The United Nations in Cambodia
The United Nations (UN) in Cambodia works for peace, poverty eradication and human rights in the country. The UN is committed to enhancing development effectiveness in support of the priorities, plans and programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), civil society and other relevant partners.
The United Nations has a long history of promoting peace and advancing human development in Cambodia. The nature of UN operations has evolved over time in response to the changing needs of the country. From technical cooperation during the earliest days of Cambodia’s independence; to border relief operations, repatriation of refugees, peacekeeping and elections after the 30-year civil war; through to post-conflict reconstruction and nation building; right up to the present-day commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- 1950s - Early engagement of the UN in Cambodia. Cambodia became a Member State of the United Nations in 1955. Prior to that in 1951, Cambodia became a member of UNESCO and immediately established its own National Commission. In 1952, UN Assistance to the country began with UNICEF, followed by WHO and UNDP’s predecessor, the Expanded Programme for Technical Assistance which became UNDP in 1965.
- 1970s – Suspended operation. As the political situation deteriorated, UN operations suspended during Khmer Rouge Period (1975-1979).
- 1980s - Emergency humanitarian relief. The United Nations Border Relief Operation (UNBRO) came into existence on January 1, 1982 to provide and coordinate humanitarian assistance to Cambodian displaced persons along the Thai-Cambodian border.
- The early 1990’s - Peace-keeping & elections. In January 1990, the five permanent members of the Security Council called for a major United Nations role in bringing peace to Cambodia and announced agreement on the main elements of a political settlement to end the conflict in the country.(1975-1979). In 1991, the Cambodian parties decided to implement an unlimited ceasefire and to stop receiving military assistance. They signed in Paris the Agreements on the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict -- a peace treaty to end the instability and prepare the country for elections.
- The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (March 1992-Sept 1993) was established to ensure implementation of the Agreements. UNTAC’s mandate ended in September 1993 with the promulgation of the Constitution for the Kingdom of Cambodia and the inauguration of the new, democratically elected, Royal Government of Cambodia.
- 2000s - Post-conflict and institutional reconstruction. Entering the 21 century, UN efforts moved towards post-conflict reconstruction, national capacity building and strengthening democracy.