said as a woman you should not do that
because when you finish you wont be able to fix cars like men, 31-year-old Vin Rattana recalled.
Today, she is a manager of a garage that sells Japanese car in Siem Reap province. In bypassing the direct route to
university to obtain technical skills first, her journey to her present job makes an example that is at the heart of the
discussion about how to develop human capital in Cambodia.
The country is poised to embrace full economic integration with ASEAN at the end of 2015. But there are growing
concerns that too little investment in human capital will continue to limit employment opportunities for young

people. Almost two-thirds of the population are under 30 years old, but with little education in possession, most of
this potential labour force is usually stuck at the low end of the jobs market.
Like other developing countries, Cambodia is moving into a knowledge-based global economy. That means it needs
to foster creativity, skills and innovation in its workforce. But the countrys public education system is under-funded,
and even well-educated graduates also face problems as job competition is getting tougher and tougher.
In the last two decades we have produced so many students in accounting and business. [But] we have only 2.5
percent of students studying agriculture, and Cambodia is an agriculture country. We have only 3 percent of students
studying engineering, and Cambodia needs more engineers and technicians, H. E. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of
Education, Youth and Sport, said in an interview.
For Cambodia to move forward, we need to produce more engineers, more agronomists, more people in other
sectors, not just in business and accounting," he added to explain the Ministrys strategy.
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, H. E. It Sam Heng, agreed. He said the government is putting greater
emphasis on giving young Cambodians the technical skills they need to compete within the ASEAN framework. He
added that the private sector also has an important role to play.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has already determined that the private sector is the locomotive driving our
growth. This partnership is crucial in two ways in fostering private vocational training school and in fostering
cooperation between private industry and the vocational training institutions of the government, he said.
Human capital development is a key area where UNDP is providing policy support to the governments strategies
that will help generate skills and employment opportunities for Cambodians, particularly the youth.
Human capital is critical. Unless the quality of the human resources and labour force is good to add values they will
not be able to contribute to the Cambodian economy, said Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, Country Director of UNDP in
Cambodia.
The two-year technical training changed Ms. Vin Rattanas life. She was never bothered by her friends laughter
about her studying car mechanics. After graduating from the college, she worked in a smaller garage while
managing to save money to upgrade her studies until obtaining a masters degree in business management two years
ago. Now she is a mid-level boss at a bigger, more modern garage where male mechanics are doing the greasy work
of fixing cars under her supervision.
At present, the ability of our Cambodian youth to compete is still limited. That is why we have to make a lot of
effort to move them from attempting to hit just a single target in education. They must diversify to have additional
skills. By doing so we hope to become more competitive with our partners in ASEAN, Rattana said.
For her theres no looking back. She is firmly on her way to tackle new challenges with confidence and the
necessary skills to compete. This is one of Cambodias success stories one that could help inspire other young
Cambodians to follow in building career path towards a better life.

Cambodian agriculture in transition : opportunities and


risks (English)
ABSTRACT WORLD BANK

This report seeks to understand the successes, challenges and opportunities of Cambodias agricultural
transformation over the past decade to derive lessons and insights on how to maintain future agricultural
growth, and particularly on the governments role in facilitating it. It is prepared per the request of the
Supreme National Economic Council and the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and is based
on the primary farm data surveys from 2005 and 2013, and the secondary data from various sources. In
2013-2014, the agricultural growth slowed down to 1 percent from its average of 5.3 percent over 20042012. Is the country in transition to a slower agricultural growth? Cambodia can ill afford it because
agricultural growth will be critical to continued poverty reduction in the country, given its large size in the
economy. Market and private investment friendly policies and targeted public sector investments in
irrigation, extension, and other public good agricultural services, as feasible within the governments
total budget, can help secure continued robust agricultural growth. The remaining report is organized as
follows. Chapter two presents key facts about Cambodias recent agricultural development using data
from national accounts and various reports. Chapter three provides evidence from the field that explains
the changes observed in the national accounts. Chapter four illustrates developments in farming systems,
farm budgets, and farm incomes compared to nonfarm incomes. Chapter five presents a farm
competitiveness analysis. Chapter six discusses the sources of past growth and their limitations and
presents an analysis of (likely) future sources of agricultural growth. Chapter seven presents a long-term
vision for the sector, while chapter eight simulates policies and the changes in farm incomes needed to
realize this vision. Chapter nine discusses the policy agenda, with implementation details based on
national and global experiences. Chapter ten concludes with a summary of the report and policy
recommendations. Annexes present the methodology of the 2013 farm survey, detailed farm budgets by
crop, projections of selected indicators, and results of the policy simulations.

