- Published on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:26
The NGO Forum on Cambodia was established in the early 1980s by international NGOs campaigning for an end to the aid embargo that was imposed on Cambodia at that time.
Following the full restoration of development aid in 1993, NGO Forum began to work on a broader range of issues, such as an international ban on land mines, the creation of a permanent tribunal for crimes against humanity, and concerns about the impacts of development aid.
An international Steering Committee was retained until 1996, after which a local Management Committee became the chief decision-making body. From 1997 Cambodians were actively involved in NGO Forum, with meetings held predominately in Khmer and with Cambodians playing the dominant role in NGO Forum activities. It has had full Cambodian leadership since 2006.
Rapid growth and new issues
NGO Forum expanded its staff to meet the expectations of member organisations, with rapid growth starting in 2006. It began to strengthen cooperation with provincial NGOs and to help NGOs build advocacy-linkages from the grassroots to the national level.
Priorities have changed over time:
- In 2004–2005 a new project aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of NGO advocacy on land issues was initiated. Other projects facilitated NGO networks working on Gender, Trade and Economic Development, Environmental Awareness, Pesticides Reduction, Mekong Basin Community Rights, Resettlement and Forest Livelihoods. Later in 2004, a network of NGOs working together on indigenous minority land rights asked to come under the NGO Forum umbrella, leading to a new project under the Land and Livelihoods Programme.
- In 2005, Oxfam GB took over capacity building of the Forest Livelihoods network, but NGO Forum continued its forest rights advocacy, especially in protecting the rights of communities whose livelihoods have been negatively impacted by industrial tree plantations.
- NGO Forum developed three programmes: Development Issues Programme, Environment Programme and Land and Livelihoods Programme. Each encompasses three to five projects.
- The Core Programme was established to support the implementation of sectoral programmes by to ensure effective functioning of the NGO Forum and representation of its members.
- From 2006, issues dealt with included the environment, the campaign against landmines, the impact of development banks, women's rights, the growth of civil society and democracy, the strengthening of advocacy skills, and the need for policy makers to have easy access to information about Cambodia.
- The Land Information Centre (LIC) was established in 2006 to provide evidence-based advocacy for the Land and Livelihoods Programme. It was renamed Resource and Information Centre (RIC) in 2011.
- Changes in the Action Plan 2012–2014 included a new focus on climate change. To reduce or avoid membership and meeting overlaps, NGO Forum merged some networks. The Research and Information Centre expanded its support from the Land and Livelihoods Programme to include the Environment Programme.