Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Accountability of Cambodian NGOs in Climate Change Projects: The impacts on local communities

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posted on 2021-11-15, 12:53 authored by Toch, Sothiary

The accountability of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is important to development work. Judging the performance of an NGO in providing social services and whether it has fulfilled its responsibilities with a set of standards is increasingly important due to NGOs working more in social development. In Cambodia NGOs have also become actively involved in climate change actions at all levels and have become an important player among other actors to enforce climate policies. While the influential roles of NGOs in climate policy advocacy and negotiation have been recognised, the impact of their involvement in climate change actions at the local level has been less prominent. This poses a question as to how NGO accountability impacts on local communities with the projects that they are carrying out concerning climate change issues. This thesis explored Cambodian NGOs working in partnership on climate change issues and how issues concerning their accountability to local communities can be evaluated.  This study involved seventeen NGO representatives from different NGOs who work directly in climate change projects in Cambodia. A qualitative approach was employed using interviews with the participants and this primary data collection was supplemented by documentary evidence from secondary sources. The interviews captured the experience and knowledge of the processes of working in partnership on climate change projects by the research participants. The particpants shared with me some of the benefits and difficulties in working in partnership with other NGOs on climate change issues. From their reflections I was able to discern some key findings.  I found that NGO partnership in climate change projects in Cambodia enhances effectiveness and efficiency in project implementation. Partnership strengthens the downward accountability of NGOs in carrying out the projects because inputs and resources are redirected to the ground level of operations and not diverted away from the intended beneficiaries. The partnership movement is grass roots driven, and small local NGOs are able to receive funds and directly benefit local communities. Partnerships enable funding aid to reach the local people through the sub-grant provision scheme. Funding NGOs provide capacity development and technical support throughout the project cycle to their partners so that they can have sufficient capacity to carry out climate change work at the ground level. Partnering NGOs also work with NGO network members in climate change policy advocacy and communication by bringing local voices into the process of policy development. Cambodian NGO partnerships in climate change projects significantly contributes to climate change adaptation actions. I conclude with some recommendations for how this process can be improved.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Overton, John