CDIS | Cambodia's indicators

Recognition of culture’s role in development has been increasingly advocated for in recent years in Cambodia. The challenge is to ensure that the full range of culture’s benefits is considered and that culture is consistently mainstreamed as a defining and sustainable component in national development plans and policies. The new wealth of data on culture and development, which resulted from implementing the CDIS, has made it possible to empirically illustrate culture’s multidimensional contribution to development, beyond a restricted view of heritage’s economic potential through tourism. The CDIS indicators and their analysis have sparked a new understanding and are informing the country’s first framework Cultural Policy and proposals for the better integration of culture in national development plans. In addition, the participative implementation process unveiled gaps in national statistics and monitoring systems, pointing the way to strengthening them and further reinforcing the knowledge base to inform national policies.
Culture matters in Cambodia: CDIS indicators highlight Cambodia’s culture sector’s potential for economic development and wellbeing, while underlining certain obstacles in place that inhibit it from reaching its full potential.
The results suggest that culture is already a non-negligible contributor to the national formal economy and GDP (1.53% of total GDP) 1, even though currently available data greatly underestimates the sector’s contribution. Difficulties to reflect the informal economy may also be a major factor in the low percentage of recorded employment in cultural establishments 2 (0.54% of the total employed population). Regarding the links between education and the cultural economy, though professional training opportunities in select fields are not yet available, a fairly diverse offering of publicly-supported programmes related to culture at the TVET and tertiary levels 7 (0.7/1) is in place, reflecting Cambodian authorities’ interest and willingness to invest in cultural education at the professional level. However, other data illustrates significant gaps in arts education in key formative years 6 (0%) that may hinder individuals’ interest, skills and opportunities to pursue a professional career in the culture sector, undoubtedly contributing to low levels of formal employment. 
Analysis of the supply of domestic fiction productions on public TV 21 (23.7% of broadcasting time of fiction programmes), provides further insight into the potential for growth of the cultural economy as levels of creativity and production may currently be hindered by the abovementioned gaps in professional training in film and image, as well as a lack of regulations and policies to guide the sector. While many policies and measures are in place to facilitate heritage sustainability  (0.71/1) 22, enhancing normative, policy and institutional frameworks covering additional cultural domains 8 9 (0.43/1; 0.36/1), as well as increasing opportunities for civil society to take part in cultural governance 11 (0/1) and for individuals to access cultural infrastructures 10 (0.15/1), may assist in securing a solid foundation and environment for the entire culture sector to thrive and meet its full development potential. Increased support of infrastructures may also assist in expanding domestic consumption of cultural goods and services 3 (0.3% of total household consumption expenditures) and boost the market potential of the sector.
For culture to further contribute to wellbeing, increased focus may need to be placed on culture’s role in improving gender equality for development, as well as targeted actions to address social cohesion and individual freedoms. Indicators on the objective outputs and perceptions of gender equality 17 (0.62/1) suggest a need for increased advocacy and measures in key domains in order to remove obstacles to participate in political life and the guarantee of fundamental rights. Likewise, indicators on interpersonal trust 15 (7.7%), suggest that much work remains in the post-Khmer Rouge era in order to nurture revised cultural values, attitudes and norms that promote a positive social context, trust, tolerance and appreciation of cultural diversity. Furthermore, to realize culture’s potential for wellbeing as a medium of expression in a time change, additional support may be necessary to improve the enabling political, economic, legal, social and cultural context that ensures the freedom of expression 19 (37/100).