Poverty has fallen, yet many


Cambodians are still at risk of slipping
back into poverty, new report finds
February 20, 2014 by worldbank

Phnom Penh, February 20, 2014 Cambodia has exceeded the Millennium Development Goal
poverty target and is one of the best performers in poverty reduction worldwide, according to a new
World Bank Poverty Assessment Report. The poverty rate more than halved, from 53% (2004) to
20.5% (2011). Today, approximately two out of 10 Cambodians are poor, compared with five out of
10 in 2004.
According to the report, increased rice prices and increased rice production greatly contributed to
poverty reduction, along with greater road access for farmers to markets, better access to market
information through mobile phones, improved irrigation, and a liberal undistorted agricultural
market.
"This is good news for Cambodia. The pace of poverty reduction surpassed expectations. When a
similar poverty assessment was undertaken in 2006, the aspirational goal was for Cambodia to halve
poverty by 2015. Cambodia already reached that goal in 2011, saidAlassane Sow, the World
Banks Country Manager for Cambodia.

Cambodia Headcount Poverty Rate, 2004-2011

Source: "Where Have All the Poor Gone? Cambodia Poverty Assessment 2013," World Bank.

However, the report finds that Cambodias near-poor, those who live on less than $2.30 per day per
person, may have escaped poverty but remain vulnerable to (even the slightest) economic shocks.
Despite impressive reduction in poverty, these hard won gains are fragile. Many people who have
escaped poverty are still at high risk of falling back into poverty, said Neak Samsen, Poverty
Analyst of the World Bank in Cambodia and the co-author of the Poverty Assessment
Report. For example, the loss of just 1,200 riel (about $0.30) per day in income would throw an
estimated three million Cambodians back into poverty, doubling the poverty rate to 40%.
Poverty and Vulnerability in 2004 and 2011

Source: World Bank staff calculations using CSES data.


To further reduce poverty and vulnerability, the report recommends policies and programs that can
help the near poor and the poor, the majority of whom live in rural areas:

Improve and upgrade the quality of basic rural infrastructure such as roads, irrigation
schemes, electricity supplies, and water and sanitation.

Support children in rural areas to start school at a younger age and broaden access to
education among minority communities are keys to reducing poverty.

Expand scholarships, school feeding, targeted cash transfer and similar programs that have
been shown to help reduce secondary school drop-out rates.

Promote an integrated program to reduce child malnutrition, with systematic monitoring of


child growth by health facilities, promoting community-based programs to reduce open defecation,
and improving feeding habits.

Increase the coverage of the Health Equity Fund a scheme that provides free access to
health care for the poorest and raise public awareness of the importance of reducing child
malnutrition.

Impose tighter controls on private providers and suppliers of medicine outside the public
health system to combat counterfeit drugs and improve health care safety.

Promote programs to enhance the profitability of rice production by providing improved


seeds and more effective rural extension services to help farmers shift from subsistence to
commercial farming.
We might come up with different views on some directions of Cambodias socio-economic
development, but I firmly believe that we all fundamentally agree that the success of Cambodias next
stage of poverty reduction will be determined by continuing high levels of inclusive growth based on
economic diversification and increased productivity, said Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon,
chief of Economic and Finance Committee.
"Reducing poverty further and helping families who have just escaped poverty to stay out of poverty
is possible," said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director Manager for Cambodia and
Southeast Asia. The World Bank is a partner with Cambodia in its efforts to reduce poverty and
promote equitable growth and development that benefits all Cambodians.

Cambodias Environment: Good News in Areng Valley?


Can Cambodias nascent environmental movement save the pristine Areng Valley
from a Chinese dam?
By Pichamon Yeophantong
November 03, 2014 by thediplomat.com
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14 Comments

The unfolding story of local resistance in the Areng Valley starts with an all-too-familiar
predicament: for the sake of national development and economic progress, the Cambodian
government has steadfastly pursued plans without prior public consultation tobuild a
Chinese-backed hydropower dam in an area known for its rich biodiversity and indigenous
communities.
But contrary to how one might normally expect such a story to transpire, there is an important
twist in this one. Faced with irrevocable ecological degradation, loss of traditional livelihoods,
and the disruption of indigenous culture, local villagers supported by grassroots NGOs and
environmental groups are refusing to back down from their fight to save the Areng.
The remote Areng Valley is located in the 400,000-hectare Central Cardamoms Protected Forest,
one the countrys last pristine natural forests in Koh Kong province. The valley is home to an
ethnic Chong community that has resided in the area for centuries. It also contains the habitats of
rare and endangered animal and fish species, including the Asian Arowana, Asian Elephant and
Siamese Crocodile. The latter in particular is classified as Critically Endangered on the
IUCNs Red List of Threatened Species, which estimates there to be only 100-300 remaining in
the Cambodian wilderness.
According to Toby Eastoe, Landscape Manager at Conservation International, the Cambodian
government under Prime Minister Hun Sen is considering at least eleven dams in the
Cardamoms. Initial proposals for the Cheay Areng dam first surfaced in late 2006, when China
Southern Power Grid (CSG) one of Chinas major power grid enterprises signed a
memorandum of understanding with the Cambodian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy
(MIME) to conduct a feasibility study for the dam.
However, by 2008 when word got out about CSGs feasibility study, the proposed scheme began
to come under public fire, as conservation groups like U.K.-based Fauna and Flora International
raised serious concerns over the Cheay Areng dams adverse ecological impacts.

