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Sisyphus in Kambodscha: Der permanente Kampf gegen soziale Schieflagen


  • Oskar Weggel


In the wake of the economic achievements of 2005 and of early 2006 the mood in Phnom Penh became so optimistic that on August 15 a brand new National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP; for the years 2006-2010) was announced. It emerged as a document of national pride. Is all this great planning, however, in touch with the facts of a Least Developed Country? Going down to the social basics of 2006 it becomes indeed clear that Cambodia continues to be a minefield full of social constraints: One out of three Cambodians live on less than 2,000 CR (= 0,5 US$) a day. The Cam-bodian national economy is founded on family-based and subsistent agriculture. Around 20% of children are not going to primary school. One baby out of ten dies before reaching its first birthday. Only around 30%-35% of births are attended by skilled health personnel.Cambodia is the country in the region to be worst affected by HIV/AIDS - with an increasing in the transmission from husband to wife and from mother to child. Only 1/3 of the population in the countryside has access to safe drinking water; beyond that the reduction of forest cover between 1985 and 2002 amounted to almost two million hectares. All these challenges gave rise to the adoption of the nine objectives of Cambodian Millennium Development Goals (CMDG) in 2003, which aim at ensuring that by 2015 there will be less poverty and inequality, more sanitation and better founding of the health sector, reduced prevalence of HIV/AIDS, enhanced conservation of environment, further integration of Cambodia into the world economy and more decontamination of landmines and UXOs. Many achievements have been identified at a 2005 working session of the UNDP (re-duction of urban poverty-, mortality-, gender disparity-, or of communicable diseases-rates), but at the same time many shortcomings have been registered: high rural poverty, gender disparity in higher education, enormous levels of domestic violence, continuation of forest depletion and persistence of high civilian casualties from landmines. There is no doubt that Cambodia has clear-cut ideas about its future. But does it also have the means and the energy to implement all its visions within just a few years?

Suggested Citation

  • Oskar Weggel, 2006. "Sisyphus in Kambodscha: Der permanente Kampf gegen soziale Schieflagen," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 25(6), pages 57-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:25:y:2006:i:6:p:57-86

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