UNCDF has been present in Cambodia since the early 1990s beginning with the goal of implementing a strategic framework for fiscal decentralization and local development.
Since this time, UNCDF’s mission has evolved towards formulating financial inclusion and local development finance programmes at the sub-national level.
Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
In expanding financial inclusion, UNCDF is presently implementing the Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) programme to accelerate financial inclusion and women’s economic participation in the ASEAN region. UNCDF SHIFT advocates for pro-poor policies on the national and regional level; utilizes big data analysis of Cambodia’s top banks to understand customer service needs and gaps; and invests in innovative business models that expand women’s economic participation and empowerment.
Under the SHIFT framework, UNCDF through its Making Access Possible (MAP) diagnostic and programmatic framework supports the development and implementation of the country’s financial inclusion roadmap and expand financial access for rural individuals, and micro and small businesses.
Additionally, UNCDF’s establishment of YouthStart Global in Cambodia seeks to convene stakeholders within the youth economic opportunities ecosystem to provide for more holistic services to youth including capacity-building in opportune sectors, increased access to financial and non-financial services and access to information on integrated services available to youth.
The CleanStart programme supports clean energy policy development, and provides risk capital and technical assistance to competitively selected financial service providers and energy enterprises on a regional or national level in Cambodia. This initiative supports low-income consumers to transition to cleaner and more efficient energy through access to financial services and payment mechanisms and will help contribute to achieving development goals on poverty and hunger, education, gender, health, and environmental sustainability.
In advancing the country’s local development, UNCDF is implementing its Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL) programme, a global initiative designed to enable local governments to cope with the increased cost of building resilience against climate change and natural disasters.
In parallel with this initiative, UNCDF’s Local Governments and Climate Change (LGCC) seeks to further strengthen the role of local governments in fostering climate change resilience through sub-national planning and finance systems.
UNCDF also plays a vital role in the country’s healthcare through the Local Development Decentralized Health Services (LDDHS) initiative to support the transfer of primary public healthcare functions from central government to the district administrations. The programme works to maintain and modernize the Cambodia’s district health centers, improve physical access to key locations, and provide around-the-clock access to quality public health services through effective and flexible staffing.