Launching of the Mid-Term Review of the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023

Remarks by Ms. Alissar Chaker, UNDP Resident Representative

December 21, 2022

Ms. Alissar Chaker (in white blazer)

©Ministry of Planning

H.E. TUON Thavrak, Secretary of State, Ministry of Planning

H.E. THENG Pagnathun, Delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Director General of Planning, Ministry of Planning

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, a very good morning to you all.

I am delighted to partake in the Launch of the Mid-Term Review of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2019-2023. The NSDP 2019-2023 lays out the implementation plan for the Royal Government’s Fourth Rectangular Strategy, setting performance indicators, timeframes, and budget estimates to enable realistic and achievable decision-making and prepare Cambodia for graduating from the Least-Developed Countries (LDC) category, and more broadly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The mid-term review serves the following objectives:

  • The year 2021 is the mid-point for the NSDP 2019-2023, so the mid-term review is instrumental in assessing progress on implementation and challenges encountered, and in providing strategic recommendations for the way forward.
  • COVID-19 outbreak has complicated many development plans under the NSDP 2019-2023 and delayed progress on many fronts. The mid-term review allows planners and decision-makers to reflect on what worked well and what did not work and to identify corrective and accelerating measures that should be put in place.
  • General Election is due in mid-2023; the outcomes of the mid-term review will be useful for the deliberations of the next Government for the design of its new policy agenda for the next five years.

The mid-term review, supported by UNDP, benefited from consultations with ministries, inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms, as well as with the UN System in Cambodia, development partners, civil society, and private sector representatives.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Many achievements were highlighted in the review, for instance, an increase of nearly 10% in access to safe drinking water from 75 to 84 percent. Nevertheless, the mid-term review also recommends more attention on continued strengthening of the social sector, especially education and health sectors, which are essential for sustainable development. For example, learning outcomes are below expectations with a high dropout rate in secondary schools. These development challenges have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and later by cost-of-living hikes associated with the indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine. These findings are echoed in the UNDP 2022 Human Development Report which noted that the country has lost nearly three years of human development and has regressed to the 2018 level, a regression not seen since the civil war.

Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen

More work is needed to lay the foundations for achieving Cambodia’s development ambitions and the SDGs. The pandemic spurred the need and opportunity to double down on investment in people, empower them to take charge of their own lives and livelihoods, and rethink the concept and measurements of progress.

UNDP stands ready to support the Royal Government in seizing the opportunities and putting the Kingdom on a development path that is green, inclusive, and resilient to sustain current and upcoming complex uncertainties.

In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to convey my appreciation to the Royal Government of Cambodia, and particularly the Ministry of Planning, for its key coordination role and leadership during the elaboration of NSDP 2019-2023 mid-term review.

I wish you a fruitful event and a prosperous 2023.

Thank you.