In 2011, cultural activities contributed to 1.53% of the Cambodian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 91.4% of this contribution is the result of central cultural activities, and 8.6% of equipment/supporting cultural activities.
While already significant, the contribution of cultural activities is underestimated as it only takes into consideration private and formal cultural activities. Cultural activities that take place in the informal economy and non-market establishments, as well as the indirect and induced impacts of the culture sector are not incorporated in the calculations but may be significant in Cambodia. As an example of the latter, culture’s contribution to other economic sectors with considerable turnover -such as tourism, accommodation and food service activities- is not included in the final result.
Moreover, implementation of the CDIS methodology revealed that ticket sales from major heritage sites such as the Angkor site were not reflected in the current national statistics. Improving national figures to include these revenues would more than double the final result. Thus, 1.53% represents only a small fragment of culture’s real contribution to GDP and should be understood as a first appraisal that requires further investment in national information systems for improvement.
Nevertheless, this indicator offers valuable new information on the profits generated by cultural activities at the national level. The central cultural activities that contributed the most to national GDP include the manufacture of jewelry and related articles (USD 4.8 million); the retail sale of books, newspapers and stationary (USD 3.2 million); television programming and broadcasting activities (USD 2.6 million); photographic activities (USD 2 million); and creative, arts and entertainment activities (USD 7 million). The largest contributors in the category of equipment/supporting activities include printing (USD 3,5 million); the retail sale of audio and video equipment (USD 6.7 million), and wired telecommunications activities (USD 11.3 million). 
Although textiles production is traditionally an important economic and cultural activity in Southeast Asia and Cambodia, it is not included in the core CDIS indicator. An additional indicator including the cultural activities related to the preparation, spinning, weaving and finishing of textiles increases the contribution of cultural activities to GDP to 1.68%. The textiles sub-sector had a profit of USD 2.6 million in 2011. 
The approximate national budget that has been allocated to culture in recent years has been less than 1% (0.51% in 2009). Thus, though an underestimation, these results already reveal a vibrant cultural sector where investment is met with significant returns.


In 2011, 0.54% of the employed population in Cambodia had occupations in cultural establishments (41,543 people: 58.3% male and 41.7% female). 59.6% of these individuals held occupations in central cultural activities, while 40.4% held occupations in equipment/supporting related activities. 
While already significant, the global contribution of the culture sector to employment is underestimated in this indicator due to the difficulty of obtaining and correlating all the relevant data. This figure does not cover cultural occupations performed in non-cultural establishments or induced occupations with a strong link to culture, such as employees of hospitality services located in or close to heritage sites. In addition, it does not account for informal employment, which in Cambodia accounts for a significant share of the labor market. According to the ILO (2012), the percentage of informal employment in Cambodia was estimated at 83% for the year 2008. Although the size of the informal economy has slowly declined in recent years, its contribution to the economy remains considerable. 
Nevertheless, this indicator already exposes a great deal of new data on cultural employment in Cambodia, which can be utilized to better understand culture’s role as an employer in light of national development priorities. The central cultural activities that contributed the most to cultural employment include the creative, arts and entertainment activities (9,714 people); photographic activities (2,275 people); and manufacture of jewelry and related articles (3,555 people). Wireless telecommunications activities (10,145 people) contributed greatly to employment in the category of equipment/supporting activities. The results of these sub-sectors highlight the potential of culture as an ‘employer’ at the national level, in line with the national objective of job creation stated in the Rectangular Strategy (2008) as well as the priority set by the Ministry of Commerce in regards to making Cambodia the leading gem and jewelry market supplier in Southeast Asia. For example, 23.4% of the people formally employed in cultural activities work in creative, arts and entertainment activities and 8.6% work in the manufacture of jewelry and related articles. 
Again, textiles production is not included in the core CDIS indicator. An additional indicator including employment in the preparation, spinning, weaving and finishing of textiles doubles the final result and indicates that 1.02% of the Cambodian population were formally employed in cultural establishments in 2011. 36,542 people were employed in textiles production, 82% of which were women (30,004 women and 6,538 men).
However, while already significant, Cambodia’s results indicate that formal cultural employment remains rather low compared to the average result for all test phase countries of the CDIS, which is more than double the final results for Cambodia. This suggests that there is great potential to increase formal cultural employment in the country. Improving the limited opportunities in arts education may be one barrier to overcome to increase the level of skilled, formal cultural employment in Cambodia.


In Cambodia, 0.3% of household consumption expenditures were devoted to cultural activities, goods and services in the year 2010. 77.8% of household consumption was spent on central cultural goods and services, and 22.2% on equipment/supporting goods and services. 
This result suggests a relatively low level of demand for cultural goods and services. The average for all test phase countries of the CDIS is situated at 2.43%. Cross-analyzing Cambodia’s result with the indicators of the Education and Governance dimensions suggests that low demand may in part be due to low levels of appreciation for the arts and culture, fostered through arts education; and/or limited access to cultural infrastructures. Additionally, generalized low-income levels may play a significant role in consumption patterns. Further disaggregation of data by socio-economic factors should be explored to better analyze these relationships.
While valuable information, this indicator underestimates the household consumption of cultural goods and services due to methodological constraints and gaps in data available at the national level. It does not account for the value of cultural goods and services acquired by households and provided by non-profit institutions at prices that are not economically significant (e.g. in-kind transfers). Similarly, spending on cultural products that are not directly financed by households, such as design services and advertisements, are not taken into consideration. Furthermore, the current national survey data poses significant limitations due to scarce observations for certain categories of goods and services, decreasing reliability. Despite these methodological challenges, the result obtained offers a preliminary assessment of how households value foreign and domestic cultural goods and services through market transactions, which requires further investment in national statistics for improvement.
>> While the Economy indicators suggest that culture is a vibrant sector where investment is already resulting in a non-negligible contribution to the Cambodian economy, they also indicate that obstacles to realizing culture’s employment and consumption potential remain. In light of both the 2009-2013 National Strategic Development Plan and the 2008 Rectangular Strategy’s prioritization of diversifying the Cambodian economy, the contribution of the culture sector and its great potential for growth is central to the country’s development objectives.


