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NGOs Assessing Development Goals for Coming Years

Cambodian farmers work on the rice field in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh. One of the recommendations proposed by the civil society groups is better agricultural markets. (File)
As Cambodia assesses its development goals, a study has found that many Cambodians want to see an improved judicial system, better education, improved agriculture and more human rights.

A broad consortium of local and international development agencies spent the early part of the year conducting conferences in the provinces of Battambang and Kampong Cham and surveys in 11 provinces, aimed at better understanding what the public wants as the country assesses its goals for the period from 2015 to 2018.

At a forum in Phnom Penh on Thursday, NGOs discussed their findings before finalizing them to present to the government. The meeting was held by the NGO Forum and the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, to gather comments and criticism of the earlier findings. These will then be sent to relevant ministries as the government assesses its UN Millennium Development Goals.

Sam Ly, a representative for the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, said the discussion was important to ensure that funding for Cambodian development is improved.

The NGOs settled on eight recommendations: an unbiased judicial system, improved education, better transparency and benefits from natural resource extraction, improved farming skills, better agricultural markets and improved human rights.

Along with those recommendations come principles of social inclusion, government accountability, green economic growth and the sustainable management of resources, participants said.

“Policymakers can use these recommendations to make policies according to the needs of the people,” said Tek Vannara, deputy director of the NGO Forum.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said a governing party should pay attention to the recommendations and needs of the people.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the administration welcomes the recommendations, “to make a better change in Cambodia.”