CDRI Cambodia 2020 Research Strategy

 
Annex 3 CDRI Cambodia 2020 Research Strategy

                           Draft @ 4 February 2011 (Pre-Edit)
PART ONE: The Strategy

1. Introduction: A Cambodia 2020 Research Strategy for CDRI

The CDRI Cambodia 2020 Research Strategy is a visionary long-term research strategy (2011-2020)
that matches the mission, achievements, reputation and capacity of CDRI with Cambodia’s
development, and development policy research, needs. It draws on three sources: Firstly it is based
on research findings and policy work of CDRI over the past two decades as evidenced in its various
publications, programmes, projects, and staff knowledge and expertise. Secondly, and most
importantly, it draws on consultative interviews with senior government representatives involved in
policy and implementation in key areas Cambodia’s development, where they have articulated areas
and issues where CDRI’s research can make a difference, as well as defining their priorities for an
enhanced knowledge base in their own field. Finally, it has drawn, where relevant, on national
statistics and recent international research on Cambodia.

The Strategy, supportive of and consistent with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s revised
National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2009-13 and beyond, and the associated priorities of
the government’s international development partners, private sector and civil society stakeholders,
reflects CDRI’s commitment to provide independent high quality objective evidence based
development policy research to Cambodian policy makers and influencers in support of Cambodia’s
development goals.

1.1 CDRI 1990-2010

CDRI was established in 1990 as a new and bold initiative, ahead of its time, in a very different
Cambodia still emerging from decades of conflict, and with very limited human resource capacity.
Initially it focused on capacity building for government officials, compilation of economic reports,
and peace building and conflict resolution. CDRI had limited resources, and was established in an
environment with very limited capacity in social science research, in Cambodia generally and
internally within a young CDRI. Over the following decade CDRI steadily built its research capacity,
utilising both Cambodian and expatriate researchers, and broadened its research across a wider
range of policy relevant social science research reflecting Cambodia’s socio-economic development
priorities.

By the early 2000s CDRI’s research covered fields such as economics, natural resource management,
poverty alleviation, agriculture and rural development, governance and conflict resolution. The
research was increasingly carried out by Cambodians, with overall staff numbers constantly
increasing and internal capacity rising slowly but steadily. Working papers, research monographs and
reports were written or co-written by Cambodians, who also were the key presenters at major
conferences, seminars and workshops. CDRI was by now valued by the government and donors as
the primary quality development policy research institution in Cambodia, and a unique national
resource. At the same time it increasingly attracted projects on the borderline of research and
consultancy, particularly for major multilateral development institutions.

Internationally, CDRI was more prominent, with its work presented in some leading publications, and
formal relationships of cooperation with some leading international universities. In response to
Cambodia’s increasing regional integration, subsequently, CDRI was also more integrated into
regional and sub‐regional research networks in East Asia, ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Sub‐region
(GMS), including its coordination of the Greater Mekong Sub‐Region Development Analysis Network
(DAN), a collaborative research network of leading research institutions from Cambodia, Laos,
Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan, China.

Over the period 2005‐10, in response to CDRI’s expanding research programme, resources, and staff,
there was a need for significant internal restructuring, with the establishment of more formal
thematic research programmes, recruitment and capacity development strategies, and a broader
range of quality research products and more effective dissemination. Expatriate project managers
were replaced with Cambodians, while utilising external networks for engaging technical expertise
when needed; Cambodians were leading individual projects; and a process of ‘Cambodianisation‘
(see below) was formally initiated. Recruitment strategies, and the ‘talent pool’ for recruitment of
researchers was by now extended, drawing on highly motivated Masters graduates from national,
regional and international universities, and an increasing number of Cambodian PhD graduates from
foreign universities. Research was increasingly disseminated effectively by Cambodian researchers
themselves in workshops and conferences, and in direct dialogue and collaboration with
government, donors and civil society.

Despite these successes, and the steady growth and development of CDRI, its reputation, and its
Cambodian capacity and expertise, some of these positive initiatives were still too ad hoc and
reactive, due to a number of factors, including donor preferences (which could change
unexpectedly), government priorities, staff availability, the competing pressure of income–
generating research commissions and consultancies, and organisational resilience. These constraints
still limited CDRI’s prospects to develop steadily into a top‐quality research institute, where it would
take the strategic research and intellectual lead – instead of being led by the preferences and
agendas of others – and become a long‐term oriented genuinely independent but responsive
research institution, acting in Cambodia’s national development interests, with a culture of
excellence and quality, and providing a rewarding professional environment for emerging
Cambodian researchers. The time has now come for CDRI to make the shift from reactive to
proactive, setting its own Cambodian research agenda, and deepening the ‘Cambodianisation’ of its
research, research products and their dissemination.

1.2 Why now? – Justifying a Long‐term Strategy

As an independent Cambodian development policy research institute, CDRI's mission is to contribute
to Cambodia's sustainable development, and the well‐being of its people, through the generation of
high quality policy‐relevant development research, knowledge dissemination and capacity building.

In this context, in 2009, CDRI’s Board of Directors resolved that CDRI management should:

      ‘develop, over the remainder of the 2006‐10 Strategic Plan, a CDRI Cambodia 2020
      Country Strategy, as a framework for its future research and policy agenda, and as the
      basis for resource mobilisation, including broad longer term development goals and
      related research and policy priorities. This should be developed in consultation with the
      RGC and other major stakeholders, then promoted to development partners/donors as
      the basis for coordinated future support for CDRI. It should be developed and owned
      locally, have a strong Cambodian ‘identity’ and character, and be clearly identified with
      CDRI.

      Such a CDRI Cambodia 2020 Country Strategy should include a focus on the role of China
      in the Greater Mekong Sub‐region, what sorts of change might be anticipated, and what

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this means for Cambodia’s development, and for China‐Cambodia‐Laos‐Thailand‐
      Vietnam relations and sub‐regional and regional integration’.