4 INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: 0.44/1 (2006)
The 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia asserts "The State shall provide free primary and secondary education to all citizens in public schools. Citizens shall receive education for at least 9 years" (Article 68). Within this context, the result of 0.44/1 reflects the considerable challenges remaining before reaching this objective and the necessary efforts of Cambodian authorities to guarantee this fundamental cultural right and pursue measures to assure that it is secured in a complete, fair and inclusive manner. This result shows that on average, the target population aged 17-22 has only 6 years of schooling, and 27% of the population continues to live in education deprivation, having fewer than 4 years of schooling. Not only is 6 years significantly less than the targeted average of 10 years of schooling, this 27% reveals a heavy burden of persistent inequality in the enjoyment of this fundamental cultural right. Furthermore, significant regional disparities persist. In Cambodia’s most disadvantaged provinces, Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, fewer than one in three residents aged 17-22 have more than four years of education. Moreover, women in these provinces face even greater disparity, having only 1.8 years of schooling on average compared with 3.2 years for men. Reduced access to secondary school in these provinces may in part be due to limited linguistic opportunities. These provinces have large indigenous populations and bilingual education continues to be limited to select primary schools.

The Ministry of Planning’s 2010 Report on Achieving Cambodia Millennium Development Goals (CMDG) indicates that although improvements have been made regarding access to primary education, enrollment continues to decrease in secondary education, especially for girls for whom the drop-out rate is already high before the lower secondary years. The CMDGs aim to ensure that by 2015 all children -and in particular girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities- have access to and complete quality free and compulsory primary education.


 The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia recognizes the Khmer language as the official language and script, and Article 69 establishes that “the State shall Protect and promote the Khmer language as required.” Though primary importance is attributed to preserving Khmer language and culture, Cambodia’s Rectangular Strategy (2008), specifies that “’Education for All’ includes no discrimination based on language, and Article 67 of the Constitution declares that “the State shall adopt an educational program according to the principle of modern pedagogy including technology and foreign languages.” 
Appropriately, foreign languages are recognized as required core subjects in school curricula. According to the national 2005-2009 Policy for Curriculum Development (still in use in 2012-2013), 40% of the hours to be dedicated to languages in the first two years of secondary school (grades 7-8) is to be dedicated to the teaching of international languages (predominantly, English and French). The remaining 60% of the time is to be dedicated to the teaching of the official national language- Khmer. No time is required for the teaching of local or regional languages despite the 22 languages found in the country (Ethnologue, 2009).
However, it should be mentioned that indigenous language opportunities in primary school have increased in recent years. Select bilingual education programmes have resulted in the “Guidelines on implementation of bilingual education programs for indigenous children in highland provinces,” approved by the Minister of Education in August 2010. These guidelines outline a set of activities designed to expand bilingual education opportunities, based on a model developed and piloted by CARE International and gradually adopted in provinces with a significant indigenous population. The primary aim of these programmes is not the promotion of diversity but to assist in the integration of indigenous populations in the Khmer education system; instructional hours dedicated to the indigenous language are gradually reduced to 0 hours in favour of teaching in Khmer.


