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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$76.7 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$79.0 million


Australia has a strong diplomatic relationship with Cambodia, underpinned by our longstanding support for peace and development in the country. A more prosperous Cambodia is not only in Australia’s economic interests, but also integral to ensuring trans-boundary issues, such as drug- trafficking and pandemics, are managed effectively.

Australia is helping Cambodia continue its progress towards being a prosperous, stable and democratic nation in South East Asia. Australian support for agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, health and governance, gender equality and strengthened human capital all make a direct contribution to Cambodia’s future prosperity.

Australia is contributing to projects to upgrade and maintain Cambodia’s transport and energy infrastructure with a focus on underserved rural areas. Australia is also helping to rebuild infrastructure damaged during 2013 floods.

Improving the productivity of agriculture is vital to reducing poverty and driving economic growth in Cambodia. Australia is improving agricultural productivity and food security by rehabilitating irrigation systems and partnering with a wide range of agribusinesses in the fertiliser, pesticide, seed, milling and media markets to improve advice provided to farmers.

Weir-like structure 

holding back water An irrigation barrier, Campong Chhnang, Cambodia (credit: DFAT).

Australia is supporting effective governance, crime prevention and community safety by providing assistance to Cambodia’s National Police at the commune level to work more productively with communities to prevent and address crime. We are improving access to the law through the provision of legal aid across the country and supporting Transparency International to implement anti-corruption programmes. Australia is also supporting international justice for war crimes as a major contributor to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

Australia is investing in health by contributing to a programme that will support 2.4 million of the poorest Cambodians to access essential health care in 2014-15 and is working with the Royal Government of Cambodia and other partners to improve the quality of care they receive.

One man showing another man 

health-related pictures from a bookAn explanation of HIVAIDS and how it is transmitted being given by then volunteer Aaron Watson (credit: DFAT).

Rates of violence against women in Cambodia are amongst the highest in the region, which act as a significant brake on productivity as well as having a large negative impact on family and community harmony. In 2014-15, Australia will contribute to activities to respond to, and prevent, violence against women in Cambodia.

Woman writes with chalk on a 

board Mak Moa Nang is a teacher at Krola Primary School. She has been teaching for six years (credit: CARE Australia).

Investments in education are essential for promoting economic growth in Cambodia. The country needs skills to keep pace with an increasingly integrated and competitive ASEAN community. Australia will provide up to 55 Australia Awards Scholarships to outstanding Cambodians for post-graduate study in Australia, with a particular focus on trade, agriculture, infrastructure and health.

Australia is working to improve the quality of life for people with disability, including through strengthened coordination of the implementation of disability laws and policies and improved services for people with disability, including rehabilitation services.

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • Maternal mortality rate reduced from 472 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2005, to 206 deaths in 2010.
  • Births attended by trained health staff increased from 44 per cent in 2005 to 71 per cent in 2010.
  • Under-five mortality rate decreased from 83 deaths per 1000 live births in 2005 to 54 deaths in 2010.
  • The proportion of women giving birth in health facilities increased from 22 per cent in 2005 to 54 per cent in 2010.

Commitments 2012-13

  • Australia will help Cambodia to ensure 75 per cent of all births are attended by trained health staff, 90 per cent of pregnant women receive ante- natal care and 85 per cent of the population has access to health financing and health insurance.
  • Cambodia has achieved its 2012 MDG targets for maternal health and child mortality.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • In 2011, 98 Cambodian students commenced studying for a short or long-term award in Australia.

Commitments 2012-13

  • In 2012, at least 48 Cambodian students commenced studying a long term Australia Awards scholarship in Australia. Of these, 20 places are allocated to government officials.

Economic development

Results to 30 June 2012

  • Since 2010 Australia has rehabilitated 13 irrigation schemes and contributed to building 2 canals. Total irrigated areas have increased by 25,000 hectares with over 80 kilometres of irrigation.
  • More than 30 agribusiness partnerships have been initiated to improve access to fertiliser, equipment etc. and improve quality and timeliness of information to farmers. Access to processing and final markets has improved.

Commitments 2012-13

  • Continued implementation of the Cambodia Agricultural value Chain Program, including agricultural research, training for farmers, irrigation improvements and support for the Cambodian Government’s Strategy for Agriculture and Water.
  • Food security will be strengthened through improved data on the agriculture sector in Cambodia to better inform agricultural policies and programs.
  • Training in HIV and human trafficking will be provided to communities and the private sector on Southern Coastal Corridor road link.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • An alternative approach to custodial sentencing was established to address prison overcrowding.
  • A national Crime Database was rolled out across the country.
  • Improved community safety achieved in targeted districts with specific focus on vulnerable groups Including women and children.
  • Contributed to the completion of the first trial of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia.