Some of the qualities, and some of the research focus, the board has emphasised are already in
place, others are yet to be developed. This document is a tool for the consolidation of achieved
success with the challenges for the future as expressed by the board and CDRI’s major stakeholders.
Below we will outline how CDRI will progress and deepen its research quality and relevance, while
safeguarding its gains so far.

1.3 Consolidation and Change – CDRI in Progress

For CDRI there are five major internal challenges in responding to its changing environment:

A ‐ Broadening and deepening its agenda: CDRI needs to review the Cambodian development
context and deepen and broaden its scope; there are emerging issues in Cambodian society which
are increasingly urgent, but not historically addressed by CDRI (see below). There are also issues
within the current CDRI portfolio that need deeper attention. This is a challenge, yet it is perceived
as a necessity to respond to Cambodian realities. It will require some organisational adjustment, as
well as renewed efforts at capacity building. Rolling internal capacity building courses are offered to
staff on junior and senior researcher level respectively. Space will be made possible for key staff to
develop their skills, and networking with competent/interesting research milieus will actively be
sought. We also have the ambition to contribute to a growing Cambodian national research
community. These are outlined in the accompanying CDRI 2011‐15 Strategic Plan.

B ‐ Enhancing quality: The depth, quality and independence of CDRI’s research needs to be
enhanced. CDRI is able to produce high‐quality research, and is well situated to define its own
research agenda, in careful consultation with key stakeholders. Its ability to be a serious dialogue
partner vis‐à‐vis international research as well as with Cambodian policy‐ and decision‐makers is
increasing. Over the next 5 years, this capacity will be further strengthened with a concerted internal
capacity‐building program, and the return of several senior Cambodian research staff who will have
completed PhDs in leading international universities. Building, attracting, fostering and retaining this
strengthened internal capacity will be a key to CDRI realising its longer term research strategy.
Finally, a more comprehensive internal monitoring and evaluation system will be established.

C ‐ Strengthening impact: The dissemination of CDRI’s research findings is, as yet, not as efficient as
the research itself. The quality, value and substance of CDRI research and the competencies of its
staff have not been fully utilised in policy influencing contexts. Although there are programmes in
place for both dissemination and international engagement, these need to be significantly enhanced,
with an emphasis on the production and generation of Khmer language Cambodia‐friendly research
products and dissemination media that are factored into the design and resourcing of research. In
particular, a system of electronic papers and briefs will be offered through its homepage, with
regular update bulletins on research activities and products. As a part of this process, CDRI is also
well placed to take a mentoring role for emerging junior researchers from other Cambodian
institutions, particularly the major national universities, as part of its ‘public good’ role in promoting
a stronger national research culture and capacity in Cambodia.

D ‐ ‘Cambodianisation’: CDRI has been through a process where Cambodian nationals now occupy all
management positions except the positions of Executive Director and Director of Research. The next
phase of ‘Cambodianisation’ involves strengthening the ability of Cambodians to pursue
independent and high quality work with confidence and precision. To achieve this, and in order to
establish a long term sustainable research milieu of excellence, the ongoing process of

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‘Cambodianisation’ needs to continue and to be deepened. While top‐management may need to
remain expatriate in the near to mid term – as the academic and management competence within
CDRI deepens and matures, and to strengthen its capacity to engage effectively on the national,
regional and international scenes – Cambodians will increasingly assume enhanced responsibility for
project initiation, leadership and management, implementation and dissemination, as part of a
leadership team. CDRI’s remuneration, incentives and professional development opportunities will
be enhanced to ensure that a merit‐based incentive system supports senior Cambodian researchers
into rewarding leadership and management positions.

5‐ Getting the balance of programme and project based resource research partnership right: CDRI
experience over the past decade has shown very clearly that the best research and research capacity
building results come from programme rather than project based research, partnerships and
resources, with the recent governance and water research programmes as the best examples. While
CDRI will continue to take up opportunities to do useful commissioned project work, a major priority
during its 2011‐15 strategic plan and beyond will be to promote the value of more coordinated
longer term programme based resource support to the major international development partners
and other resource mobilisation sources, and to achieve a better balance of programme and project
based research. In tandem with increasing independent research capacity, the ability to take on –
and to help form – externally generated assignments will increase. CDRI’s goal is to not to remain a
service provider for other’s studies, but to be a partner with which studies are designed,
implemented and jointly disseminated.

Meeting these challenges rests on four interrelated pillars:

                 Basic Research capacity, programme execution, and publications

                                            CDRI
                                         Organisation

          Operationalisation and                                  Dissemination and
             administration                                        Public Relations

Research is the core activity and the key focus of this document; Operationalisation and
administration is the arrangements for making sure the work of the researchers, and the operational
support they need, are as efficient as possible, be it professional development, fieldwork or
dissemination; Dissemination and External Relations are crucial in order to fulfil CDRI’s mandate of
generating policy relevant research, dissemination for policy influence, and for being a visible
proactive force in Cambodian development. While research is the key, it cannot be achieved without
the support of these other pillars. In the middle, relevant for all these activities and their efficient
operation and connections, the overall CDRI Organisation is crucial to deliver sustainable research of
high quality and to foster internal capacity building. Further details of how CDRI will operationalise
priority aspects of the research strategy are included in the CDRI 2011‐15 Strategic Plan.

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1.4 CDRI’s Mission and its Vision for Cambodia 2020

CDRI’s mission is:

    As an independent Cambodian development policy research institute, CDRI's mission is to
    contribute to Cambodia's sustainable development, and the well being of its people, through
    the generation of high quality policy‐relevant development research, knowledge
    dissemination and capacity development.