6 ARTS EDUCATION: 0% (2004)
According to the 2005-2009 Policy for Curriculum Development, arts education is not compulsory and 0% of instructional hours are required to be dedicated to the subject in the first two years of secondary school (grades 7-8). Not regarded as a core subject, arts education is included under Science and Social Studies in grades 1-3, under Social Studies in grades 4-6, offered under the optional Local Life Skills Programme (LLSP) in grades 7-10, and becomes an elective in grades 11-12. This indicator suggests a low level of public priority given to arts and culture subjects. In contrast, the national curriculum still states its aim to encourage the appreciation of arts, as well as the “value and importance of science, technology, innovation and creativity” (MoEYS, 2004). Prior to the 2004 curriculum reform, two hours of arts education were required per week (6% of instructional hours) in the first two years of secondary school. In the 2004 Needs Assessment for Arts Education, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport elaborated on the difficulties encountered in implementing arts education, citing the shortage of teachers, textbooks and instructional materials as the main constraints.
Furthermore, a gap in the offerings of arts education over the course of the educational lifetime emerges when looking at the following indicator on tertiary and training programmes that are offered in Cambodia. Though some cultural programmes are offered at the higher education level, this gap in arts education during secondary schooling may obstruct developing students’ interest in professional careers in the culture sector.


Cambodia’s result of 0.70/1 indicates that although complete coverage of cultural fields in technical and tertiary education does not exist in the country, the national authorities have manifested an interest and willingness to invest in the training of cultural professionals. Indeed, the coverage of national public and government-dependent private technical and tertiary education is rather comprehensive in Cambodia, offering various types of courses to pursue a career in the culture sector. 
The Royal University of Fine Arts offers programmes in the fields of heritage, music and performing arts, and visual and applied arts. Likewise, the Royal University of Phnom Penh offers opportunities in the fields of heritage, as well as film and image courses related to media and communications. However, no specific programmes in film-making, cinema or photography exist in the country, and no programmes are offered in cultural management. Likewise, despite the high level of importance attributed to heritage in Cambodia, no technical training exists in the field of heritage. At present, heritage vocational training is centered on tourism and hospitality, but not on the technical aspects of heritage such as preservation, archiving, and cataloguing. It should also be noted that in the fields of music, performing arts, film and image, technical training is provided by NGOs such as Cambodian Living Arts and the Cambodian Film Commission. These efforts serve as examples for public authorities to ensure ongoing provision of such opportunities in appropriate public institutions. 
The 2008 Rectangular Strategy recognizes the lack of technicians and skilled workers in the country, and the overview of training opportunities provided by this indicator assists in identifying gaps in the current offerings that if filled could help build the skilled workforce of the culture sector and the emergence of a dynamic cultural class.


Cambodia’s result of 0.43/1 indicates that several gaps remain in the country’s standard-setting framework for culture. To strengthen Cambodia’s framework, additional key international legal instruments can be ratified and further national measures can be taken to protect and promote cultural development, cultural rights and cultural diversity. 
Cambodia’s score of 0.57/1 at the international level highlights key areas for improvement while indicating that the country is already party to several major international instruments affecting culture, including the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Cambodia is still working towards the integration of select universal declarations and recommendations for the protection of cultural assets into national laws. Key instruments that have not been explicitly integrated include the Stockholm Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development and the UNESCO Recommendations concerning the Status of the Artist and the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace. Additionally, while Cambodia is party to select international and regional instruments on copyright and intellectual property rights, there are key absences such as Cambodia’s non-ratification of the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty or the 1986 WIPO Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Nevertheless, Cambodia is party to the 1952 Universal Copyright Convention and to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as well as specific bilateral and regional instruments concerning intellectual property rights. The latter are not taken into consideration in the construction of this indicator. These include the 1996 Agreement on Trade Relations and Intellectual Property Rights Protection with the United States of America, the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property with Thailand, and the 1999 ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation. 
At the national level, a score of 0.37/1 indicates that additional efforts by Cambodian authorities are necessary to enact national legislation to assist in implementing international obligations. Select international principles have already been included in national instruments, such as the incorporation of cultural diversity in the 2010 Royal Decree for the establishment of a national Living Human Treasures System in Cambodia, and the inclusion of the rights of indigenous people in the 2009 Policy for the Development of Indigenous People. However, there are no provisions or measures taken at the national level to require respect for linguistic diversity, the promotion of arts education, or to secure an environment that is favourable to the development of the cultural industries. Additional gaps in the normative framework include the lack of recognition of cultural rights relative to scientific progress and creative activities, and the absence of regulations dealing with cultural patronage, public subsidies, tax exemptions and incentives designed to specifically benefit the culture sector. Furthermore, national sectoral laws are limited to heritage, leaving other culture sub-sectors unregulated. According to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, a draft law for the performing arts has been stalled for several years. Finally, regarding intellectual property challenges, although limited national legislation is in place, increased awareness may be necessary to improve artists’ limited knowledge of their intellectual property rights under the 2003 Law on Copyright and Related Rights.


