The Australian government signed an agreement on May 10 with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to contribute an additional AU$4 million ($3.15 million) to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on Cambodia’s economy and people, starting immediately.
This contribution will top up the Australia-UNDP ‘Resilience Fund’ – a flexible mechanism that has already been providing targeted support to Cambodia’s socio-economic response and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang said in a joint press release on May 10 that Covid-19 poses urgent challenges for Cambodia’s economy and the livelihoods of its people.
He said as a long-term partner and friend, the Australian government wanted to do whatever is possible to soften these impacts, particularly for the most vulnerable people in Cambodian society.
“Working with the UNDP, we are also boosting funding to support the work needed now to position Cambodia to make a rapid and inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic,” Kang said.
According to the press release, the additional AU$4 million will fund further work to strengthen social assistance, support local businesses to adapt to pandemic-related difficulties, and other priorities identified through consultation with the Cambodian government and civil society.
UNDP Resident Representative to Cambodia Nick Beresford said in the press release that Australia has been a stand-out leader in fast and effective development assistance – and that they have done this through smart adaptive programming.
“Together we’ve managed to react quickly to this crisis, providing support to the rapid scale-up of social assistance to those who need it most, and protecting trade and livelihoods too,” he said.
To date, the Resilience Fund has played an important role in rolling out Cambodia’s emergency cash transfer programme, which has so far delivered US$290 million into the pockets of the poorest 693,000 Cambodian households during the pandemic, said the press release.
“For example, Australia and the UNDP have supported this critical Royal Government of Cambodia programme by procuring 1,700 computer tablets to identify hundreds of thousands of families impacted by Covid-19 who have become eligible for support.
“The Fund also worked with the Ministry of Economy and Finance on modelling and analysis of impacts of Covid-19 to inform stimulus packages to support the most vulnerable,” it said.
The Australian government is a long-term development partner for Cambodia, having contributed AU$71.5 million for 2020-21 support through the Covid-19 development response plan for Cambodia.