CDRI’s vision is:

    CDRI’s vision is for a peaceful, prosperous and more equitable Cambodia that has made
    significant progress in sustainable socio‐economic development and poverty reduction,
    based on high levels of growth and economic diversification, agricultural and rural
    development, the strengthening of democratic development and public institutions,
    improved management of natural resources, and social development in education, health
    and gender equity.

CDRI’s mission, values, operating principles, and programme structure reflect this vision. See the
CDRI 2011‐15 Strategic Plan for further details.

CDRI believes that the research planned in its new research strategy will contribute to realising such
a vision, and that this would be achieved through:
 . High levels of economic growth based on economic diversification, increased competitiveness
   and productivity, the strengthening of key export‐oriented sectors such as agriculture and rural
   development, private sector development, tourism, construction, energy and infrastructure,
   trade and investment, and the strategic integration of Cambodia’s economy into the Greater
   Mekong Sub‐region (GMS), ASEAN and the broader ASEAN, China, Korea and Japan (East Asian)
   region.
 . Further significant poverty reduction emanating from enhanced agricultural productivity and
   rural development, with extension services, access to credit and markets, and improved
   infrastructure for affordable energy and transport, but also with due attention to the increasing
   phenomenon of urban poverty;
 . The strengthening of democratic development, public institutions, and national and sub‐national
   governance, with progress in key areas of public sector reform including service delivery, civil
   service salaries, capacity building of civil servants, judicial reform, the rule of law and anti‐
   corruption measures;
 . Improved management and governance of natural resources – land, water, forest and fishery –
   and environmental management, adaptively in response to climate change, particularly for the
   agricultural sector, and more transparent and equitable access to natural resources for rural
   livelihoods and poverty reduction;
 . Greater commitment to and resources for social development in key areas of health care,
   particularly for women and children, access to affordable quality primary, secondary, vocational
   and tertiary education in response to market needs and changing demography, opportunities for
   youth, and broader human security and social protection.

CDRI’s research supports Cambodia’s development and societal change, and CDRI’s capacity to
change and grow in response to a changing Cambodia is critical to its future relevance and success.

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2. A Cambodia in Transition – Defining the Components in A Long‐term Research Agenda

2.1 Cambodia Changing

Cambodia is moving away from its immediate acute stage of being a post‐conflict country, to a phase
with a different set of questions and challenges for/to its sustainable development. These are
neither by definition smaller nor necessarily easier to solve (and not unrelated), but they are to
some extent different. And while new issues arrive (such as youth and labour market) old ones do
not disappear (e.g., poverty alleviation and peace building), and some tend to assume an even
higher significance (natural resource management and public sector reform/governance). Below we
will make a brief review of the major trends of change in Cambodia before we outline how these
could be responded to.

Cambodian society is changing rapidly with significant developments including the following:
  . Economic growth remains high in spite of global recession, but remains narrowly based, and
    benefiting a limited segment of the population [3]
  . Trade, international engagement, and regional integration and cooperation are deepening,
    especially the role of, and relations with, China [4]
  . Urbanisation is significant and accelerating [5]
  . Demography is changing rapidly, and the population is rapidly growing [6]
  . Although uneven and limited in some areas, poverty reduction seems tangible and real, and
    possibly sustainable [7]
  . Industry and services are increasing their share in overall GDP, diversifying the economy, but
    progress is limited to certain sectors [8]
  . Political gender equality is slowly increasing, and social indicators on the role and presence in
    Cambodian society are more positive, but much remains to be done to achieve gender equity
    [9]
  . Public sector reform is fundamentally changing sub‐national governance and administration
    with concrete effects on the potential for local development [10]
  . Environmental and natural resource management issues are calling for urgent attention [11].

These major trends are producing new development policy challenges and new sources of tension
and conflict, with related needs for policy research and social knowledge enhancement. It is the role
of research to provide policy‐makers with substantial background knowledge to enhance the quality
of policy formulation and promote the value of evidence‐based policy in development planning and
implementation.

2.2 Responding to Change with a Renewed Research Agenda – Five Priority Themes

Major trends in this changing Cambodia can be grouped into five priority themes that form the basis
of CDRI’s five research programmes, and for CDRI’s research to 2020:

 i)   Economy, trade and regional cooperation. Despite Cambodia’s recognition as an economic
      success story, the Cambodian economy remains vulnerable, both in the narrowness of its
      economic base and its vulnerability to international shocks, as evidenced by the severe

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downturn in the garment industry emanating from the global recession 2008/9. The
    international political economy of trade, economic cooperation, and international development
    processes are crucially important to Cambodia’s future. Cambodia, now one of the most liberal
    economies in the world and a member of the WTO, will be increasingly looking to the benefits
    of regional (East Asia and ASEAN) and sub‐regional (Greater Mekong Sub‐region) economic
    integration and cooperation, through hard and soft infrastructure, to secure its economic and
    geo‐political future. Moreover, the remaining high incidence of absolute poor people in society
    [insert formal poverty levels here], particularly in rural communities indicates a dysfunctional
    and unsustainable economy. While state finances are in balance, the economy diversifying, and
    exports increasing, it remains unclear what the real nature of Cambodian growth is, how
    sustainable it is, and how it can be made to serve more equitable and sustainable development
    goals. Significant economic activity still depends on informal resource flows, non‐transparent
    contracts and agreements, and the patronage‐based character of the economy. Major policy
    issues and challenges will continue to arise in its critical political economy relationships with the
    countries of the GMS, ASEAN, China, South Korea and Japan, with the issue of China’s growing
    strength and influence in the GMS, ASEAN and East Asia, of major significance.

