Key Achievements of the CEDAW SEAP Phase II Programme in Cambodia
System-wide commitment and capacity for implementation, monitoring and reporting on CEDAW/COBS
The main contribution of the project in Cambodia was the establishment of a government-wide approach to the implementation, monitoring and reporting on CEDAW/COBs at the national and subnational levels. Through the project’s support to CNCW, concerned agencies of government understood CEDAW and the government’s obligations to implement it. Capacities for reporting were built up to the level of presenting the State report to the Committee. A system of reporting and monitoring across government has been facilitated by consultations, trainings, and a tool for CEDAW monitoring and reporting, all of which were enabled by the CEDAW SEAP II project.
The same capacity was built within CSOs through the support of the project to the NGO-CEDAW, a CSO/NGO network that has been submitting reports to the Committee since 1997and from whose analysis, the Committee is informed about issues to be considered in the issuance of the Concluding Observations. As shown above, this network had already submitted five (5) reports to the Committee since Cambodia’s ratification of the CEDAW in 1992. This network was assisted by the project to broaden and sustain its advocacy and monitoring outreach, add more CSO/NGO members, and gain greater technical competence as a leader in CEDAW advocacy.
Through the project ‘Strengthening Capacity of Young Women’s Leadership Network’ of UN Women with Open Institute (OI), young women leaders were enabled to work and coalesce with marginalized young women and girls living with HIV and LBTs to develop common set of advocacy messages and agenda and build their capacity for joint advocacy to address their collective concerns. As a result, the three groups formed a network to share their knowledge and build the capacity of its members. Their partnership agreement and work plan were signed by ten (10) network members and NGO partners and their voice was increasingly heard by decision makers from ministries, parliament, local communes and other duty bearers through dialogues, publications and IEC materials such as position papers, posters, leaflets and stickers that articulate their recommendations. Their collective concerns were incorporated into the: (a) draft National HIV/AIDS Strategy; (b) National Policy on Women, the Girl Child, and HIV/AIDS/STIs; (c) commune meeting agenda; and (d) commune investment plans of their areas.
UN Women and Ministry of Civil Service is currently partnering to develop a policy and strategy for equal representation of women in the civil service.
The scheduled retirement of 5,000 women decision makers in 2016-2017, which threatens to bring down the current proportion of female decision makers in civil service from 20% to 15%, motivated government to fast track the process of equal representation of women in this sector. Dialogues and consultations have taken place with over 200 women civil servants on sub-national level. The policy and strategy are currently being drafted.
With these achievements, there is strong indication that the implementation, monitoring and reporting on CEDAW/COBs will continue beyond the lifetime of the project.
COB: Lack of public trust in the justice system and negative attitudes by judicial officers and law enforcers toward victims of violence against women
Restoring trust in the justice system and reduction of negative attitudes by judicial officers to women, including those who are victims of violence, was one of the priority areas which CEDAW SEAP II tried to address. The project enabled UN Women-Cambodia to forge partnerships with key institutions for the purpose of mainstreaming CEDAW into the curricula and trainings of judicial actors such as lawyers, judges, prosecutors and court clerks.
Initiatives along this line resulted in the incorporation of CEDAW into the training for lawyers, judges, prosecutors and court clerks in the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions and the Cambodian Bar Association/Legal Training Center. A course on Gender Sensitive Legal Practice was also developed and piloted, and a briefing on the elimination of sex stereotyping in judicial instructions was done.
(Please refer to Key Achievements per Outcome, Outcome 2 below for the details of achievements along this line.)
COB: Poor working conditions of women in garment industry, domestic workers and migrant workers.
The adoption of a first-ever national policy on monthly minimum wage for garment workers is one of the significant contributions of CEDAW SEAP in Cambodia. This was attained under the leadership of a woman labour union activist who, after attending a training on CEDAW that was conducted by NGO CEDAW, served as a policy negotiator with high officials of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT), International Labour Organization (ILO), garment manufacturing associations and labour unions. This minimum wage was increased by $28 effective January 2015.
COB: Underrepresentation of women at all levels of political and public life and in diplomatic and foreign service
In 2012, the result of the commune election saw a significant increase in the percentage of women who were elected as commune officials, from 14.8% in 2008 to 17.79% in 2012, most significantly, in the provinces where CEDAW SEAP II was being implemented. The contribution of the project consisted of the establishment of an informal network of young women leaders who were provided with capacity to set their political agenda and undertake advocacy to support women’s election to the communes.
Key Achievements per Outcome (CEDAW Prodoc Outcomes)
OUTCOME 1: Increased knowledge and skills to apply CEDAW compliance in the development and monitoring of new and revised legislative frameworks.
The main focus of the CEDAW SEAP II in Cambodia is to institutionalize commitments and capacities that would strengthen CEDAW/COB compliance in planning, policy and law making, and service delivery, including access to justice, particularly of the most marginalized women.
From mid-2012 to the present, the most significant achievements at the highest level are as follows:
- The incorporation of COBS into three high level national strategies, namely: Neary Rattanak IV ; National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), and the second National Action Plan for the Prevention of Violence against Women (2nd NAPVAW). This was made possible through advocacy by implementing partners and technical support from UN Women-Cambodia Country Office (CCO).