Amid growing controversy, CSG decided to withdraw from the project, citing environmental
impact concerns. CSG would be succeeded, however, by another of Chinas largest power
generation corporations: China Guodian. The company signed an memorandum of understanding
with the Cambodian government in November 2010 to complete the feasibility study for the
Cheay Areng dam, alarming anti-dam activists in the process. And yet history would repeat itself:
China Guodian soon pulled out upon realizing that the scheme was commercially unviable. The
proposed dam, to be constructed at an approximate cost of $400 million, was capable of
generating only 108MW of electricity.
It remains a wonder as to why Sinohydro Resources Ltd., a holding company of Chinas largest
dam-builder Sinohydro Group, would later decide to take on the project in early 2014*.
The root of the problem, explains Eastoe, is that 80 percent of Cambodia lacks a stable supply
of electricity, yet it needs electricity to develop. This concern is reflected in the countrys latest
Power Development Plan (1999-2016), which prioritizes the development of Cambodias
hydropower capacity to meet growing electrification needs.
However, to some, justifying the Cheay Areng dam with references to national development
sounds more like a cover-up for exploitation of the Areng Valleys natural resources.
As Chinese dam builders and its Cambodian subcontracted companies to date have been able to
operate on a wave of lawlessness and impunity, the Cheay Areng Dam may simply be an excuse
to open up the Areng Valley to immense logging and wildlife poaching, writes Ame Trandem,
Southeast Asia Program Director at the California-based International Rivers.
Indeed, dam sites often serve as a hub for illicit activities, as legal reservoir clearings provide
easy access to luxury timber (often destined for the Chinese market) and pave the way for illegal
mining. To Opposition MP Son Chhay of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), at the
crux of the Areng issue is simply corruption.
Building Dams, Burning Bridges
Across mainland Southeast Asia, Chinese companies spurred on by the Chinese government to
go global are seizing the window of opportunity left open by Western financiers wary of
backing risky resource and infrastructure schemes in countries with weak social and
environmental safeguards. Major state-owned enterprises (SOEs) like China Power Investment
Corporation (CPI) and the Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) have been involved in some
of the most controversial resource-development schemes of recent years. Examples include the
Myitsone dam in Myanmar and bauxite mining in Vietnams ecologically diverse Central
Highlands, both of which quickly gave rise to widespread local opposition.
To be sure, these companies are aware of the sizable commercial and reputational risks involved
in financing such schemes. In most cases, however, it is not just a matter of turning a profit or

securing their share of a developing market; especially for Chinese SOEs, involvement tends to
be politically motivated as well.
Chinese hydropower companies, in particular, play a key role in Beijings so-called soft-power
offensive in the region. Here, building dams is tantamount to building bridges with its strategic
allies.
As one of the regions least developed countries, Cambodia is a frequent recipient of Chinese aid
and loan packages which, as regularly noted, comes with no strings attached. The Kamchay
dam in Kampot province, for example, was funded by a $600-million development aid package.
But while China may be succeeding in its efforts to strengthen political and economic ties with
the Hun Sen government, it has failed to improve its credibility in the eyes of ordinary
Cambodians.
For the Valley
The fight continues, as it willfor the rest of our lives, replied Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson,
co-founder of the local NGO Mother Nature, when asked about the current situation in the Areng
Valley.
For the past six months, local villagers living near the planned dam site the majority of whom
are ethnic Chong have erected a makeshift roadblock on the only road into the valley. The
blockade has managed to deny entry to groups of officials and Chinese engineers on a number of
occasions.
However, the latest attempt earlier this month would result in the detainment of eleven villagers,
including Gonzalez-Davidson, by authorities.
We had heard from several sources that the delegation would go there to smooth things up for
Sinohydros machinery, basically to scam people into accepting pitiful compensation for their
lands and to threaten anyone who was actively opposing the dam. The delegation claimed that
they were only trying to enter the valley on a fact-finding mission, and that the heavy machinery
the Chinese wanted to take in was needed to conduct feasibility studies, recounts GonzalezDavidson.
Their roadblock has since been replaced by a small army outpost.
The challenges faced by civil society activists working on sensitive issues in Cambodia are
clearly great. Most recently, Cambodian journalist Taing Try was shot dead as he was
investigating illegal logging in the southern province of Kratie. Prominent environmental activist
Chut Wutty met with a similar fate in 2012.

