The Ministry of Interior has published an updated directory listing the names of Cambodia’s cities, provinces, districts, communes and villages.

The directory is more than 300-pages in length and provides details on Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh with its 14 districsts and 241 communes, as well as the nation’s 24 provinces, 27 towns, 162 districts, 1,405 communes and 14,405 villages.

The directory lists the names of each village administrative subdivision on the basis of legal documents relating to the formal establishment, separation, cancellation or revision of each sub-national boundary enacted by law.

“Territorial administrations continuously change in line with the actual situation in each locality and according to the requirements for socio-economic development and the growth of the nation,” the directory states.

Interior minister Sar Kheng says in the directory’s foreword that an amendment to the 1993 Constitution permitted the reorganisation of territorial administrations with specific structures that differ between cities, towns and rural areas.

He also explains that after the 2002 commune council elections and the capital, provincial municipal, and district council elections in 2009, the sub-national administrative management systems have been reorganised step-by-step according to the principles of decentralised and deconcentralised management systems.

According to Sar Kheng, this step-by-step reorganisation was made with the growth and development of the nation as its foremost concern and decisions were made based on geographic and demographic data along with planning related to potential socio-economic development in order to meet the actual needs of local people.

“This directory reflects the progress of our territorial administration and is an important formal document for civil servants, investors, students, development partners and other stakeholders. They will use it for the sake of learning, research and socio-economic analysis and it will greatly contribute to our understanding of Cambodia,” he says.

Democratic Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said that up-to-date information was very important to have across all sectors and vital to the government’s ability to effectively run public administrations.

He said that while the publication of the directory would be of great help in those matters, he would like to see a clearly laid-out plan for future updates to the directory according to a regular schedule.

Chanroeun said he also wanted to see less focus on creating new communes and more on improving public services.

“In Cambodia, there is a lot of bureaucracy, but not enough managers who provide real services to the people. If we just keep creating new [territorial subdivisions] while the provision of services for most of them remains inadequate or outdated, it wastes the national budget and does nothing to improve people’s lives,” he said.