© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod
Over the last decade, significant progress has been made in realising children’s rights to health, education, social protection and gender equality in Cambodia. As a result, some of Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals are on track. However, multiple challenges hinder the efforts to achieve these goals with equity.
The rapid inflation of food prices and the global economic downturn have eroded the purchasing power of households, resulted in loss of jobs and incomes and have negatively affected nutrition and overall child well-being. Migration and urbanisation pose challenges to equitable access to essential services. Natural disasters have intensified and have affected thousands of livelihoods, on the backdrop of a very limited capacity of the population to adapt to change.
The challenge in achieving Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals with equity is compounded by high levels of child poverty and deprivation in Cambodia. Over 1.7 million children under 18 are reported to be living in income poverty and 64 per cent of children experience two or more forms of deprivation from food, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter, education or information. These figures could be even higher in the aftermath of the 2008/2009 global economic crisis.
The widening gap between the rich and poor is increasing barriers to services for Cambodia’s poorest and bringing conditions for the lowest wealth group well below Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goal targets. Significant disparities and inequities exist between wealth groups and for those living in remote areas and in marginalised groups. These disparities and inequities are increasing.
UNICEF’s Policy, Advocacy and Communication programme responds to the challenge of addressing the high levels of child poverty, deprivation and persistent inequity in Cambodia, and improving the programming environment for children’s social protection. It helps to develop policies, plans, budgets and social protection programmes that are based on real evidence, and promote child well-being and address child poverty and disparities across the country. The programme does this by strengthening national data management systems that are relevant to children, improving analysis and reporting, and using and sharing findings through various communication channels and modalities.
UNICEF contributes to strengthening national systems of analysis and planning across sectors, leading to the creation of a comprehensive package of social protection measures for the poorest families and children in Cambodia.
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