A commune-by-commune breakdown of Cambodia’s progress on its Millennium Development Goals was presented at a workshop yesterday, where the government’s commune database was touted as a tool to help Cambodia make up for lost time in reaching those goals.
Sophie Baranes, deputy country director for the UN Development Program in Cambodia, said in her speech that the database could be used to monitor the country’s progress on the nine MDGs at a sub-national level.
“The commune database has the potential to become a form of [MDG] scorecard,” she said, adding that the database should be used by the government and its development partners to plan how to catch up in areas where the country is lagging behind.
“It is now a collective responsibility to make up lost ground, and to put Cambodia firmly on track towards a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable country,” Ms Baranes said.
According to the UN’s MDG monitoring website, Cambodia has achieved only one of eight goals set out in 2000: combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. A ninth goal, specific to Cambodia, was to entirely eliminate deaths from unexploded ordnance by 2015. Cambodia saw 13 UXO deaths in 2008, according to preliminary results gleaned from the database and presented at yesterday’s workshop.
Meanwhile, the goals of improving maternal health and eradicating extreme poverty and hunger are the farthest from attainment.
Although Cambodia has made significant progress in reducing the maternal mortality rate from 837 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to an estimated 413 in 2008, it is still far from the global goals of 140.
The worldwide poverty target was to decrease the proportion of people living below the poverty line from 39 percent in 1993 to 19.5 percent in 2015. According to the statistics presented yesterday, 27.4 percent of Cambodians still live on less than $0.63 per day.
The database has been under development since 1998 and is based on data collected each year by village chiefs and commune clerks, Minister of Planning Chhay Than said yesterday.
(Additional reporting by Bethany Lindsay)