Climate Change Situation Cambodia

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Overview - Background

Because of its geography, the lacking development in economy, health services, infrastructure, etc., the prevailing severe poverty (esp. in rural areas) and because of the great dependence of the population on natural resources for their livelihoods,Cambodia is highly vulnerable when it comes to climate change (9th rank World Risk Index 2011 Vulnerability ranking catastrophes and natural disasters, 6th rank Maplecroft Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2012[1]). Vulnerability is not as immediate though as it is in Bangladesh, for instance, which is why climate change has only recently been brought on the agenda, mainly by donors. Cambodia is interested in additional funding. Focus on adaptation in infrastructure, food security, health and water management.

Vulernabilities (e.g.) - examples[2]

  • Higher precipitation rainy season – flooding, lower precipitation dry season – drought.
  • Increasing food insecurity and water stress (rice cultivation and fisheries)
  • Faster degradation of forest resources, loss of wet-forest ecosystems
  • High economic infrastructure costs
  • Increasing stress on population (esp. Women and children) due to disasters
  • Flooding and increasing salinization of coastal areas[3]
  • Increasing involuntary migration reinforced through climate change impacts
  • Increased prevalence of diseases (malaria, dengue, etc.)

Challenges (e.g.)

• Limited information on local impacts
• Low awareness in government and administration
• Limited institutional, personnel and technical capacities
• Weak cross-sector and cross-regional coordination
• Lacking suitable technologies and data
• Lacking reliable disaster control and forecast mechanisms
• Lacking budgetary funds

Main Institutions

  • Ministry of Environment (MoE) – responsible for climate issues, rather weak.
  • National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) – inter-ministerial, cross-sector body responsible for policies, strategies, plans, legal framework and instruments of climate change ((under-)secretaries of state from 19 ministries), meets twice/year or if needed), (advising Climate Change Technical Team – CCTT 16 members from 13 NCCC ministries recently established). Prime Minister Honorary President since 2009
  • Climate Change Department (CCD) (in MoE) – Secretariat of NCCC, implements UNFCCC and other climate policies tasks, 5 departments, Designated National Authority (DNA) of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), few employees, very limited capacities:

Other Ministries, Departments and Institutions[4]

At the national level, the government agencies with responsibilities related to climate change, natural resources and coastal ecosystem management and development include:

  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) which has an extensive network of staff at the national, provincial, district and commune levels. The Forestry Administration (FA) has the mandate for the management of Protected and Community Forests., responsible for REDD, Forestry, Climate Change and Innovative Financing Working Group. Given this broad mandate, there is substantial overlap with the MoE in the perception of functions and responsibilities. It is noteworthy that the 2006-2010 Strategic Agriculture Development Plan does not take climate change adaptation or mitigation into account.
  • The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MoWRAM) which has the responsibility of observing and managing all activities related to water resources and meteorology development and natural disasters.
  • The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) which is responsible for the formulation of development plans and land use plans at the national- and local-levels.
  • The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) which was established in 1995, is an inter-ministerial body chaired by the Prime Minister. The members of the committee are drawn from all concerned ministries and the armed forces. NCDM plays a key role in disaster management, working both on disaster risk reduction/prevention and response preparedness.
  • The Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) which is responsible for planning industrial water use and hydropower as well as water supply provision to provincial towns and administrating single-purpose schemes involving hydro-power.
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MPWT) which is responsible for construction of roads, infrastructure e.g. bridges and ports.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) which is responsible for: i) supplying small-scale water supply infrastructure to households; ii) primary health care; and iii) small-scale infrastructure in the rural areas in Cambodia. Although the MRD recognises the importance of adapting to climate change, the strategic plan of the MRD does not take climate change adaptation or mitigation into account.
  • The Ministry of Health (MoH), which is responsible for the development of the health sector for better health and well-being of Cambodians and thus contributes to poverty alleviation and socio-economic development. The Health Strategic Plan (2008-2015) of the MoH does not consider climate change impacts. climate change and health, vulnerability assessment with WHO
  • The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) which aims to preserve the scenic beauty and natural resources of Cambodia.
  • The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) which is the principle contact between the RGC and all donor countries, organisations and NGOs working within Cambodia.
  • The Ministry of Woman Affairs (MoWA) – secretary of state H.E. Kim Cham Roeun responsible for climate issues; special working group, very interested in linkages between gender and climate change - for Asia-Pacific Adaptation Forum 2012.pdf ppt on Gender and Climate Adaptation Mainstreaming in Cambodia (March 2012)
  • Department of Meterology – weather and climate information

Cimate Change Policies and Strategies

Effective integration of climate policy still at the beginning. UNFCCC signed in 1995, Kyoto Protocol in 2005, Initial National Communicationsent to UNFCCC in 2002.Second National Communication draft available for a long time, maybe available at COP-18: vulnerability mapping, impacts on key sectors, etc. climate issues still underdeveloped but can be partly found in the Rectangular Strategy – Phase II.

