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Role of Civil Society in Promoting Good Governance

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Autor:   •  January 7, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  2,386 Words (10 Pages)  •  263 Views

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Techo Sen School Of Government and International Relations


Course: International Development and Policy  

Professor: Chheat Sreang

Midterm Essay:

Role of Civil Society Organization in Development of Cambodia  

Name           : Tep Phearong

Session: Weekend

ID         : 80-45-53

Date of submission: September, 2016

The Role of Civil Society in Development of Cambodia  


  1. Introduction

1. Background

Cambodia as well as other Indo-China countries has suffered many tragic events since they gained independent such as civil war and changes in political regimes. After the general election established by UN in 1993, when there was a comprehensive alteration from a centrally planned economy to a free market economy and developed quickly and Cambodia became a member of ASEAN in 1999 and WTO in 2003, the living condition of the people of Cambodia have improved due to the good environment of market economy and development assistance aids form Cambodian development partners. The development of Cambodia cannot occur with the effort of its government alone, but it really the need the participation of many relevant actors.  Among those Actors, civil society organizations (CSOs) have played significant role in providing some basic services and also some social improvement for the better living of people, especially in reduce the gap between the rich and the poor which can make all people can enjoy benefit of development. Moreover, According to World Banks (WorldBank, 1996) cited that CSOs support development from the grassroots level, empower individuals and communities, advocate for inclusive and fair policies, protect the rights of the marginalized and work toward societal solidarity. That why, the government of Cambodia and its donors give much value on the participation of civil society, and have recognized it as a main actor by providing good environment and good cooperation to ensure its activities become more vital. However, civil society’s activities still face with some challenge that in some case make the civil society cannot achieve their goal with effectiveness and efficiency.

2. Objectives of research

The main aim of this paper is to examine the overview of civil society in Cambodia in order find out the situation and legal framework of civil society in Cambodia. Moreover, this research paper will significantly focus on how civil society contribute to the development of Cambodia.     In addition, it also try find out the challenges that civil society face in performing their role in Cambodia.

3. Research Questions

In nowadays context, Cambodia government give much value on the policy of democratic development which allow many actors participate in contribute for the sake of development of Cambodia. Among those actors, civil society is the one who share responsible. Therefore, what is the situation of civil society in Cambodia nowadays? And what are the roles of civil society in contribution for development of Cambodia? And what is the challenges that civil society faces in performing their role?

4. Research methodology

        This research is to find out the situation of civil society organization in Cambodia, its role in development, and also its challenges in performing their role. This research focus on the civil society organizations that operate in Cambodia after signing Paris Peace accord, 1991. Research design which is a blue print of this research is very important. In this research, the researcher use qualitative method by collecting data from books, articles, and some website. Both descriptive and qualitative analysis are used in the study.

  1. Finding
  1. Overview of Civil Society in Cambodia

Before looking at the overview of civil society in Cambodia, it is very vital to identify the concept and definition of civil society. Civil society includes the family and the private sphere, referred to as the third sector of society, distinct from government and business (Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition, 2016). Moreover, according to civil society international website stated that civil society is used in the sense of 1) the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or 2) individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government (Civil society international, 2016). In addition, according to cooperation committee for Cambodia states that civil society organizations are those that have emerged beyond the spheres of the state, the private; family networks, and the market; profit-driven entities, and which have some type of formal structure and coherent non-profit agenda, with any financial surpluses typically ploughed back into the organization to further their objectives (Flurscheim, 2012). To be considered CSOs, such organizations must also be able to practice independent self-governance. The term CSO is generally considered to be an umbrella term that includes the subset of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Civil society organization in Cambodia have increase significantly after signing the Paris Peace Accords.  Its activities continued to grow in Cambodia through the access to donor funds, including those administered by national government agencies and foundations. According to Sophal Chea mentioned in his article that prior to the Paris Peace Accord, civil society organization did not performance important role in development contribution in Cambodia (Viriya, 2012).         By 1991, the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) was founded to serve as the contact point for the international NGOs looking for information to establish their offices in Cambodia. According to Cooperation Committee for Cambodia showed that by 2005, Cambodia had only 1,500 NGOs active in Cambodia, but until now, 2016, there are more than 4000 NGOs operate in Cambodia (Flurscheim, 2012).

For the legal framework for civil society in Cambodia is a main thing that civil need to obey in order to operate in Cambodia. For local NGOs, it need to register at Ministry of Interior, and for International NGOs, they must register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and may also have cooperation agreements with relevant line ministries, such as Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Health and so on. Moreover, International NGOs are also required to submit quarterly activity and financial reports to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). The CDC also grants permission for duty-free purchase or importation of vehicles and equipment or materials used for NGO-supported projects (Bottomley, 2014 ).


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