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Improving Livelihoods: Public-Private Dialogues in Cambodia
Despite a growing manufacturing sector, roughly 92 percent of poor Cambodians still live in rural areas and depend on rapidly depleting natural resources like land, fish, forests and clean rivers for their livelihoods. Access to these resources is tenuous, and most rural Cambodians have limited ability to influence local authorities on their rights, and face fierce competition over resources from developers and private interests. Three years ago, The Asia Foundation launched the Civil Society and Pro-Poor Markets Program to raise the voices of these rural poor and to increase the power of civil society organizations in Cambodia. The program brings together rural community groups with local and national officials to discuss obstacles that limit communities' access to natural resources and to explore solutions. The program also emphasizes responsible, ongoing management of natural resources and diversifying livelihood opportunities for a more sustainable future.