  • National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP)2009-2013 mentions climate change as a main policy area, identifies necessary activities (capacity building, mainstreaming, work on a National Strategy, establish a climate change fund , implementing and up-dating National Adaptation Programme of Action, develop CDM, climate education, improved GHG-data management, mobilizing of resources.
  • National Programme for Sub National Democratic Development 2010-2019 (NP-SNDD), Draft National Social Protection Strategy and National Strategy on Disaster Preparedness – mention Mainstreaming of climate change.
  • Cambodia Climate Change Strategy Plan (CCCSP) is being worked on by the Cambodian Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) shall be the basis of a national climate program, framework for adaptation and mitigation. Within the CCCSP line ministries shall come up with their own climate strategies. 1st draft expected by end 2011, likely later though.
  • 2nd Forum on Climate Change (3-5.10.2011): Policy Dialogue, formulating of a national policy and of a strategic plan (s.o.), High level participation.


  • Interest in Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs); mitigation activities depend mainly on financial and technological support from developed countries.
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – Focus energy and forestry: 4 registered CDM projects, 6 at/under validation: 5x biomass/ biogas, 1x hydro power, 1x electricity production process heat; emission reductions 575 kt CO2/year. 6 projects in the pipeline (3x hydro, 2x biomass: bagasse, rice husk). Main challenge: most projects too small, on household level (biogas and improved cook stoves very successful on the voluntary market) regarding high transaction and development costs. If appropriate legal framwork, political and technical feed in opportunities are in place, grid-connected solar and biomass power plants (also for bigger mini-grids), could be profitable under CDM. More possibilities maybe through Programm of Activties (PoA), also regionally (e.g. Greater Mekong Area ICS) (MoE/UNEP study 2010)
  • Forest policy and REDD+ Roadmap (till 2028) – Deforestation rate of 0.8%/Jahr, first REDD pilot projects since 2007 (3: Oddar Meancheay, Keo Seima Mondulkiri, Southern Cardamon), since 2009 observer in UN-REDD Program and member of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), 3 Mio USD of UN-REDD for Cambodia REDD+ National Program(under implementation since August 2011) in National Forestry Programme. High expectations towards REDD+ (from 2015 onwards), little focus on biodiversity and TEEB. REDD progress report by IGES/PACT ,REDD-Taskforce: MAFF, MoLM, RECOFTC, Clinton Climate Initiative, FAO, UNDP, UNEP.
  • National Green Growth Map – special secretariat and inter-ministerial working group to be formed.


  • National Adaptation Plan of Action to Climate Change'(NAPA') (2006) –intended to be main paper on adaptation on climate change, rather a list of ideas (39, around 130 Mio. USD) of adaptation projects (flooding, drought, salinisation, malaria, etc.), no coherent policy paper, low strategic focus. No regret activties, contribute to sustainable development, only some have been implemented, lacking funds.
  • Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) (January 2011) alysis (by CCD, funded by UNDP, Danida, Oxfam America) – Baseline survey on knowledge, attitudes and practices of different groups (households, decision takers, etc.) on climate change for future adaptation project (e.g. awareness raising) Media consumption, suitable information channels. Basis for the:
  • National Framework for Climate Change Education and Awareness – is currently being prepared with support from UNDP
  • Strategy for Agriculture and Water 2006-2010 (initiated through NSDP) – necessity of adaptation measures for climate change in agriculture and water. Survey on local climate data for impacts assessment in both sectors. Policies in land management, water, forestry and other natural resources shall be implemented.

Actors and Donors (fall 2011)

climate change and disaster risk management often mixed up.

