The United Nations Human Security Trust Fund is to provide US$1,082,500 for poverty reduction and slum upgrading in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
The project to be implemented from April 2004 to March 2006, will establish a Community Human Security Fund to implement 260 Community Action Plans in the areas of water and sanitation, drainage, solid waste disposal, access roads and walkways, health, and income generation.
Known as the Phnom Penh—Partnership for Urban Poverty Reduction – Phase II – Slum Upgrading, it will be implemented by UN-HABITAT. The city of Phnom Penh currently has an estimated population of 1.2 million and it is growing at a rate of 4-5 per cent per annum. It is estimated that squatters and other urban poor groups form more than 25 per cent of the of the city’s population.
In 2003, it was estimated that between 280,000 and 310,000 people live in some 560 low-income settlements. These do not include the new spontaneous settlements or relocation sites on the outskirts of the town. The people living in all of these communities are socially marginalised and economically poor. Because they lack assets and adequate paid employment, they are forced to live in makeshift housing without access to basic infrastructure and services.
It is expected that community members will be directly involved in the planning and implementation of the new programme to ensure sustainability of community facilities and help build the capacity of the community as a whole.
The project will not only assist the Municipality in achieving its own target of improving 100 slum-squatter settlements per annum - a commitment made by the Prime Minister in May 2003 - but also make a material difference in attaining Target 11 of Millennium Development Goal No. 7 of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020 – a task mandated to UN-HABITAT.
The new project builds on the Phnom Penh – Local Partnership for Urban Poverty Reduction, which has been funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security which is supported by the Government of Japan. Over the last seven years, UN-HABITAT with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom, has been assisting the Municipality of Phnom Penh in its efforts to improve living conditions of urban poor by providing water pipes, drainage and community toilets.