Purpose of Project
Strengthening Democracy and Electoral Processes aims to support Cambodia in conducting free, fair, transparent and sustainable elections. It is a between-the-ballots initiative that promotes a culture of democracy by providing long-term support to institutions and the media. It also assists with civic education initiatives that involve the Cambodian people as a whole, especially the younger generation.
- Develop the capacity and leadership of the National Election Committee (NEC), Provincial Election Commissions and Commune Election Commissions through training and advice. Encourage civic engagement through support for voter education campaigns, public forums on current issues and partnerships with civil society, to promote participation by marginalized groups including women, people with disabilities and indigenous minorities.
- Provide civic education targeting youth through the development of a strategic multi-media communications initiative and other forums to engage young Cambodians.
- Improve the electoral framework, including the complaints and appeals processes, through support for legal reform and engagement with the NEC and the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
- Support MoI’s issue of National Identity Cards, which can be used by voters as identification in elections.
- Support and provide technical advice to MoI on the possibility of creating a Cambodian civil registry.
- Improve the voter register and the voter registration process by facilitating dialogue between NEC and MoI.
- Support amalgamation or an interface between MoI’s National ID Card database and the NEC voter database.
- Support merger of the MoI’s three ID card databases.
- Strengthen the democratic multi-party system by training party representatives on policy development and the workings of a representative, accountable and pluralistic system.
- Conduct high-level multi-party dialogues involving the NEC to create neutral space for debate of electoral issues.
- Support political parties in strengthening their internal party governance and their women’s and youth wings.
Support ongoing civil society initiatives around access to information in the areas of advocacy for legislation and capacity development of government officials and civil
Through civil society organizations, implement a range of initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of disabled voters, especially women, in political and electoral processes. Support creation of a national database of employable
disabled people for the NEC.
- Conduct an in-depth assessment of support by development partners to Cambodian civil society and its impact. Recommendations will feed into the next five-year UNDP country plan. Conduct an assessment of women’s participation in political processes in Cambodia. Recommendations will feed into the next five-year UNDP country plan.
- Support training in investigative journalism, journalistic independence, balanced reporting on sensitive issues, editorial processes and effective production techniques.
- Produce a weekly current affairs programme under the UNDP-Ministry of Information Equity Weekly initiative.
- The NEC has been supported through two elections: Commune Councils in 2007 and National Assembly in 2008. NEC officers at national, province and commune level, plus more than 20,000 community leaders, have been trained in their roles and responsibilities and the need for neutrality.
- Support was provided in 2008 for NEC voter education materials including posters, video stories and video spots about non-violence, educational videos for voters and polling station staff, banners highlighting the date of the poll, and 6,969,103 Voter Information Notices.
- Young people, women were trained in democratic rights and responsibilities through a pilot project in carried out in five provinces.
- US$6,113,476 was mobilized for the 2008 National Assembly poll, nearly 40 percent of the budget.
- A coordinator worked with the NEC to facilitate international observers of the 2008 poll.
- Talks on the NEC’s complaints and appeals processes did not proceed in 2009 when the NEC said its role was limited to implementing the law, and referred discussion of reforming the legal framework for elections to MoI. This is an indication of NEC’s limited institutional independence.
- IT equipment, including 30 mobile ID card kits, was provided to MoI to support the issue of ID cards.
- MoI was advised on the potential for an AFIS to make the National ID card programme safer, but the project did not proceed due to caution from donors.
- Plans to create an interface between the NEC’s voter register and MoI’s ID card database are proceeding at policy level, with high level discussion on the legal framework with MoI.
- Regular high-level meetings involving the major political parties and the NEC created space for discussion of issues including voter registration and enabled participants to express their opinions in a shared, neutral forum. These resulted in the formation of a multi party working group which meets regularly.
- Over 400 public forums were held at commune level, allowing local representatives and community leaders to learn about the roles and responsibilities of Commune Councillors and to discuss local concerns.
- In 2008 and 2009, current affairs programme Equity Weekly produced more than 100 shows on sensitive issues for broadcast on TVK and distribution to universities on DVD.
- Equity News, aired nightly during the 2007 and 2008 election campaigns, was widely seen as providing the most balanced election news coverage on TV.
UNDP has supported Cambodia’s electoral institutions and voters since 1993, when the first modern democratic election was held under the UN mission of the Transitional Authority in Cambodia. A further three direct elections have been held for the National Assembly (1999, 2003 and 2008), and two for Commune Councils (2002 and 2007). The first indirect elections for Province and District Councils were held in 2009. Successive polls have been marked by improvements in technical soundness and better understanding of political and electoral processes among officials and voters. There have also been encouraging declines in election-related violence, spoiled ballots, and complaints against officials.
- UNDP Thematic Area : Closed
January 2006-December 2008 (Phase I)
January 2009-December 2010 (Extended Phase)
UNDP:US$3,431,966 Canada/CIDA:US$2,540,996 Australia/AusAID:US$2,271,505 Sweden/SIDA:US$759,287 Ireland/Irish Aid:US$269,541 Oxfam America:US$140,788 UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF):US$155,000 UNDP/Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund:US$105,000
2006:US$796,723 2007:US$2,959,150 2008:US$2,585,259 2009:US$880,146
Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, National Election Committee, Cambodian political parties, Cambodian and international civil society organizations
Millennium Development Goal
UNDP Country Programme
Outcome 1: Legislature and civil society are able to improve checks and balances of the executive branch.
Output 1.1: Capacities of electoral stakeholders strengthened in democratic electoral processes.
UNDP Thematic Area
ContactUNDP Focal Point
Ms Leakhena SIENG, Programme Analyst
UNDP, No. 53, Street 51, Phnom Penh
Tel: + 855 (0) 23 216 167
Mr Sousdey IM, Chairperson
National Election Committee
Tel: + 855 (0) 12 800 444
Mr Gunawath KEM, Director of TVK
Tel: + 855 (0) 12 554 535
Mr Kimlek OK, Secretary of State,
Ministry of Interior - Police
Tel: + 855 (0) 12 772 277
Mr Setha SAK, Secretary of State
Ministry of Interior - Civilian
Tel: + 855 (0) 11 942 222
Updated: October 2010
Photograph: UNDP/Isabelle LESSER
A reporter from Equity Weekly current affairs programme interviews a citizen on the issue of dredging sand for export.