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Freedom, justice and solidarity are the basic principles underlying the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). The KAS is a political foundation, closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). As co-founder of the CDU and the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) united Christian-social, conservative and liberal traditions. His name is synonymous with the democratic reconstruction of Germany, the firm alignment of foreign policy with the trans-Atlantic community of values, the vision of a unified Europe and an orientation towards the social market economy. His intellectual heritage continues to serve both as our aim as well as our obligation today.
In our European and international cooperation efforts we work for people to be able to live self-determined lives in freedom and dignity. We make a contribution underpinned by values to helping Germany meet its growing responsibilities throughout the world.
We encourage people to lend a hand in shaping the future along these lines. With more than 70 offices abroad and projects in over 120 countries, we make a unique contribution to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and a social market economy. To foster peace and freedom we encourage a continuous dialog at the national and international levels as well as the exchange between cultures and religions.
Human beings in their distinctive dignity and with their rights and responsibilities are at the heart of our work. We are guided by the conviction that human beings are the starting point in the effort to bring about social justice and democratic freedom while promoting sustainable economic activity. By bringing people together who embrace their responsibilities in society, we develop active networks in the political and economic spheres as well as in society itself. The guidance we provide on the basis of our political know-how and knowledge helps to shape the globalization process along more socially equitable, ecologically sustainable and economically efficient lines.
We cooperate with governmental institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and handpicked elites, building strong partnerships along the way. In particular we seek to intensify political cooperation in the area of development cooperation at the national and international levels on the foundations of our objectives and values. Together with our partners we make a contribution to the creation of an international order that enables every country to develop in freedom and under its own responsibility.
Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Cambodia
KAS has been working in Cambodia since 1994, striving to support the Cambodian people in strengthening democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Thereby, the foundation works towards creating an environment conducive to economic and social development. All programs are conceived and implemented in close cooperation with the Cambodian partners on central and sub-national levels.
Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy with two houses of parliament – the Senate and the National Assembly -, a multi-party system, elections at national and commune level and a rule of law system. After three decades of international conflict, civil warfare and political unrest, democratic and constitutional structures are now being rebuilt. The country is in need of broad political reforms in different policy areas. To design and implement these reforms, the Kingdom of Cambodia cooperates with KAS and many other international partners.
KAS is mainly operating in the following fields:
- Administrative Reform and Decentralization
- Strengthening political parties
- Capacity building in the parliament
- Legal reform
- Media development
- Political Education and social market economy
- Foreign Policy
1. Administrative Reform and Decentralization
The promotion of decentralization and deconcentration remains an integral part of the KAS-program. In cooperation with the government, sub-national and local authorities as well as selected NGOs, KAS supports the development of self-government and self-administration at provincial, district and commune levels. KAS helps its Cambodian partners enhance efficiency and transparency of government activities and encourage people’s participation in the political process.
The first free elections at the commune level were held in 2002. KAS now assists the young communes in realizing their tasks and duties as a democratic body. At the district level KAS and international partners have addressed administrative reform through several projects: District and Provincial Councils have been established and the first (indirect) elections took place on 17 May 2009.
2. Strengthening Political Parties
KAS cooperates with the five parties represented in the parliament of the Kingdom of Cambodia on a non-partisan basis: Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), Front Uni National pour un Cambodge Indépendent, Neutre, Pacifique et Coopératif (FUNCINPEC), National Party, Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), and Human Rights Party (HRP). KAS considers well functioning democratic political parties to be vital institutions of a democratic state. KAS gives particular attention to the relationship between the parties and the parliamentary factions that poses challenges for the ongoing democratic development in Cambodia.
3. Capacity building in parliament
KAS cooperates with the Senate and the National Assembly, the two parliamentary chambers in Cambodia. The aim is to strengthen their legal position and capacities in general, in order to enable members to assume responsibility in the political process. The collaboration comprises the comparative analysis of international and Cambodian law as well as the adoption of enhanced structures and processes.
4. Legal Reform
Continuous capacity building efforts and legal reform are required to strengthen the rule of law, which include the improvement of the legislative procedure and the standardization of legal documents. In collaboration with the senate and legal advisors from CIM, KAS published an English and French version of the Cambodian Constitution. Further, KAS assists efforts to improve the rule of law by providing legal training for jurists working in the secretariats of the National Assembly and the Senate and in the ministries. Through different publications and conferences, KAS contributes to the pluralistic formation of public opinion and hopes to give an impetus for further public and academic debate on the status of the rule of law in Cambodia.
5. Media Development
In a democracy, mass media play a crucial role in safeguarding transparency through information. Therefore, supporting the development of a vital media landscape has been a priority of KAS in many countries. The main partners in Cambodia are the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) and the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).
CCJ is a major journalists association based in Phnom Penh, which offers substantive information and trainings for journalists. The Club also lobbies for a reform of the Cambodian press law as well as for the improvement of the freedom of expression.
DMC is the first academic training institution in Cambodia offering a four-year Bachelor of Arts course in journalism with the first promotion in 2005. Other partner institutions including the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Development Service (DED), the German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, Deutsche Welle and the German Embassy support this ambitious project by sending lecturers.
6. Political education and Social Market Economy
KAS provides support to a major Cambodian NGO, Buddhism for Development (BfD). This NGO provides grass roots political education and training programs including peaceful conflict resolution, democracy and decentralization, rule of law, human rights, social justice and gender equity.
BfD pursues its activities with reference to development oriented Buddhism. In its program Youth and Politics, it encourages young people to take part in the political process and provides training courses for students, party members and other youth, particularly targeting rural and poor sections of the population. KAS attaches great importance to the inclusion of the communes.
7. Foreign Policy
The International Relations Institute Cambodia (IRIC) of the Royal Academy was founded in 2006 and enjoys a special legal status granted by the Council of Ministers. KAS supports IRIC in its operation as political think tank with regard to foreign affairs and supports workshops and research projects in cooperation with the institute.
In Cambodia, KAS closely cooperates inter alia with the following national and international partners: the German Development Service (DED), the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Centre for International Migration (CIM), Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), National League of Commune Associations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Senate, Royal Academy of Law and Economics (RULE), Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and other nationale and internationale Partners. Despite its status as independent political foundation, KAS works closely with the German Embassy in Cambodia.
KAS Cambodia considers itself part of the German development cooperation with a major focus on political cooperation.