Australia is on track to meet its commitment to the Cambodia Railway Rehabilitation Project with remaining funds redirected to removing construction bottlenecks and additional funds aimed at improving the lives of people living near the railways.
Australia became involved in this project in 2010, committing $26.9 million to the US$143 million project to repair and rehabilitate Cambodia’s railways, which will enhance economic growth and reduce poverty.
The project, which is being managed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia, has made significant gains but has also had some difficulties with delays, cost-overruns and resettlement problems.
Australia has decided to change the nature of its involvement in this project to improve its effectiveness and will now work with the ADB and the Cambodian Government to address in a targeted manner some of the construction bottlenecks that are causing the delays. AusAID’s financial involvement is being restructured to this end.
The changes will contribute to the completion of the Southern Line to Sihanoukville, in 2013 and the rehabilitation of critical aspects of the Northern Line to Thailand, which will see trains running sooner.
In addition, Australia will commit up to a further $1 million in funds to assist the people living close to the railway lines who have been affected by the project.
The additional $1 million will be used to improve community consultation and monitoring of the resettlement process, as well as helping resettled people to earn a living and manage their finances.
The changes were necessary after AusAID’s annual assessments found that slow progress was being made against the project’s objectives.
The Australian Government’s Comprehensive Aid Policy Framework requires AusAID to take measures to improve projects with low quality effectiveness ratings.
AusAID’s financing of the railway construction will end in July 2013 but the agency will continue to monitor the project’s outcomes beyond 2013, with particular attention on resettlement.
Reference : Australia changes its approach . . .