The result of 0.36/1 illustrates a low degree of development of a policy and institutional framework for culture, and that additional efforts by national authorities are needed to establish targeted policies and mechanisms to promote culture and to establish an adequate political and administrative system to implement the legal instruments seen above. Indeed, Cambodia’s result is significantly below the average result of test phase countries of the CDIS for this indicator, which is 0.79/1. 
Cambodia scored 0.27/1 for the Policy Framework sub-indicator, drawing attention to several gaps, most notably the lack of a national policy or strategic framework to promote culture, cultural sectors, creativity and cultural diversity, as well as the absence of culture in national development plans and strategies. Although culture has been indirectly included in development strategies such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers of 2002-2005 and 2006, the main reference is to tourism and not culture in its own right. Other key gaps in the policy framework include the absence of sectoral policies, which currently only exist for heritage and have been developed in recent years in connection with tourism. There are no sectoral policies, strategies or frameworks for books and publishing, music, cinema, radio and television, or other cultural sectors. However, the first national Cultural Policy is currently being elaborated and thus this indicator is likely to change considerably in the near future.
Cambodia scored 0.42/1 for the Institutional Framework sub-indicator, which assesses the operationalization of institutional mechanisms and the degree of cultural decentralization. Many crucial institutional bodies are already in place, including the Ministry of Culture, the Culture Committee in Parliament, and decentralized authorities at the provincial level. Yet, significant areas for improvement remain, particularly in regards to funding mechanisms.  Currently, there are no public funding or subsidy mechanisms, or publically funded organizations for the promotion of specific cultural sectors. This coincides with the absence of a regular and stable programme budget for culture. The National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) indicated that for 2009, only 0.51% of the national budget was allocated to culture and that this was projected to decrease to 0.47% in 2013. In addition, no regulatory authorities for audio-visual media exist and in the last 12 months there have been no training programs for public authorities or administrators working in culture.


The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia recognizes the right to participate in cultural life. However, the distribution of cultural infrastructure in Cambodia indicates limited opportunities for the population to enjoy and participate in culture. Although not specific to culture, the 2008 Rectangular Strategy for Cambodia prioritizes the further development of infrastructure.
On a scale from 0 to 1, Cambodia’s result for this indicator is 0.15, 1 representing the situation in which selected cultural infrastructures are available and equally distributed amongst regions according to the relative size of their population. The score of 0.15 thus reflects that very limited cultural infrastructures are available nation-wide and significant inequality in distribution persists.
When looking at the figures for the three different categories of infrastructures, the results are 0.18/1 for Museums, 0.13/1 for Exhibition Venues Dedicated to the Performing Arts and 0.13/1 for Libraries and Media Resource Centers. According to available national statistics, only the provinces of Battambang, Siem Riep and the Phnom Penh municipality have access to a variety of infrastructures. Alternatively, no cultural infrastructures of any kind can be found in Kampot, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Pursat, Ratanakiri or Stung Treng provinces. Likewise, in eight provinces there are no Museums, no public Libraries were registered outside urban centres, and only five provinces have Exhibition Venues for Performing Arts– Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Riep, Takeo and Phnom Penh. These gaps indicate that a comprehensive system of public cultural infrastructures has yet to be developed. Improving equality of access to cultural infrastructures could increase opportunities to take part in cultural and creative activities, as well as promote the development of the creative industries by providing infrastructure for the production and consumption of cultural goods and services. NGO initiatives to provide mobile cultural infrastructures are one way that the obstacle is currently being addressed, but such projects remain punctual non-governmental actions. Though Cambodia’s results are below average, which is situated at 0.43/1, this is a crucial and common challenge among all countries that have implemented the CDIS.


