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2021 Civil Society Organisation Sustainability Index  


November 2022

The overall sustainability of the CSO sector in Cambodia did not change notably in 2021. Though legal environment, financial viability, advocacy, and sectoral infrastructure all registered slight deteriorations in 2021, organizational capacity recorded a slight improvement, while service provision and public image remained
unchanged. Deteriorations in the space were primarily spurred by ongoing government restrictions and harassment, both in response to COVID-19 and more broadly, and decreasing available funds. At the same time, however, CSOs improved their adaptability and were able to better retain staff in 2021. While the public rewarded
their work in the midst of the health crisis with greater trust and understanding, media coverage of CSO contributions remained limited.

Most CSOs focused on service delivery in 2021. A small number of organizations continued to work on human rights, democracy, and the environment, and donors continued to support CSOs working in the health, education, social protection, gender, human rights, democracy, environment, and knowledge sectors. Information on sub-national CSOs remains limited, but restrictions on movement during lockdowns resulted in reports of suspended activities.

April 2019 figures remain the latest estimates of NGO registration. At that time, the Phnom Penh governor reported that there were approximately 5,523 local NGOs registered with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and 419 international NGOs with signed memorandums of understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFA). In addition to associations and NGOs, there are thousands of community-based organizations (CBOs), communities, and networks, which are largely unregistered and informal.

Developed by 

United States Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

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