Support to SNDD Cambodia

SDC supports the third phase National Program for Sub-National Democratic Development (NP-SNDD) with a specific focus on the Implementation of Social Accountability Framework (ISAF) through a World Bank Trust Fund. The objective is to improve the performance of public service providers (primary schools, health centers and communes) with improved transparency, strengthened citizen engagement and government’s responsive actions

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Public sector policy
Democratic participation and civil society
01.06.2019 - 30.06.2025
CHF  4’200’000

Cambodia’s decentralization reform was introduced in 2000. It led to the establishment of elected commune/sangkat councils, bodies of sub-national administration. In 2010, the government adopted the 10-year National Program for Sub-National Democratic Development (NP-SNDD) that defined districts/municipalities as the administrative layer between communes/sangkats and provinces.

The ISAF was later adopted in 2015 as a citizen feedback mechanism between citizens, service providers and authorities to enhance the quality and availability of social services. It became an important element of the decentralization agenda and was embedded into the NP-SNDD as a good governance component of the second (2015-2017) and third (2018-2020) 3-year implementation plan (IP3) of the reform. ISAF will continue as a part of the new NP-SNDD to be formulated in 2019 and 2020.  

In previous phases, SDC supported SNDD in general through a government basket fund. But in reaction to the forceful dissolution by the government of the CNRP, a major opposition party, SDC decided to change modalities and refocus its support. SDC’s funds will now be channeled to a World Bank Trust Fund financing the ISAF citizen feedback dialogue mechanism. This way, SDC stays engaged in the decentralization reform while reduces its support to government authorities to a minimum

Objectives The objective of SNDD is - through ISAF- to improve the performance of public service providers (primary schools, health centers and communes) with improved transparency, strengthened citizen engagement and responsive action
Target groups
  • All local citizens (men, women) nationwide
  • Sub-national governments (commune/sangkat and district/ municipality administrations, service providers)
  • Line ministries/institutions mandated to implement the national reform program Implementation Plan 3-III, in particular: NCDD-S, Min. of Interior, Min. of Education Youth and Sports and Min. of Health
Medium-term outcomes

Four expected results of ISAF are:

  • Performance of public service providers (primary schools, health centers and communes) is improved. (quality of services)
  • Responsiveness of public service providers is improved. (response to citizens feedback)
  • Citizens’ participation in monitoring public service providers and engaging in actions for improvement is enhanced.
  • Citizens’ voice in engaging with local public service providers is enhanced.

NB: the possible expansion of the ISAF to additional sectors (garbage management, agriculture for instance) is planned, as well as the upscaling to district services, if resources permit.


Expected results:  

  • Transparency and access to information: Citizens are better informed about service delivery standards, budgets and performance.
  • Citizen monitoring: Sub-national Administration SNA officials and service providers are better informed about the priorities and views of citizens regarding local governance and public services
  • Implementation of Joint Accountability Action Plans (JAAPs): Agreed priority actions to improve the quality of public services are implemented.
  • Training and capacity development: Capacity of citizens, of SNA officials, of the services providers and of the Community Accountability Facilitators CAFs in local service delivery processes is enhanced
  • Program management, monitoring and evaluation: A culture and mechanisms for on-going monitoring and application of lessons learned is created

Results from previous phases:  

The decentralisation efforts showed progress in building trust between local authorities and citizens, opening the democratic space at local level, and re-building state-citizen connectivity after decades of violent conflicts.

More precisely, SDC’s support (Phase 1 and 2) contributed to the following achievements: (a) the district/municipality (DM) councillors gained a good understanding of their roles; (b) the DM councils are better involved in the activities of line ministries in their geographical areas, they exercise their decision making power and contribute to a more responsive service delivery; (c) 28 functions involving 8 line ministries were identified to be transferred to the DM administrations, (d) DM development funds are operational.

The Strategic Plan on ISAF (2016-2018) was successfully implemented in 98 districts (out of a total of 159), 786 communes (out of 1410) and social accountability has enhanced. Local public services are of better quality and are managed more transparently, citizens are more aware of the services they are entitled to and are ready to voice their feedback; the relations and trust between citizens (demand side) and public officials and service providers (supply side) are strengthened.

A review of the 10-year NP-SNDD done in 2016 confirms good progress in the SNDD reform. In particular, it includes well-focused, well-managed, better-owned and understood reform programs. In addition, the coordination amongst the three crosscutting reforms (financial management, administrative reform, and decentralisation and de-concentration) have improved

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International Financial Institution (IFI)
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • World Bank - International Finance Corporation

Other partners
The World Bank 
Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Regional Economic Development
  • NGOs and CSO projects locally supporting the reform or in specific sectors (i.e. education, environment, health, etc.)
  • Sharing with and participating to LOGIN and DDLGN events
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’200’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’850’582
Project phases Phase 3 01.06.2019 - 30.06.2025   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.05.2015 - 31.12.2018   (Completed) Phase 1 01.08.2013 - 30.04.2015   (Completed)