The 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation" (Article 35). In contrast, the final result of 0/1 for this indicator highlights the absence of opportunities for cultural professionals and minorities to take part in the formulation and implementation of cultural policies, measures and programmes that concern them. 
While the draft national Cultural Policy proposes the creation of an Arts Forum for the participation and representation of cultural professionals, no formal mechanisms or structures for the participation of minorities in cultural governance are currently in place or being developed. Meetings, workshops or seminars organized by NGOs or civil society organizations seldom include dialogue with public authorities, and recognized indigenous issues are primarily limited to the recognition of indigenous collective identities and land possession. In the recent past, the Indigenous Rights Active Members (IRAM)’s Forum provided indigenous minorities a milieu for dialogue, and in 2008-2009, monthly forums for dialogue at the provincial level were guaranteed by NGOs. However, IRAM has not yet formalized its association status with national authorities.
The culture sector benefits from broadly based participatory processes to formulate and implement useful and effective policies and measures that meet the needs of the individuals and communities for whom they are intended. The absence of mechanisms for the participation of cultural professionals and minorities is a significant weakness in Cambodia’s cultural governance and an obstacle for fostering a vibrant culture sector.


15 INTERPERSONAL TRUST: 7.7% (2008) 
In 2008, 7.7% of Cambodians agreed that most people can be trusted. This result indicates a low level of trust and solidarity as the average for countries having implemented the CDIS is situated at 19.2% of the population. In contrast, the National Strategic Development Plan (2009-2013) recognizes the importance for Cambodia to enhance national identity and solidarity, and to strengthen peace and reconciliation in the country. Analyzing the data further reveals variations between men and women, as well as across age groups. Only 5.2% of women say most people can be trusted, while nearly twice as many men agree (10.2%). The results for different age groups vary from 3.6% of the people aged 17-34 to 11.6% of people 65+, suggesting an increasing trend with age. Such low figures indicate that obstacles continue to hinder trust, solidarity and reconciliation in the country. In the Cambodian context, the years of the Khmer Rouge regime and warfare certainly have had an impact, tearing apart communities and relationships. The purges and ‘re-education’ of the era, as well as the separation of villages, people and families resulted in feelings of insecurity and interpersonal trust became difficult. The end of the regime was followed by years of poverty, instability and guerrilla warfare. These factors may explain residual cultural values, attitudes and norms that thwart an ideal social context.
In the same survey, 32.8% of Cambodians agreed that they can ‘trust in other people you interact with’. This additional indicator nuances the analysis of solidarity within Cambodia and suggests a higher degree of trust than the core indicator, assessing trust of others that are interacted with apart from those closest to the individual (i.e. other than relatives or neighbours).
While the NSDP has recognized the importance of such issues, progress is not stated as a clear objective and no indicators for monitoring change have been adopted. Furthermore, given the great disparity between the core and additional indicator, it is highly recommended to clearly establish social objectives in national development plans and integrate social questions into regular national surveys to investigate and monitor the topic of trust more thoroughly.


The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states that “all forms of discrimination against women shall be abolished. The exploitation of women in employment shall be prohibited. Men and women are equal in all fields especially with respect to marriage and family matters…” (Article 45). In addition, the Constitution guarantees the respect for citizens’ fundamental rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.
The result of 0.62/1 reflects a medium degree of objective gender equality and the efforts made by the Cambodian government in order to elaborate and implement laws, policies and measures intended to support the ability of women and men to enjoy equal opportunities and rights. Such a result is consistent with the average result for test phase countries of the CDIS, which is situated at 0.64/1.
A detailed analysis of the four areas covered by the indicator, reveals significant gaps where additional investments are needed to improve gender equality basic outputs. Little divergence is recorded for the average number of years of education for men and women aged 25 years and above, or for labour force participation rates of men and women. Yet, progress can still be made regarding political participation and gender equity legislation. Women represent only 20.3% of parliamentarians since the 2008 elections. Nevertheless, this percentage still indicates that the situation has improved greatly since the 1993 elections when only 5.8% of elected representatives were women. Still, 20.3% remains a low result compared to the target of 30% set by the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals (CMDGs) for the year 2015. Currently, no quota system exists to favour women’s political participation. Regarding other gender equity legislation, several legal instruments are already in place to protect against domestic violence and sexual harassment: the reformed Criminal Code; the 2005 Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of Victims, the National Action Plan to Combat Violence Against Women, the 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation and the amended Marriage and Family Law. However, though these laws and measures show that Cambodia is moving in the right direction to create a legislative framework, the implementation of laws on domestic violence is obstructed by inconsistent enforcement and cultural norms that continue to hamper women’s rights. Policies require people, and a further look into the additional subjective indicators below reveals the persistence of negative cultural values, attitudes and practices in Cambodia, which reinforce the subordinate role of women and hamper their full and equal participation in all spheres of life.


