In the wake of the global economic crisis in 2008, the Cambodian government responded actively to the impact of the crisis by initiating various policy measures for social protection. Most importantly, it launched a National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) in 2011 with a major focus on social assistance targeted at the poor, children and the disabled. How did this social protection policy come about? Was it driven by international influence or is it an outcome of national policy ownership? In order to answer these questions, this article analyses the interactions among global and national actors in the policy dynamics of Cambodia’s NSPS; it is intended to disentangle the complex politics of global social policy at the national level.