Cambodia became a member of the ILO in 1969. Since the early 1990s, the ILO has been an active partner in Cambodia’s economic, social and democratic recovery, playing an important role in helping to restore livelihoods, generate sustainable employment, rebuild infrastructure and set-up and strengthen democratic institutions.
Although the rate of poverty continues to decline in Cambodia, rural poverty remains obstinately high at 40 per cent. Eighty-five per cent of the population is in the informal economy, mostly in agriculture, forestry, and fishing and in small and micro-enterprises. The formal sectors of garments and tourism are the main engines of growth, with garment manufacturing accounting for 85 per cent of Cambodia’s exports and employing some 350,000 workers, mostly women. Better Factories Cambodia, which works with the garment industry, is a unique programme managed by the ILO and supported by the government, trade unions and the industry employers’ association.
The ILO’s Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) provides the basis for the ILO’s contribution to the Government’s Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency and the National Strategic Development Framework. The DWCP addresses a wide range of issues, including skills and human resources development, youth and women’s employment, the informal economy, SMEs, social protection, industrial relations and social dialogue, and labour market governance.
The current DWCP (2011-2015) focuses on three priority areas which also reflect the ILO’s commitment to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). These areas are:
- Improving industrial relations and rights at work;
- Promoting an enabling environment for decent employment growth, with a focus on young people;
- Improving and expanding social protection.