Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has requested that UNICEF and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) continue to support the policies and strategic plans regarding decentralisation and deconcentration reforms in Cambodia to promote local development.

The call came as Sar Kheng met separately with Will Parks, UNICEF representative to Cambodia, and Sanui Kazumasa, chief representative at the JICA Cambodia Office, on May 24 for discussions, according to the ministry’s social media post.

While meeting Parks, Kheng thanked UNICEF for supporting Cambodia with its assistance and other programmes, especially decentralisation and deconcentration reforms promoting the role of women and protecting children.

“I believe that UNICEF will continue to support the work related to the government’s policies, and its decentralisation and deconcentration reforms,” Sar Kheng said.

In their meeting, Parks briefed the interior minister on UNICEF’s four-year action plans for 2024-2028.

Parks said the frameworks of the four-year action plans include initiatives for promoting the participation of youth in planning local development, while there is a focus on supporting certain target provinces to implement in particular the provision of social services to women and children, he added.

Parks said he appreciated the government’s efforts in carrying out the reforms and accepted requests to continue supporting the promotion of the role of women and protecting children at the sub-national level.

While meeting with Kazumasa, Sar Kheng was informed that JICA's second working mission would accomplish new achievements in its successful cooperation with Cambodia.

Sar Kheng thanked JICA for supporting decentralisation and deconcentration reforms, and for projects such as developing the capacity of officials.

He said he hopes that JICA will continue to support decentralisation and deconcentration reforms and initiatives on road safety in line with the plans outlined and goals set.

Kazumasa said JICA had provided support in industrial development, raising people's standards of living and in governance.

“We have sent policy advisers to continue to support the interior ministry in its decentralisation and deconcentration reforms,” he said.

Sar Kheng said at both meetings that the government has prioritised decentralisation and deconcentration reforms, which are important developments in Cambodia's administrative history.