Commitments 2012-13

  • Support to the courts, prisons, provincial authorities and NGOs to improve criminal justice with a focus on the needs of juveniles and women.
  • Harmonise with other donors to develop planning, monitoring and evaluation systems for the legal and judicial reform strategy.
  • Support to the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • In 2011, 5,000 square metres of community and leasehold land was cleared from the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordinances, benefiting more than 40,000 people.
  • Australian support for mine clearance in Cambodia helped the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority to clear 13.8 square kilometres of land and to find and destroy 4,593 anti-personnel mines, 28 anti-tank mines and 1,999 other unexploded ordnance.
  • In 2012, there was a 12.3% decrease in victims of land mine incidents across the country.

Commitments 2012-13

  • Continued support to Cambodian Mine Action Authority programs for the removal of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
  • Conduct a study of the usage of land cleared in 2012.

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That's why Australia is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

Cambodia Development Research Institute

Australia has funded the Cambodia Development Research Unit’s ‘Water Resources Management Research Capacity Development Programme’. The programme has three main objectives: to conduct research and generate high quality data and knowledge on water resources management; to improve water research and management capacity; and to make available and distribute reliable high quality knowledge and information about water resource management. It covers 10 irrigation schemes in three provinces of Kompong.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research / The Cambodia Australia Value Chain Program (CAVAC)

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research funds a number of research projects through The Cambodia Australia Value Chain Program.

Economic Research on trade facilitation in the Mekong

A boy standing in front of the Friendship Bridge, which spans the Mekong River

Australia is supporting infrastructure initiatives to improve economic growth and poverty reduction in the Mekong.

Photo: Jim Holmes/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australian funding to infrastructure projects in Cambodia are part of a greater Mekong connectivity initiative to improve local people’s access to markets through infrastructure and trade reform.

In 2010, Australia commissioned the Centre for International Economics [external website] to produce a report on the economic benefits of increased trade and transport facilitation in the Greater Mekong Subregion to reinforce the economic case for Australia’s investments in these areas.

The report presents evidence to suggest that economic integration is playing an important role in the dynamic performance of the subregion, but that there is scope to expand this role by further reducing the costs of cross-border trade and transport. In most countries there is considerable room for improvement in trade and transport facilitation, and feasible changes could yield significant increases in national incomes.

The evidence suggests that complementing infrastructure investments with procedural reforms to reduce costs and delays of cross-border trade could bring about sizeable economic benefits.

CSIRO Mekong Futures

The Exploring Mekong Region Futures project [external website] aims to improve the sustainability of the Mekong Region by investigating the complex relationships between the production, distribution, and use of energy, food and water of the region.

The project focuses on the dynamic interactions that occur between the management of food, energy and water at local and regional scales.

Changes in countries in the Mekong region are shaped by factors such as cross-border investment flows, climate change, rapid land use change and urbanisation, and increasing regionalism.

Understanding this connectivity of the Mekong region requires both local and regional studies.

Challenge Program on Water and Food Mekong Basin Challenge, and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

The Australian Mekong Water Resources Program is funding research by the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) [external website] to improve decision-making processes on hydropower development. The research program commenced in 2011 and will start demonstrating results by 2013.

Through the CPWF and its partner the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience, Australia has also funded the development and application of a hydropower sustainability assessment protocol in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Where is Cambodia?

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heading foldWhy we give aid


Cambodia has made considerable progress in raising living standards but it remains one of the poorest countries in East Asia. About 25 per cent of the population live in poverty and income inequality is widening between urban and rural areas, where 90 per cent of poor people live. Cambodia's progress towards meeting its 2015 Millennium Development Goals is mixed. Promoting sustainable development in Cambodia is in Australia’s interest. A more stable, prosperous Cambodia will contribute to regional economic growth and assist in fighting transnational crime.

Find out more about why we give aid to Cambodia


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia’s development assistance targets some of the Cambodia’s most pressing development needs in health, rural development, infrastructure and law and justice. Australia has a strong focus on ensuring access and equity, including for people with a disability. We balance long-term strengthening of government systems with greater support for more immediate and practical service delivery; ensuring Australian aid reaches communities in need. The Australia-Cambodia Joint Aid Program Strategy 2010-2015 guides Australia’s approach to delivering development assistance.

Find out more about how we give aid to Cambodia

Read the Cambodia Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014