94% of married women feel that they have a say in how their own cash earnings are spent, either individually or jointly with their husbands, suggesting that employment is a source of empowerment for Cambodian women. Similarly, 93% of married women felt that they have a role in household decision-making regarding major household purchases, daily necessities and visits to her family. 
In contrast with the positive figures, serious negative culturally based perceptions on gender equality and the role of women in the society persist in other key areas like violence against women. Indeed, only 66% of the population believe that a husband is never justified in beating his wife; the other 34% of the population agrees that beating one’s wife can be justified for the following reasons: she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, refuses to have sexual intercourse with him, or asks him to use a condom. Variation exists across age groups, ranging from 62.1% of the population between the ages of 40-44 to 69.1% of the population aged 20-24 agreeing that domestic violence is never justified.  An astoundingly low figure of 54.3% of women agree that being beaten can never be justified, while 77.6 % of men agree with this statement. This indicates that domestic violence is not only accepted by over one-third of the population, but it is more widely accepted amongst women, nearly half of which believe it is justifiable. 
>> This cross-analysis of the subjective and objective indicators reveals that both select gaps in objective outputs remain in Cambodia, as well as inconsistencies between the implementation of forward-looking gender equity legislation and the population’s attitudes and values in this area. Advocacy efforts are needed to target attitudes and women’s perceptions of themselves, as well as the persisting cultural norms that may hinder the equal assurance of basic fundamental rights. The Ministry of Planning’s report on Achieving Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals (2010) also concluded that challenges remain to address attitudes and behaviors underlying gender-based violence and the stigmatization of victims.


19 FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: 37/100 (2012)
The 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia asserts “Khmer citizens shall have freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly” (Article 41). 
Cambodia’s score of 37/100 indicates that their print, broadcast, and internet-based media is currently ‘not free,’ falling just below the benchmark of ‘partly free’ media. This score illustrates the efforts made to support an enabling environment in Cambodia for free media to operate and in which freedom of expression is respected and promoted. Such an environment is a condition for fostering the free flow of ideas, knowledge, information and content, for building knowledge societies, and enhancing creativity, innovation and cultural diversity.
Room for improvement remains in the economic, political and legal environments of Cambodia. Media ownership is a key economic factor that has been highlighted as an obstacle. In 2011, the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) of the Royal University of Phnom Penh reported that media ownership has a large impact on the freedom and quality of the press, as the majority of media organizations are partly or entirely owned by the state. This restrictive ownership structure induces censorship and self-censorship, hindering freedom of speech and the flow of information. Similarly, political control and influence on content also remain a concern. Finally, insufficient enforcement of legislation also obstructs the full enjoyment of these freedoms. Although the Constitution and the 1995 Press Law guarantee the freedom of expression, there have been several reports of journalists and political activists being threatened or physically attacked for their critical expressions on sensitive issues. While the basis for a strong legal environment is in place, enhanced efforts are necessary for its implementation.


In 2011, 3.1% of Cambodians used the Internet. While this result is significantly lower than neighboring countries (Laos 9%, Thailand 23.7%, Vietnam 35.1%), Internet use has been and continues to rapidly develop in the country. Cambodia's Internet users have more than doubled in recent years: only 0.5% of the population used the Internet in 2008. 
Increased Internet access may be a means to increase media freedom and the freedom of expression. However, such rapid change is sparking new discussions and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) reported that several bloggers and technology experts fear that Internet freedoms might be curbed by the government’s draft Cyber Law in the near future.

In the National Strategic Development Plan (2009-2013), the Royal Government recognizes Internet access as a facilitator of economic growth, and accordingly promotes the use of ICTs, including the Internet, to facilitate business and promote small and medium enterprises. Given the authorities’ acknowledgment of the role the Internet plays in boosting the economy and encouraging new forms of access, creation, production, and the dissemination of ideas, information and cultural content, Cambodia’s currently low result may reflect the immediate need to increase investments in the development of infrastructures, policies and measures to facilitate the use of new technologies. The country may also need to address issues such as pricing, bandwidth, skills, public facilities, content and applications targeting low-end users in order to bring more people online.


