Australia has pledged A$7.9 million ($5 million) to support 26 Australian NGOs in collaboration with Cambodian counterparts, aiming to initiate 49 community projects across all provinces.

Australian deputy ambassador Andreas Zurbrugg announced the commitment during the “Australia-Cambodia NGO Consultation 2023”, which saw participation from over 70 local and international civil society organisations.

“As part of civil society, they significantly complement the government’s role, particularly in remote and vulnerable communities,” Zurbrugg said, expressing his country’s appreciation for the NGOs operating within the Kingdom, citing their vast expertise, extensive local networks and their longstanding contributions to the nation’s growth.

“These discussions are a precursor to the many more we intend to have in the upcoming months. Our goal is to craft a new development partnership plan that will guide the trajectory of our future collaborative efforts with Cambodia. As part of this endeavour, we will be liaising closely with representatives from the Cambodian government, academia, the business sector, civil society and other key stakeholders,” he said.

In an October 3 press release, the embassy shed light on the history of the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). For almost half a century, the ANCP has extended annual grants to qualified Australian NGOs and their Cambodian partners. These grants have facilitated the execution of cost-efficient projects that have brought about palpable positive changes within communities.

Moreover, beyond ANCP grants, these Australian NGO partners actively raise additional funds from the public, gathering public endorsements and voluntary donations for their initiatives.

In the previous month, Australia unveiled a refreshed international development policy, encompassing over 30 commitments aimed at fostering a more efficient, adaptable, transparent and accountable operation. An important element of this policy is a renewed approach to country-specific strategic planning, realised through new partnership endeavours.

“The development partnership plan presents an invaluable opportunity. It allows us to reassess, actively engage with our associates and recalibrate our strategy. Our mission is to address the most pressing challenges Cambodia currently faces and enhance the efficiency of our development cooperation programme,” the press release stated.