ii) Livelihoods, agriculture and rural development. Agricultural production is increasing, and has
    been for a decade and a half, and the rice production and export promotion strategy is showing
    early signs of success, but at the same time, some rural areas are experiencing a transformation
    towards a plantation economy, with large landholdings increasing sharply, often in non‐
    transparent and sometimes violent processes, while at the same time rural landlessness of the
    poor is on the rise. As a consequence, rapid urbanisation increases pressure on the ability of the
    ‘modern’ economy to absorb, develop, and make good use of the available workforce. Long‐
    term political and social stability is dependent on a progressive social development taking the
    above changes taking the rural urban pressure into consideration. This creates a special linkage
    between change in rural areas and the development of a modern economy. If carefully managed
    this can have a harmonious outcome, but it also carries severe risks, and the potential for
    negative economic and social outcomes for the poor and marginalised.

iii) Democratic governance and public sector reform. Public sector reform, particularly the
     ambitious and complex decentralisation and deconcentration reforms are now broad and deep,
     with the adoption of The Organic Law on sub‐national governance, a ten year NCDD
     Programme developed, and a three year Implementation Plan for the programme (IP3) recently
     finalised. Together these are by far the most significant and far‐reaching political reforms since
     1993, and in the coming decade they will transform the governance landscape. The reforms and
     the next stage of their implementation present further complexities. For instance, issues that
     emerge here include how commune‐district relations will emerge as a result of indirect
     elections and altered resource flows; how a unified administration at district level will be
     constituted; and what kind of local development the districts will be pursuing under the District
     Development Fund. The depth and quality of democracy under these major reforms, as well as
     its developmental strengths are also issues of concern and uncertainty. The implementation of
     these public sector reforms are daunting and paramount for political and social stability, yet
     containing major insecurities calling for deepened research.

iv) Natural resources management and environmental sustainability. One of the most acute
    challenges in Cambodia for the next decade ‐ achieving sustainable development under an
    umbrella of stability and conflict mitigation ‐ is the creation of efficient, participatory, and
    environmentally balanced natural resource management. Still, some 80 % of the population
    resides in the rural areas, and the mainstay of stability in Cambodia still rests with the
    functionality of the rural areas and its primary production. While historically under limited

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population pressure, density is now rising (in certain areas), and competition for land, fishery
     and forestry products is increasing; water resource management, particularly in the context of
     climate change and agricultural adaptivity, will be a major challenge. Moreover, efficient
     agricultural production is essential to underpin other socio‐economic development, with
     modernisation needing to be supported by efficient food production and food security. Since
     early 1990s agricultural production has increased, but there is still a long way to go to realise
     the potential of Cambodian agriculture, fisheries, and subsistence production; neighbouring
     countries still produce approximately twice the outcome per land area. Good governance of
     Cambodia’s natural resources is essential for sustained economic growth and poverty
     alleviation, as well as for a stable and peaceful future rural development.

 v) Social development. Democratisation, economic growth, urbanisation and the forces of
    demographic change raise many social issues. Change, migration, urbanisation, income gaps,
    and remaining poverty (In both rural and urban contexts) provides the backdrop for a
    formidable challenge to create a stable and satisfactory social situation for the mainstay of the
    population. The issues involved here are central to a progressive development of the Cambodia
    society and includes, i) Education. This is one of the most central and most painful long‐term
    legacies of the Khmer Rouge era. Although major achievements have been recorded, the
    education level is still low and there is a major effort needed in meeting needs ranging from
    primary to higher education; ii) Health. The primary health care system does not adequately
    respond to the demands, and its inefficiency/expensive services provide the most common
    reason for families being plunged into poverty. iii) The labour market is turning increasingly
    agile and complex, yet vulnerable. Its composition harbours a massive significance for
    Cambodian modernisation and sustainability. iv) Gender issues. While steeply based in
    traditional perceptions, with modernity, indications of growing gender equity are emerging,
    rearranging existing social ‘givens’ in an intricate way. v) Human security and conflict mediation.
    The older half of the Cambodia population has rarely felt secure for themselves and their
    families, imbedded in political and social conflicts; whereas the former is lower than previously,
    the level of the latter remains high, and possibly rising. Although central, and with a
    comprehensive impact, very little is known about these issues and in particular how the new
    generation views key social issues. Emerging social issues may be the most under‐researched
    area of Cambodian development, while at the same time growing into central concerns in the
    developing Cambodian society.

These are the five themes that we consider central for a concerted and updated research effort for
the coming decade in Cambodia. However there are also some central factors in Cambodia’s
development that are relevant to all the above themes and issues that need to be reflected in CDRI’s
research strategy and integrated across CDRI five research themes and programmes – the ‘cross‐
cutting themes’ of sustainability, poverty reduction, governance and institutional arrangements,
gender equity, and conflict prevention and resolution.

2.3 ‘Cross‐cutting Themes’ to Connect and Integrate the Five Research Programmes

With some 30% of the population remaining poor, poverty alleviation is central in all aspects of
Cambodian development. Trade and international integration has generated growth, and some
poverty alleviation – especially through massive employment opportunities within the garment
sector – but the economy remains narrowly based, and how relative economic success will actually
alleviate poverty further is not clear. Rural development is ideally the ‘companion’ of modernisation
and trade‐led growth, and Cambodia has – compared to its neighbours – a vast potential for rural
poverty alleviation. The key to realise that is more efficient local governance through continued
public sector reform, including issues of democracy and participation as well as those of local service

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delivery. Natural resource management provides the basis – or a part ‐ for the livelihoods of the vast
majority of the rural population, and the threats to a balanced ecological system risks contributing to
poverty levels. Finally, poverty can be lived as a lack of money and resources, but it increasingly
(especially in urban areas) emerges as a social poverty, with the lack of social services as well as
basic security.

