The Civil Society Alliance Forum (CSAF) organised a meeting on Monday to address challenges related to the agricultural, health and education sectors, and strengthen communication with civil society organisations (CSOs).
More than 100 representatives from the government, community, China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD) and CSOs attended the event at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh.
Som Aun, National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia (NACC) president and CSAF vice-president, said the government during the meeting formally requested help from the CFPD as a development partner to help tackle challenges in the agricultural, education and health sectors.
CFPD director Zhang Yaowu said that despite having different political perspectives, NGOs and CSOs are allies of the government, although they can hold differing political viewpoints.
The CSAF was formed in 2016 to improve cooperation between the government and CSOs in order to reduce poverty, increase the people’s living standards, and strengthen the rule of law, democracy and freedom of expression.
CSAF president and secretary of state for the Council of Ministers Kim Roth Viseth said among the goals, the discussions also served to address challenges and further strengthen communications between CSOs and government institutions to help resolve challenges within the community.
“Today’s meeting with partners was to find out what sort of challenges and what can be done to overcome them. The government wants a closer relationship between CSOs and the government.
“We have encouraged local authorities to cooperate with them and we’ve noticed that NGOs are able to operate freely, without any interference or pressure,” Viseth said.
Sa Meth, director of an NGO that works to educate the public on health issues in Kampot province, told The Post that he had asked the CPD to help resolve ongoing health issues which are causing concerns but did not go into further detail.
Aun told The Post that the CSAF accepted suggestions from NGOs and would discuss them internally to help find solutions.