For the fifteenth successive year, the United States confirms its enduring support for building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Cambodia
The United States provided more than $63 million in foreign assistance to Cambodia in 2005. As in 2004, we provided through USAID approximately $57 million to Cambodia in 2005—the highest levels since 1993. We channel this funding mainly through cooperative agreements or outright grants to a network of non-governmental organizations, both international and Cambodia. In 2005, major sectors in Cambodia receiving USAID funding included health ($29.3 million), basic education ($6 million) and good governance ($19.8 million). Additional funding came from a variety of other U.S. agencies. The Department of State provided $3.8 million for de-mining; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided $2.5 million, and the Department of Labor provided more than $2 million to address the twin horrors of child labor and trafficking. Other US programs support wildlife preservation and assist in cultural preservation at Angkor Wat. Although CG meetings typically focus on bilateral government assistance, let me also pay tribute to the extensive network of private voluntary organizations working in Cambodia, many of which are funded by donations made by private American citizens.
The level of official US assistance to Cambodia for 2006 will depend on several factors. These include both Cambodia’s own performance and Congressional approval. Preliminary figures for 2006 indicate that US funding for Cambodia during 2006 will exceed $61 million. Some $52.8 million of this total will be provided through USAID, including $32.5 million for health, $1.9 million for education and $18.3 million for good governance. Additionally, $4 million is through the State Department for de-mining; $2.3 million from CDC for health, and more than $2.2 million from the Department of Labor. As in the past, much of the funding made available this year (2006) will actually be disbursed during the following fiscal year (2007).
Let me conclude by noting that our $61 million CG pledge this year is more than a third larger than the $44 million pledged during the last CG in December 2004. Indeed, this year’s USAID figure alone is considerably higher than the $44 million pledged at the last CG. It is also gratifying to note the breadth and scale of other US assistance programs working in Cambodia which for the first time are now being included in the formal US pledge total.
This pledge represents our unwavering commitment to the Cambodian people. We welcome the positive and encouraging economic developments over the past year, including impressive expansion in both tourism and the garment industry. We also note and commend the recent positive steps taken to address important governance concerns, especially the decision to decriminalize defamation and initiate a genuine dialogue with the political opposition. In order to ensure that the assistance pledged is most effectively utilized to develop Cambodia and improve the lives of its people, there must be sustained political dialogue and even greater efforts by the Cambodian government to strengthen accountability and combat corruption. Cambodia benefits tremendously when all its citizens participate in the economic, political and social life of the country. We welcome and applaud measures taken to strengthen and deepen that participation.