In Cambodia, approximately 23.7% of the broadcasting time of television fiction programmes on public free-to-air television is dedicated to domestic fiction programmes.
Programming domestic production, and particularly fictions with a high share of cultural content, may increase the population’s level of information on national events and issues, while also helping to build or strengthen identities and promoting cultural diversity. Moreover, public broadcasting has major implications for the development of the domestic audio-visual industry, as well as for the flourishing of local cultural expressions and creative products. During the reference week for this indicator, domestic fiction productions included one Khmer film, one theater production adapted to television, and educational serials produced by NGOs such as Women Media Center. No co-produced fiction programmes were aired. Foreign content accounted for three-fourths of all broadcasting time for fiction programmes and are dominated by Chinese serials and films. Korean and Japanese fiction programmes also have a presence, as well as foreign produced children’s serials. 
An additional indicator on the diversity of creative content in public television programming, including both fiction programmes, as well as music programmes on public free-to-air television, reveals that when including Khmer musical productions made for television, the ratio of domestic creative content increases to 31%. 
Cambodia’s result is consistent with the average result for test phase countries of the CDIS, which is situated at 25.8%. Nevertheless, while these figures suggest diverse content offerings, the minority of domestic fiction programmes and lack of co-productions may reflect production capacities of the domestic television industry not reaching their full potential, or low levels of public support for local cultural industries and the dissemination of domestic content (including co-productions). Cross-analysis with Economy, Education and Governance dimension indicators shed more light on the issue. The lack of a regulatory framework for the TV sector, the limited opportunities to study film and image, and the marginal levels of formal employment in the sector (0.2% employed in ‘motion picture, video and television programme production, postproduction, distribution, and projection activities’), suggest a need for added public support through regulatory policies, financial schemes, and other incentives to stimulate local television industries.


Cambodia’s result of 0.71/1 is reflective of the high level of priority given to the protection, safeguarding and promotion of heritage sustainability by Cambodian authorities. While many public efforts are dedicated to registrations and inscriptions, conservation and management, capacity-building, and raising-awareness; select persisting gaps in community involvement and stimulating support amongst the civil society and private sector call for additional actions to improve this multidimensional framework.
Cambodia scored 0.77/1 for registration and inscriptions, indicating that authorities’ efforts have resulted in many up-to-date national and international registrations and inscriptions of Cambodian sites and elements of tangible and intangible heritage. Cambodia has 3490 heritage sites on their national registry, as well as a national inventory of 146 elements of intangible heritage. Government efforts have successfully resulted in 2 heritage sites receiving recognition of being World Heritage – Angkor (1992) and the Temple of Preah Vihear (2008), as well as 2 elements of intangible heritage being included on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity ¬– the Royal Ballet (2008) and the Khmer Shadow Theatre (2008). However, while a national registry is in place comprising over 33,104 items of cultural property and movable heritage, no database of stolen cultural objects yet exists despite the country’s ratification of the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995) and the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970).
Cambodia scored 0.86/1 for the protection, safeguarding and management of heritage, indicating that there are several well-defined policies and measures, as well as efforts to build capacity, but certain key gaps persist regarding community involvement. Several recent policies and measures have been taken in the last 5 years to assure current registries are in place, structure archaeological excavations, prevent illicit trafficking, and provide updated management plans for registered heritage sites. Though cross-analysis with the Education dimension draws attention to a lack of regular technical and vocational training opportunities in the area of heritage, the results of this indicator highlight the comprehensive coverage of multiple programmes carried out to increase heritage site management staff’s expertise, communities’ knowledge of intangible heritage, and to increase expertise concerning illicit trafficking. However, gaps in the framework can still be identified. To date, no explicit reference to cultural heritage’s role for development is made in national development plans, though the inclusion of heritage in future plans is currently being drafted for proposal. Furthermore, while authorities recognize that local communities are to be included in registry and inventorying processes for tangible and intangible heritage, in the last 2 years, no measures or practices have been adopted to actively involve communities in heritage protection, the fight against illicit trafficking, or to respect customary practices governing access to specific aspects of intangible cultural.
Cambodia scored 0.45/1 for the transmission and mobilization of support, which reflects that while many efforts have been made to raise awareness of heritage’s value, much more has yet to be done to gain the support of the civil society and private sector. In addition to signage at heritage sites and differential pricing, visitor centres at major sites, community centres and national public education programmes are used as mediums to spread the message about heritage’s significance. However, heritage has not been included in school programmes in the last 2 years in order to more specifically target a youth audience. Finally, no specific measures have been implemented to involve civil society and/or the private sector in heritage protection, conservation, or transmission. Encouraging the formation of private foundations to assist in the protection of heritage and explicit agreements with tour operators are two means to be explored further.
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