- The adoption of a national policy on monthly minimum wage for garment workers as a result of women’s advocacy. This was attained under the leadership of a woman labour union activist who, after attending a training on CEDAW, served as a policy negotiator with high officials of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT), International Labour Organization (ILO), garment manufacturing associations and labour unions. This minimum wage was increased by $28 effective January 2015.
- A General Administrative Order of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) authorizing commune leaders to take appropriate actions to prevent all forms of violence against women and children in a timely manner and ensure that they are secured from perpetrators was reinforced. This was a result of advocacy by NCDD, an implementing partner of CCO, with MoI.
- The budget for commune councils was increased from 2.5% to 2.8% of the national budget as a result of NCDD’s advocacy. This will mean corresponding increase in the resources of all Commune Councils for Women and Children (CCWC) nationwide, which, by policy, are entitled to 20% of the commune council’s budget.
- A ‘budget for citizens’ was created by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MoEF) in response to the advocacies of GADC and its partners. GADC is an NGO that is an implementing partner of CCO in CEDAW SEAP II. This is a mechanism whereby people are given access to information on the government’s budget and revenue-raising strategies and may submit recommendations and observations to MoEF.
- The national Law on Domestic Violence and the national policy on migration management were reviewed by CNCW and partners to make them CEDAW-compliant. The amendment/revision to the law/policy will be presented to concerned bodies in 2015.
The above achievements indicate that the project’s investments in training and capacity building of advocates have started to yield results. Meanwhile, the results in CEDAW SEAP II’s three Immediate Outcomes indicate progress in COB monitoring and compliance. From a zero baseline, 20 out of 26 line ministries (77%) and 17 out of 25 provinces (68%) are now reporting to CNCW on actions taken on the COBs, using the CEDAW monitoring tool that was developed through the support of CEDAW SEAP II.
Cambodia also recorded achievements in building capacities of executive agencies to work within their respective mandates to fulfill the obligations of the State in CEDAW implementation. The capacity of the national women’s machineries (MOWA and CNCW) to lead CEDAW coordination, implementation, monitoring and reporting were strengthened and government-wide actions were enhanced which resulted in:
- initiatives toward CEDAW-compliant subnational administration;
- improved capacity, commitment and sense of accountability by national and subnational officials;
- mainstreaming of CEDAW into the NCDD Annual Work Plan and budget for selected provinces;
- expansion of CEDAW projects to new locations; and
- emergence of knowledge-sharing platform on CEDAW
Likewise, strategies and approaches that promote attention to marginalized women’s groups, especially in regard to their access to justice were promoted. CEDAW was incorporated into human rights curricula for judicial professions and judicial trainers and teachers learned the importance and acquired skills in eliminating sex-stereotyping in judicial instructions. A course on Gender Sensitive Legal Practice was developed and new lawyers were trained and capacity building for young women leaders as advocates was initiated, along with a dialogue with women judges and prosecutors that discussed their roles in promoting women’s access to justice.
OUTCOME 2: Increased awareness among formal and informal justice system actors of CEDAW commitments.
In 2014, 159 justice actors, of which 62% are women, increased their awareness and understanding of CEDAW commitments.
One state sponsored justice system actor was trained on gender sensitivity and applying WHR friendly approaches in justice delivery – i.e. Lawyers’ Training Center. Three types of training module and curricula were supported by UN Women through CEDAW SEAP II, namely:
- Orientation on the Elimination of Sex-stereotyping in Judicial Instructions – This was conducted with Raoul Wallenberg Institute and was attended by Judicial Teachers/Trainers who work for various training institutes for legal practitioners in Cambodia.
- Gender Sensitive Legal Practice – This was conducted by UN Women and Lawyers’ Training Center (LTC) for new lawyers applying for membership in the Cambodian Bar Association. The training focused on integration of gender sensitive lawyering, practical skills on gender sensitive interviewing through case studies including topics on intersecting and multiple discriminations against women when accessing justice.
- Mainstreaming of Gender into Human Rights Curricula for Judicial Practitioners – This was conducted by Raoul Wallenberg Institute for lawyers in cooperation with the Lawyers’ Training Center with UN Women providing technical support in the design and delivery of the CEDAW component.
One (1) consultation/forum on WHR-compliant justice delivery were assisted by CEDAW SEAP II for formal justice. At the national level, 65 female judges and prosecutors participated in a national conference which is the first of its kind in Cambodia.
OUTCOME 3: Strengthened monitoring and accountability mechanisms for implementation of CEDAW commitments.
From a zero baseline, 20 out of 26 line ministries (77%) and 17 out of 25 provinces (68%) are now reporting to CNCW on actions taken on the COBs, using the CEDAW monitoring tool that was developed through the support of CEDAW SEAP II. This CEDAW monitoring and reporting tool for government entities was developed to improve monitoring of CEDAW implementation across government.
There are also 30 members of the NGO CEDAW network that are using the CEDAW monitoring and advocacy tool for NGOs as well as seven NGOs/CSOs that are not members of the NGO CEDAW network. This advocacy and reporting tool on CEDAW was developed for civil society to standardize their approach to advocacy and monitoring of government performance on COB and CEDAW.
These tools were shared to the 7 CEDAW SEAP country implementers and were adapted further in Lao, Timor-Leste and Indonesia.