Sustainability (in the broadest sense) is another cross‐cutting theme. All developing, modernising,
liberalising countries are throwing themselves into macro‐processes of change, which, at times, are
difficult to contain, and keep up. Increased trade is good for growth but enhances vulnerability to
external shocks; mass migration to urban areas feeds modernisation, but increases the risk of social
ills. The pressure for intensified rural production risks starting processes of a non‐sustainable nature
(as we have seen in many other places). Resource management seems to be not yet sustainable, its
improvement a crucial challenge for maintaining rural stability and prosperity. Public sector reform,
central to all processes of change noted above, is also tentative, and need energy and effort to be
made sustainable and to be consolidated. In all, to continue the gains made so far, and to improve
poverty alleviation and democratic advances, sustainability needs to be sought within all five fields.
Insufficient attention to processes of sustainability – political, economic, environmental and social –
may be one the greatest deficiencies in the history of development thinking.

Gender equity is central to the development of a functional, efficient, and just society. Modern
Cambodia is, it is said as gendered issues go, torn between the attraction of modernity and ‘deep
anxiety about the loss of tradition and the dissolution of moral order’ (Kent 2010: 128). In all fields
there is a need for change in gendered terms: social indicators are not favourable to women;
political participation is distinctly lower for females than for men, so is political leadership. The latter
is often asked for with the clear perception (true or not) that women are more clever in ‘soft politics’
– listening, engaging, understanding, being transparent ‐ which (possibly) is the direction society is
taking. Women are also an increasing part of the workforce, either in traditional upkeep of rural
livelihoods, or as the backbone of the garment industry. Hence for governance, economic
(livelihood, household and market economics), and social issues, the understanding of social change
and social development policy needs to be ‘gendered’.

Governance and institutional arrangements are also critical. To consolidate the gains mentioned
above, as well as to further the burgeoning development, an enabling environment needs to be
established and sustained. Free markets are efficient, but to sustain them, and to create a level
playing field with reasonable fair rules and conditions, institutions are needed to safeguard against
rent‐seeking, criminality, corruption and cheating. Whether we focus on trade rural markets,
resource management, or social development, institutions – which come as laws, authorities, rules
or norms – need to be present. This is partly offered within the public sector reform, but need to be
provided in more concrete, present and meaningful ways, in micro as well as macro contexts.

Hence, sustainability, poverty reduction, governance and institutional arrangements, gender equity,
and the related issue of conflict prevention and resolution, constitute important cross‐cutting
themes across the five priority CDRI research themes and programmes. CDRI will develop capacity
within these themes, and researchers will work across the five programmes adding value through
their specific knowledge on the respective cross‐cutting themes. And while the process primarily is
led by research within the five programmes, the cross‐cutting themes can also provide opportunities
for interdisciplinary studies across CDRI’s research programme.

For further details of the first phase of implementation of the strategy see the associated CDRI 2011‐
2015 Strategic Plan.

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PART TWO: The Research

                 FIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMMES: MAJOR RESEARCH THEMES AND QUESTIONS

(A)     ECONOMY, TRADE AND REGIONAL COOPERATION

1. How can the Cambodian economy be diversified for high sustainable growth? What are the
   priority sectors and how can the diversification work be sequenced? How feasible is the policy
   on rice and how can this policy be applied to other commodities such as rubber, cassava and
   cashew? What are the potentials of regional and global markets, in terms of value chains and
   constraints, opportunities and barriers? How are these concerns linked to RGC’s ‘integrated
   framework’ for 19 commodities and services?
2. What is the situation on the economic governance of extractive industries? What is the situation
   of Cambodia’s SMEs and light manufacturing sectors? How do factors of increased access to
   finance, skills, growth/ market opportunities, government promotion of SME private sector
   development contribute to these sectors’ development? What are the existing best practices,
   and how can obstacles to these practices, if any, be removed? What are the lessons to be learnt
   from countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia with relevant economic development features?
   What are policy gaps in promoting sectoral SME’s for local production and export? How do SME
   experiences feed into the broader RGC‐private sector SME growth strategies?
3. How has vocational education and training responded to Cambodia’s current and future labour
   market needs? What are the policies and mechanisms to improve vocational education and
   workforce skills? What models are feasible for Cambodia from among that which are in place:
   RGC, private sector delivery models and public private partnerships? How have ‘trades’ skills
   valued? What is the labour market demand for increased productivity and economic
   diversification in terms of urban and rural as well as sectoral (e.g., hospitality, ICT, light
   manufacturing trades) areas?

(B)     AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

1.    How can existing capacity be improved for rural development outcomes, growth of rural economies and
      to remove constraints to agricultural diversification, increase productivity, and to strengthen the
      comparative advantage and competitiveness of rural products and commodities? What ‘strategy’ should
      be taken to increase existing capacities, and how can Cambodia use its endowments more effectively?

2.    In what ways can value chains pave for farmers’ better access to information re markets and
      value chains? How can these strengthen farmers associations and contract farming, as well as
      make a difference in poverty reduction? How can farmers play a role in understanding these
      value chains and transforming these for their benefit?
3.    What is the extent of coverage of existing social protection and what are the gaps against
      changes in Cambodia’s socio‐economic development and growth? What are the government’s
      social protection policies and assumptions? How can social protection programmes be scaled up
      for equitable access of all segments of the vulnerable population? What models will work in
      order to reach the most in need and to ensure better targeting? What institutional
      arrangements and capacities will be required to ensure an effective social protection
      programme? How can future oil revenues contribute to the expansion of social protection?
4.    What are the medium to long term implications for Cambodia of the relationship between food
      security and agricultural policy, and how can these two development policy areas be better
      coordinated for planning purposes to achieve significant agricultural development and
      diversification while also providing food security for all Cambodians, particularly the poor?

