Cambodia Appeal No. 01.59/2003

Originally published


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
2. Disaster Management
3. Humanitarian Values
4. Organizational Development
5. Federation Coordination
6. International Representation
1 USD 1,322,329 or EUR 1,312,376.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


Although Cambodia has experienced some encouraging progress in political, social and economic reform in recent years, according to the United Nations Human Development Report (2002), the country has some of the lowest Human Development Indicators (HDI) in the South East Asia region, ranking 130 on a global index of 173 countries. The population's access to water and sanitation, at 18% and 30% respectively is the lowest in the region and the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, at 2.7%, the highest (UNDP, 2002). The floods and drought of 2002, preceded by floods in 2000 and 2001, have caused economic losses in 2002 alone of an estimated US$ 38 million (National Committee for Disaster Management, 2002).

The Cambodia Red Cross (CRC) has, since its reunification in 1994, established itself as a leading indigenous humanitarian organisation. As an auxiliary to the Royal Government of Cambodia and working closely with a number of UN agencies and Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs), CRC has played a key role in disaster preparedness and disaster response. Additionally CRC, working closely with the Federation, ICRC and bilateral PNS partners, has through its volunteer and provincial branch structure, set up a wide range of programmes including infectious disease control (HIV/AIDS and dengue fever), primary health care (first aid), land mine awareness, the dissemination of humanitarian values and an ambulance programme.

The International Federation (Federation), which has had a permanent office in Cambodia since 1991, has, by working with the partner national societies and ICRC, provided direct technical and financial assistance to CRC both in support of programming and in support of the overall capacity building of the organisation.

In 2003/2004, the Federation, recognising the need to continue to support CRC in its work to alleviate poverty as well as work to mitigate the effects of, and respond to, disasters, will continue to harness support for programmes as well as for the organisational development of CRC. In 2003/2004, considerable emphasis will be placed on the capacity building of CRC, resource mobilisation, and the effective coordination between CRC, the Federation and the seven bilateral in-country Red Cross Red Crescent partners.

Country Strategy

Ranked 130 (from 121 in 2001) out of 173 countries on the HDI, Cambodia has shown steady progress in its development. The government is demonstrating a commitment to poverty reduction and to move ahead with public and state sector reform. Garments exports and tourism have contributed to economic growth (6.3% GDP growth in 2001) though the estimated average annual income remains at approximately US$ 270.

Despite these encouraging developments, Cambodia, for the foreseeable future, will face enormous challenges. At least one third of the 11 million population, 50% of whom are below 18 years old, live below the basic needs poverty line, 50% of the under-fives are malnourished, life expectancy at 55 is one of the poorest in Asia and while there are some indications that the HIV/AIDS epidemic may have been contained, Cambodia has the highest prevalence rate in the region (2.8% among the adult population). The continued exploitation of, and discrimination towards, women, as well as the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on women, are a major challenges for what amounts to 53% of the population.

Compounding the situation, Cambodia is one of the most severely disaster affected countries in the region and during a ten year period 1989-1999, ranked only second to Vietnam in terms of the number of people affected by disasters.

The primary natural disasters are floods, drought and forest fires. Cambodia is highly susceptible to annual flooding during the main monsoon season along the two main watersheds, the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers. Severe flooding hit the country in 1961, 1966, 1978, 1984, 1991, 1996, 2000 and 2001. In 2002 a combination of drought and flood has had a serious impact on food security in the country. Currently agriculture accounts for 40% of GDP and engages an estimated 75% of the population.

In the Consultative Group meeting (June 2002), donor governments pledged US$ 635 in their continued support to the people and to the government of Cambodia. It is expected, however, that in the coming years further significant progress will need to be made in inter alia, policy reform, poverty reduction and overall progress towards sustainable development.

The CRC, a key civil society actor, has through its five year development plan (adopted at the General Assembly, August 2002), committed to assisting the most vulnerable through, for instance, community based programmes in health and disaster management. Moreover, recognising the need to further strengthen its own capacity to deliver effective services, CRC will 'give greater priority to capacity building at national, branch and community levels...improvement of its resources...and to establish closer cooperation with national and international partners' (CRC President, August 2002).

The Federation will by working closely, principally with its membership and ICRC, and by facilitating support through its Cambodia country office and Bangkok regional office, continue to harness support for, and advocate on the behalf of, CRC. Given the increasing presence of Red Cross Red Crescent partners working on a bilateral basis to support key programme areas such as HIV/AIDS, primary health care and community-based disaster preparedness, the emphasis of Federation support will be focus on assisting CRC in the coordination of existing external support, fostering new partnerships and providing direct support for organisational development (including resource development). In 2003, the Federation will also seek to provide direct financial and technical support, through this appeal, for specific components of CRC programming in the four core areas of the International Federations overall strategy and globally through increased representation and advocacy.

The process of finalising the cooperation agreement strategy (CAS) in 2003 will be the basis for articulating an exit strategy for the Federation from Cambodia. However, given the high number of bilateral partners and the need to further assist in strengthening CRC management, indicators for an exit strategy are likely to be based on: the capacity of CRC to manage the multiple partnerships and the development of sustainable funding for CRC core costs and activities. Naturally the effectiveness of delivering country-based support from the regional delegation and the willingness of the PNS to recognise and contribute to the coordination functions of the Federation will also be critical factors in determining the full time presence of the delegation in Cambodia. Assuming that by end 2004, considerable progress has been made in these areas, the Federation would be in a position to consider ending its permanent country presence and instead providing greater support through the partners and the South East Asia regional delegation.

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