Cambodia: Creative Industries Support Programme


Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage is known worldwide and its tourist industry is booming. But tourism has not brought prosperity to the 5 million Cambodians who live on less than half a dollar a day. Siem Reap Province, which receives 1.5 million tourists each year, is still the second poorest province of Cambodia.

The Creative Industries Support Programme (CISP), a partnership between UN agencies and local organizations, supported indigenous and Khmer artisans in four provinces of northern and eastern Cambodia. Its aim was to revive Cambodia’s cultural assets and create jobs, spur economic growth and reduce poverty by developing the country’s creative industries.

The programme contributed to the preservation of Cambodia’s heritage, cultural diversity, and living arts while promoting their social and economic potential. It improved livelihoods, particularly for indigenous groups and women, from enhanced creative industries and boosted the commercialization of selected cultural products and services in domestic markets.

Main achievements included:
  • Some 321 producers (59% of them women) were trained in small business management and 715 artisans (69% women, 92% indigenous) were taught entrepreneurial skills, including marketing and quality control, exhibition, costing and consignment techniques. Programme participants had an 18% increase in sales of handicrafts.
  • The programme also contributed to build local capacities to design, implement and monitor policies and programmes to realize the economic and social potential of the cultural sector. It undertook an analysis of trade legislation and implementation, including validation by relevant stakeholders and experts and the provision of training to local NGO partners, traders and producers in four provinces to boost understanding of relevant trade procedures and processes.
  • A strategy to strengthen links and enhance commercialization between tourism and selected cultural products was completed and shared with the Ministry of Commerce, and market strategies were developed to promote cultural products generated in the context of the JP, with additional strategies for each partner NGO and extensive coaching sessions on marketing provided to NGO staff.
  • Funding was also provided for the implementation of business plans proposed by eight producer groups to improve market access and business linkages for their cultural products.  
  • At the policy level, the programme supported Cambodia’s Living Human Treasure (LHT) System, approved by Royal Decree in February 2010 following broad consultations involving 180 civil servants and civil society representatives and artists. The recognition of artists and craftsmen as LHTs involves the allocation of a regular financial allowance to each of them and commits beneficiaries to transmitting their knowledge. The first list of 17 LHTs was proclaimed in mid-2012, indicating the national government’s ownership of the programme's results.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Cambodia.


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 10 Sep 2008 - 30 Nov 2011
Net funded amount $3,298,053
Participating UN agencies FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO
National partners Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and Ministry of Commerce (MoC)
Share |