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5.    What are the labour transformations taking place in Cambodia? What are the economic, social
      and political implications of a move from the agricultural to the industrial sector? How do these
      impact on rural development and agriculture? How can local knowledge be better applied in
      increasing agricultural productivity? To what extent are Cambodia’s rural and urban populations
      prepared for the move to a ‘modern’ industrial sector? How does this impact on human capacity
      for farming and what are the underlying, untested assumptions that underpin such a shift?

(C)     DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM

1.    To what extent do D&D reforms enhance sub‐national governance and service delivery?
2.    What are the prospective potential constraints hindering D&D implementation? To what extent
      will those forces be impeding the D&D trajectory?
3.    How will D&D reforms impact the state society relations?
4.    To what extent is Cambodian state capable of sustaining the economic growth and development
      in the economic transformational phase
5.    How will the implementation of the organic law shape and impact on sub‐national inter‐sectoral
      and intra‐sectoral coordination in natural resource governance

(D)     NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
1. How can the Tonle Sap be effectively maintained and managed given its important role in rural
   livelihoods? What have been the impacts of current agricultural and related practices, including
   environmental pollution and possible oil/gas extraction? How can local practices be improved
   and how can integrated management be achieved?
2. What are the links between climate change and agriculture, forestry, coastal areas, health?
   What eco‐services models, payments and alternative options are there for effective local
   environmental management services? How do Community Forestry (CF), Community Protected
   Areas (CPA) impact on deforestation, sustainability and local livelihoods especially for poor and
   very poor? What are the best models for REDD (e.g., OECD system of payment re carbon
   credits)? What can be the role of NGOs?
3. How can community based water resource management contribute to sustainability of irrigation
   schemes against a situation where all are currently government‐donor supported and
   community based mechanisms are very young, with limited management capacity, and still
   fragile? What solutions and models can be devised? What are alternatives to government‐
   donor‐community partnerships?

(E)     SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
1. What health workforce distribution model and health financing scheme will ensure an effective
   and equitable health services access for all, especially the (a) rural/urban poor and socially
   excluded women (b) the youth, and (c) Cambodia’s indigenous population groups?
2. What model of education services will ensure equitable access to basic education for all,
   especially for girls? What is the most appropriate and effective teacher distribution and
   retention scheme in the rural and remote areas of Cambodia? What form of education can best
   respond and contribute to the changing economy of Cambodia? What are public perceptions on
   the importance of TVET in Cambodia?
3. How has Cambodia’s social capital evolved over time? How have shocks and crises (natural
   disasters, global financial crises, urbanization, etc) shaped social capital and how has this

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interacted with the coping mechanisms of vulnerable population groups? To what extent is
       social capital able to effectively contribute to social protection in general and as a social safety
       net in particular?
4. To what extent has the issue of gender been mainstreamed in Cambodia’s development? How
   has this impacted on health services, particularly on women’s reproductive health practices, and
   on violence against women? In what monetary and non‐monetary ways have women played in
   Cambodia’s formal and informal economy? How can they be mobilized to play significant and
   visible roles in the green industry/ technologies1 and how can their rights be protected? In light
   of women’s increasing political participation, what is the level of acceptance in rural and urban
   areas about these women’s more prominent roles and their ability to make women’s voices
   heard?

1
    The green industry includes work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and
    service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not
    exclusively, this covers jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water
    consumption through high‐efficiency strategies; de‐carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation
    of all forms of waste and pollution (Source: http://www.thegreenjobbank.com/forum/green‐jobs/what‐is‐a‐green‐job)

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COUNTRY RESEARCH STRATEGY ATTACHMENT