Prior to setting up the roadblock, Buddhist monks organized tree ordinations, wrapping an 80meter saffron cloth around the valleys ancient trees. According to Buddhist religious beliefs,
cutting down any of these trees would be tantamount to killing a monk.
Efforts have also been taken to educate indigenous villagers of their legal rights. Samreth Law
Group, a public interest law firm, has taken the initiative to help villagers claim collective
ownership of their traditional land.
In what can be seen as a reflection of growing environmental consciousness in Cambodian
society, groups like Mother Nature, Khmer Youth Empire, Wildlife Alliance and their supporters
continue to persevere despite constant setbacks. Through media campaigns, petitions and hunger
strikes in front of the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, they have raised public awareness on the
issue and catalyzed local empowerment by encouraging community participation. As awardwinning filmmaker Kalyanee Mam notes, this is not an anti Areng dam movement, but more
a movement to protect Cambodias natural and spiritual heritage.
An Uncertain Future
Earlier in October, CNRP leader Sam Rainsy publicly announced that Hun Sen had confirmed
that there is no decision yet to build the dam and said that it may be postponedto let the
next generation decide. Although there has yet to be an official statement from Hun Sen to
corroborate this, the fact that there was no immediate denial from the prime minister himself
following Rainsys comments is considered promising. Despite MIMEs previous announcement
that the dam will be completed by 2020, no further attempts have reportedly been made by
authorities to re-enter the valley.
It remains unclear as to what could have prompted this unexpected development. According to
Son Chhay, because the country actually has more than enough electricity, the government is
now realizing that if the dam were to be built now, it would have to pay for electricity which we
do not need.
But for the locals, activists and conservationists involved in the issue, a confirmed suspension or
cancellation of the Cheay Areng dam would attest to their tireless campaigning to protect the
valley from Chinese hydropower encroachment.
And while they remain cautiously optimistic about the future of the Areng Valley, their
achievements thus far speaks to how a grassroots campaign has succeeded in gaining policy
resonance, enough to prompt high-level political debate on a national scale.
The Areng valley campaign is the first home-grown environmental movement in Cambodia,
observes long-time forest campaigner Marcus Hardtke, it is built around a broad coalition of
activists and has strong roots in the urban Khmer youth. It is beyond the typical NGO activity in
this country.

Dr Pichamon Yeophantong is Lecturer in International Relations and Development at the


University of New South Wales, and a Research Associate at the Global Economic Governance
Programme, Oxford University.
* Corrected from the original 2012.

Cambodia's trade with foreign countries up 25 pct in four months


English.news.cn 2013-05-30 11:45:40
PHNOM PENH, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's trade volume with foreign countries had reached 5.12 billion U.S. dollars in
the first four months of this year, a 25 percent rise compared with 4. 1 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year,
according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce's Camcontrol Department on Thursday.
During the January-April period this year, the country exported goods in equivalent to 2.13 billion U.S. dollars, up 28
percent. At the meantime, it imported products in the total value of 2.99 billion U.S. dollars, up 23 percent.
Khuon Savuth, chief of the Camcontrol Department's statistics division, said the remarkable growth was thanks to globally
good economic situation and Cambodia's efforts in diversifying exports.
He said main products Cambodia exported were garments and footwear, rubber latex, milled rice, corn and cassava, while
items the country imported included garment and textile raw materials, petroleum, construction materials, automobiles and
motorcycles, consuming items, food and soft drinks, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
Cambodia's major trading partners are the United States, European countries, China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam,
and Malaysia.
Last year, the country's total trade volume was 13.63 billion U. S. dollars, up 19 percent year-on-year, according to the
Commerce Ministry.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/

Environment and Sustainable


Development
Cambodia has a strong dependence on its natural resources: Water, forests, soil and land. However, over the
past decade, Cambodias natural environment has faced different threats such as uncontrolled and illegal
logging, over-fishing and illegal fishing practices, biodiversity loss, weak natural resource policies and
management, etc. This is the reason why UNESCO Phnom Penh is working towards the use of natural
resources in a sustainable way and, at the same time, to conserve precious habitats.
UNESCO Phnom Penh office shares its technical knowledge and contributes to the work made by different
working groups aiming at the conservation of natural resources and associated ecosystems:

Siem Reap Water Working Group works for the protection of urban and rural areas from floods and
droughts and the conservation of water resources in the Cultural World Heritage Site of Angkor highlighting the
relationship between water, biota and social systems.
Technical Working Group on Forestry Reform provides technical assistance to the Royal Government of
Cambodia in identifying priority areas, harmonizing of activities, improving the utilization, mobilization of resources
and support efforts to strengthen the forestry sectors capacity to contribute to economic growth.