On 13 January 2022, Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) in collaboration with UNESCO,  launched the initiative to conduct an Assessment of Internet Development in Cambodia using UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators. This assessment will provide a holistic diagnosis of Cambodia’s Internet policies and digital environment.

As part of this partnership, CADT will assess the situation of the Internet in Cambodia based on the R.O.A.M principles developed by UNESCO.  The R.O.A.M -X principles refer to an internet that is human-Rights based, Open, Accessible, and governed by Multistakeholder participation. The assessment will also look into the situation of the internet regarding: gender equality, children’s specific needs, sustainable development, trust, and security as well as legal and ethical aspects.

Once the assessment is completed, it will be published as a National Report, which will present a comprehensive and substantive understanding of the national Internet environment and policies; and based on that, provide policy recommendations and practical initiatives that will enable Cambodia to improve the national internet ecosystem as advanced ICTs evolve.

His Excellency Chun Vat, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications highlighted the importance of the research to support the implementation of Cambodia’s “Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035” which was launched by the Government in 2021. H.E Chun Vat pointed out that “this study, which will provide evidence-based policy recommendations from a multistakeholder perspective, will serve as a mirror reflecting and adjusting action along the way of the Framework’s implementation. More importantly, the findings of the assessment will contribute and provide the foundation for the design of future digital policies”.

During the event, CADT and UNESCO held the first meeting of the Multistakeholder Advisory Board (MAB), a mechanism composed of experts from different fields of expertise and sectors of Cambodian society, that will contribute with their technical expertise to the assessment. The board includes representatives from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Information, civil society organizations, media, the private sector, regulators, and UN agencies.

The President of CADT, Dr. Seng Sopheap, appreciated the diversity of representation in the Advisory Board: “I would like to thank the members of the Multistakeholder Advisory board for participating in this research endeavor to ensure that this assessment is inclusive and holistic. I hope that the results from this assessment will benefit future policy-making and will serve as a chance to benchmark on the development of Internet Universality in Cambodia in comparison to international standards.”

UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, Sardar Umar Alam, explained that this assessment is part of UNESCO’s ongoing work in Cambodia to promote universal access to information and freedom of expression. Mr. Alam said that “In the current global context, developing an internet that is open, accessible, and rights-based is critical to enable the further development of Cambodia and reduce inequalities. UNESCO works to create inclusive knowledge societies, which shall be built on freedom of expression, universal access to information, respect for cultural diversity and quality education for all”.

This initiative is supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and the project “Strengthening Media Development and Freedom of Expression in Cambodia” which is being implemented by UNESCO with support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

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