             RESEARCH THEMES AND QUESTIONS IN FIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMMES OF CDRI

(A)   ECONOMY, TRADE AND REGIONAL COOPERATION

1. How can the Cambodian economy be diversified for high sustainable growth? What are the
   priority sectors and how can the diversification work be sequenced? How feasible is the policy on
   rice and how can this policy be applied to other commodities such as rubber, cassava and
   cashew? What are the potentials of regional and global markets, in terms of value chains and
   constraints, opportunities and barriers? How are these concerns linked to RGC’s ‘integrated
   framework’ for 19 commodities and services?
2. What is the situation on the economic governance of extractive industries? What is the situation
   of Cambodia’s SMEs and light manufacturing sectors? How do factors of increased access to
   finance, skills, growth/ market opportunities, government promotion of SME private sector
   development contribute to these sectors’ development? What are the existing best practices,
   and how can obstacles to these practices, if any, be removed? What are the lessons to be learnt
   from countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia with relevant economic development features?
   What are policy gaps in promoting sectoral SME’s for local production and export? How do SME
   experiences feed into the broader RGC‐private sector SME growth strategies?
3. How has vocational education and training responded to Cambodia’s current and future labour
   market needs? What are the policies and mechanisms to improve vocational education and
   workforce skills? What models are feasible for Cambodia from among that which are in place:
   RGC, private sector delivery models and public private partnerships? How have ‘trades’ skills
   valued? What is the labour market demand for increased productivity and economic
   diversification in terms of urban and rural as well as sectoral (e.g., hospitality, ICT, light
   manufacturing trades) areas?
4. What is the situation of Cambodia’s agricultural development and what have been the crop
   priorities in the context of domestic consumption, food security and export potential?
5. What is Cambodia’s current economic position and potential comparative advantage in relation
   to the GMS countries of Vietnam and Thailand, as well as to the broader Asian neighbours and
   ASEAN nations? What are the implications of such economic position and comparative
   advantage against a regional policy framework?
6. What is Cambodia’s preparedness for opportunities and for mitigating potential negative impacts
   of the ASEAN‐China FTA, other ASEAN+1 FTAs and the ASEAN Economic Community? In what
   ways is the private sector aware and prepared for these regional formations?
   What are the provisions and potential impact of ASEAN+1, +3, +6 FTAs and which of these hold
   best opportunities and least risk from Cambodia? What is the most desirable regional integration
   model? What are the domestic policies required to be more effectively outward looking/
   involved in any of said models?
7. What are policy instruments that can advance the services sector and how do factors of logistics,
   energy, costs etc come up in the development of related policies? What is the impact of opening
   up of trade in services given MoC priority in this area? How has Cambodia’s domestic economy
   developed, and what are the positive and negative impacts of liberalisation of the services
   sector? How have the WTO and PTAs impact on and create positive and negative prospects for
   the sector?
8. How can longer term economic modelling capacities be immediately built and developed in
   Cambodia – particularly in CDRI, government agencies and universities – against its long term
   investment needs?
9. What are the institutional arrangements for policy and implementation functioning and for the
   coordination of key economic management agencies, drivers and stakeholders? What are the
   institutional arrangements for the governance and coordination of policy and the administration
   of cross‐border trade and movements of people? In what ways are these arrangements
   effective/ ineffective? What are the barriers to the effective functioning of these institutions?
10. What are the next steps in public financial management reform and how do these impact on
    prospects for growth and economic diversification? How can revenue collection be improved and
    what is the best use of taxation revenue and potential revenue from oil and gas exploitation in
    order to focus on development priorities and potential growth areas of economy? In terms of
    public expenditure management, how can disbursements be made more effective?
11. How can we access the real impact of China on poverty reduction (and economic growth and
    development) in Cambodia and GMS in relation to trade, investment, and ODA, and what does
    this mean for development policy and for Cambodia’s future relationship with China and the
    GMS and with others?
      What has Cambodia learnt and could learn from the example of China’s economic model and
      development? What similarities and differences in the two states could foster/ inhibit the
      application of such learnings? (Previously Q14)
12. What are the economic aspects of water security and potential conflict for water resource in
    Cambodia and the GMS? Also, how has Cambodia benefited, if at all, on economic and social land
    concessions? How have these impacted on the populations within these concessions?
13. What adaptation and policy responses can Cambodia make in response to climate change and its
    impact on the poor and rural and urban livelihoods? How can we better understand the
    environment of poverty in general and of the poor in particular?

(B)    POVERTY, AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

1. How can existing capacity be improved for rural development outcomes, growth of rural
   economies and to remove constraints to agricultural diversification, increase productivity, and to
   strengthen the comparative advantage and competitiveness of rural products and commodities?
   What ‘strategy’ should be taken to increase existing capacities, and how can Cambodia use its
   endowments more effectively?
2. In what ways can value chains pave for farmers’ better access to information re markets and
   value chains? How can these strengthen farmers associations and contract farming, as well as
   make a difference in poverty reduction? How can farmers play a role in understanding these
   value chains and transforming these for their benefit?
3. What is the extent of coverage of existing social protection and what are the gaps against
   changes in Cambodia’s socio‐economic development and growth? What are the government’s
   social protection policies and assumptions? How can social protection programmes be scaled up
   for equitable access of all segments of the vulnerable population? What models will work in
   order to reach the most in need and to ensure better targeting? What institutional arrangements
   and capacities will be required to ensure an effective social protection programme? How can
   future oil revenues contribute to the expansion of social protection?

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What are the local institutional arrangements required for approaches to local development?
    What are the local capacities called for and roles of outside agents?
4. What are the medium to long term implications for Cambodia of the relationship between food
   security and agricultural policy, and how can these two development policy areas be better
   coordinated for planning purposes to achieve significant agricultural development and
   diversification while also providing food security for all Cambodians, particularly the poor?
5. What are the labour transformations taking place in Cambodia? What are the economic, social
   and political implications of a move from the agricultural to the industrial sector? How do these
   impact on rural development and agriculture? How can local knowledge be better applied in
   increasing agricultural productivity? To what extent are Cambodia’s rural and urban populations
   prepared for the move to a ‘modern’ industrial sector? How does this impact on human capacity
   for farming and what are the underlying, untested assumptions that underpin such a shift?
6. What are the institutional arrangements between MEF‐MOC‐MAFF‐MOWRAM for government
   policy and implementation action, coordination, and resources? What are their respective roles
   and coordination functions and how can these roles and functions be improved? What further
   slows down actions against constraints that are already well known?
7. Why is Cambodia importing 200 tonnes of vegetables a day and 1000 pigs from Thailand and
   Vietnam? What can be done? How is this linked to the country’s policies on rice and other
   commodities?
8. On farm economies of scale, which size works best for what? What is the viability of small holder
   farming for some purposes, and of collective or cooperative action which can be more
   productive/ appropriate for particular crops or livestock? What institutional arrangements
   should be promoted to achieve this? How can informal networks, relationships and local customs
   be utilized for more effective models?
9. What have been the policy responses on issues (e.g., agriculture, access to forest and fishery
   products, land and water) surrounding Cambodia’s rural livelihoods? How have land concessions
   impacted on land and other natural resource conflicts, including related issues of food security
   and landlessness?
10. How are infrastructure development (e.g., roads, dams etc), agricultural expansion and oil
    exploitation impacting on local livelihoods and natural resources management in the Tonle Sap?
    What are the related environmental and natural resource management impacts?
11. What have been the social, economic and environmental impacts of the extractive industries on
    poor communities’ livelihoods and environment around Tonle Sap?
12. How can Cambodia’s younger generation be more involved in agriculture or be motivated to
    aspire for their greater involvement? How are agricultural skills being transferred from the older
    to the younger generation? What values are being transferred in passing on traditional
    agricultural methods and skills? How can provincially based vocational education and training
    help improve younger generation’s agricultural skills and promote agricultural diversification and
    local capacity to diversify?
13. Against the high costs of rural labour, increased living costs, and use of improved technologies,
    what are the implications of a move from use of unskilled to skilled labour? What are the gaps in
    knowledge between local farmers and extension workers? What steps can be taken on the ‘bias’
    of NGO providers for ‘organic’ farming?

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14. How can collaboration among all existing CBOs be promoted in promoting the sustainable use
    and management of fisheries resource management in Tonle Sap Area? How can these natural
    resources CBO activities be harmonized with the commune development and investment plan?

Water resources management
₋   What potential does groundwater hold for irrigation both as an integral aspect of Cambodia’s
    water balance, and as a substantial natural storage of water that could be available as a year‐
    round water source? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using groundwater for
    agricultural development and environment? What is the economic balance of groundwater
    between benefits and impact on soil property and fertility in the long run?
₋   How can surface water use efficiency of the existing irrigation scheme be improved?
₋   How can surface water users’ participation in ownership and effective maintenance of irrigation
    schemes be strengthened? What is the economic return of investment in irrigation scheme
    maintenance?
₋   What kinds of conflict exist around water scarcity and water resources allocation, and in what
    way can these be resolved effectively? In what ways can the share of public investment for
    irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation and construction be improved and made more effective?

Agricultural development and food security
₋   How can the allocation of resources to improve agricultural development and growth be
    increased? How can agricultural research to promote agricultural growth be expanded? How
    can research agencies and technology users be more effectively linked? What is the best way to
    promote and encourage farmers to adopt new production practices to increase productivity and
    food security?
₋   What appropriate technology and inputs use would intensify productivity for small landholders
    to produce enough food? What alternative job opportunities are there to diversify rural income
    besides farming income to improve livelihoods? How can rice‐based farming with limited
    irrigation capacity be diversified to promote rural livelihood and poverty reduction?
₋   How can the role of the commune council as the effective means of technology transfer in the
    community be promoted? What are the effective training programmes for capacity building for
    commune councils for their role in technology transfer? How can private sector involvement in
    technology transfer for producers be promoted? How can institutional and capacity building for
    extension agencies be strengthened to help farmers increase productivity more effectively?
    How can more resources be allocated to extension agencies?
₋   How can better land use planning and agricultural crops zoning to increase agricultural growth
    be promoted? How can the rice production area be expanded to increase agricultural growth
    and promote export? How can the law be enforced to return idle land to productive use?
₋   How can social land concessions for landless and near landless households be promoted? What
    are the risks and challenges to food security faced by landless households? What policies would
    be effective in reducing risk and food insecurity for landless households? What are the risks and
    challenges of households in the provinces who face severe food insecurity?
₋   What is the agricultural technology shifts can happen in Cambodia as a developing country
    economy? What is the role of the agricultural sector in economic growth, employment, rural
    and urban food security and poverty reduction?
₋   How can the risks to agricultural production and food security be reduced under the threat of
    climate change? How can effective groundwater use be designed and promoted to reduce the
    threat to agricultural land?

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Fisheries sub‐sector development
 ₋        What are the negative impacts of low river levels on fisheries ecology, habitats and productivity
          in Cambodia’s inland fisheries sector? How can the change in river levels be managed to sustain
          fish ecology, habitats and productivity?
 ₋        How can fisheries community development and capacity building for effective and sustainable
          management of natural fisheries resources for income generation, food security and poverty
          alleviation be promoted and strengthened?
 ₋        How can the roles of relevant agencies (MAFF, MoE, MoWRAM and MoI) be harmonised/
          coordinated for more effective management of the fisheries sector?
 ₋        How can aquaculture production to reduce the threat to natural inland fisheries be improved?
          How can aquaculture be promoted in rural areas far from inland fisheries to improve animal
          protein consumption and income?

Livestock sub‐sector development
 ₋        How can the livestock sub‐sector be promoted to improve rural income and food security?
          What is the integral relationship between livestock and agricultural production, rural household
          incomes and food security? What is the economic return from small scale livestock raising?
          What are the major risks and constraints of livestock raising faced by rural communities? How
          can these risks and constraints be mitigated?
 ₋         How can a livestock market for small scale producers be developed? How can formal trade (e.g.
          cattle or buffaloes) to expand livestock market for Cambodia be fostered? What regulations are
          needed to improve the livestock market?
 ₋        How can local swine production be improved to supply local market demand? What are the
          appropriate production practices to improve swine raising? What risks and constraints do swine
          producers face? What regulations and policies are in place to minimise the import of pigs and to
          promote local producers?

(C)        DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM

1. Governance and Sub‐National Democratic Reforms:
     a) Elections (direct and indirect): What are the accountability demands from CCs and the
           mechanisms that indirect elected bodies utilize to respond to the local demands? How do
           direct and indirect elections comparatively impact on Cambodia’s political and democratic
           development? What are the implications of the indirect/ hidden elections (elections of the
           senators, village chiefs, and district and provincial councils)?
     b) Accountability: What are the relationships between two sub‐national administration tiers –
           the councils and the board of governors against a situation where the latter is accountable to
           the councils yet has the upper hand in terms of their degree of power and decision‐making vis‐
           à‐vis councils? Is the relationship between the councils and the board of governors the same
           across districts and provinces? Could the councils hold the board of governors accountable in
           accordance with the law?         What are the contributing factors to challenge the current
           arrangement in terms of power relations and accountability? What are the mechanisms to
           hold the board of governors accountable?
     c)    Functional Assignment: The new structure mandates that functions and resources are to be
           significantly delegated from the central to the municipal/district and provincial levels. Yet,
           these have up to now not been implemented. Are the delegated functions matching with the
           given mandates and the capacity of the councils? To what extend do councils have decision‐

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