  • Cambodian Climate Change Alliance (CCCA)(currently carried out by UNDP) – Cambodia was selected as pilot country by the EU Global Climate Change Alliance (2010 – 2012). Budget: around 9 Mio USD (UNDP (3 Mio USD), EU (3.2 Mio USD), SIDA (2.1 Mio USD), DANIDA (0.5 Mio USD – will leave)). Drop-in center for donor resources on capacity building with regards to climate change (national and sub-national level), 1) CC policy formulation and mainstreaming (CCCSP being prepared till End of 2011 or later) 2) CC knowledge management, awareness raising, 3) Trust Fund Management – administration of project funds by UNDP (later to be done by government/MoE). Started with 1 year delay. Parallel funding by GEF-LDCF (1.7 Mio USD) expected. Trust Fund for government and NGO projects (time pressure, problems spending the funds). Main sectors of CCCA currently: agriculture and forestry, fisheries, water resource management, health, cross-cutting issues gender and disaster risk management.
  • World Bank – Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), Part of the Strategic Climate Fund dof the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs). Increase climate resilience. Phase I (till end of 2011): institutional readiness in 3 sectors 1,5 Mio USD: agriculture, water, rural infrastructure. Phase II: grant 36 Mio. USD, soft loan 50 mio. USD.
  • ADB – until further notice: management of WB-funds (PPCR), to be incorporated in own country program.
  • AFD – irrigation project with MoRAM, 2004-2011, around 19 mio USD.
  • AusAID – Regional: climate change adaptation strategies for farming communities, 2009-2014
  • Chinese Government – Flood Protection Program together with MoWRAM 30 mio USD, 2010-2012
  • DANIDA – active in REDD for a long time, further support to the National Forestry Program. Cotribution to CCCA. Regional Contribution (Mekong River Commission CCAI). Co-Funding of KAP-study.
  • EU-DIPECHO – key donor of the CCCA, to establish relationship with NCCC and CCD. Focus policy dialoque. Bilateral program 2011-2013 will have a more concrete climate focus. Already 4 climate relevant projects (forestry and environment), funded through the IUCN climate program in Koh Kong and Kampot. Regional programs on food security (FAO) – climate change/adaptation important issue. Project for small scale farmers (2.3 mio EUR till 2015), flood and drought early warning system, establishment of disaster plans and committees, small mitigation activities. 7.5 Mio EUR, implemented by NGOs, since 2004.
  • Global Environmental Facility (GEF) – 2 adaptations projects through the Least Developed Country Funds (LDCF), identified in the NAPA. Climate resilience in agriculture and water management (MAFF/UNDP 3.1 Mio USD – till 06-2013). Vulnerability assessment of coastal zones (MoE/UNEP 4.6 Mio USD tbc) and mitigation projects (energy and forestry). Small Grants program of 50.000 USD for NGOs dealing with environment and poverty reduction. Together with UNDP support to preparation of the 2nd National Communication to the UNFCCC. Vulnerability assessment and adaptation programme for coastel zones (Koh Kong) - till 2014, around 6 Mio. USD[5]
  • JICA/Japan – solar and forestry projects (also REDD), capacity building for handling climate related natural disasters (2010)
  • KfW– interested in CDM, Climate Proofing within its infrastructure portfolio (road construction)
  • SIDA – Cambodian Community Based Adaptation Program (CCBAP) with SIDA grant of 1.6 Mio EUR implemented by UNDP GEF Small Grant Program, aiming at food security of rural households in climate change.
  • DFID and NZAID support(ed) DANIDA with the REDD pilot in Oddar Meancheay
  • UNDPkey climate actor, climate focus in new country program 2011-2015: Mainstreaming of adaptation in government and administration, promotion of renewable energies, policy advice, financing, strengthening of institutions. Cambodian Human Development Report on Climate Change 2011. Internet plattform Solution Exchange for Climate Change in Cambodia coordinates informal climate donor group (DANIDA, EU, SIDA, UNDP, UNEP) and quaterly meetings with the NGO network. Implements, together with FAO and UNEP the UN-REDD collaborative programme. 1.6 Mio USD Cambodian Community Based Adaptation Programme for NGOs, minimum 30 projects, main donor CCCA.
  • UNIDO – Mitigation: Capacity Building in waste management, energy efficiency, resource efficient production (till 2014 resp. 2013), around 4 Mio USD
  • USAID – HARVEST/Feed the Future Initiative and Global Climate Change Initiative: besides support of agricultural production and natural resource management, focus on climate resilience. Empowerment of civil society, private sector and government. 5-year program till 2015, 54 Mio USD.
  • WFP – together with MoE, preparation of a proposal for a climate change adaptation fund.
  • WHO – supports the MoH and the MoE in carrying out a vulnerability assessment on climate change and health and in preparing a National Action Plan on Environment and Health

Regional Initiatives

NGOs and Misc.

  • National Climate Change Network in Cambodia NCCN – Oxfam America. NGO network aiming at minimizing climate change impacts, increasing coordination and communications amongst parties involved; organised by members of Save Cambodia Wildlife (SCW), Development and Partnership in Action (DPA), Oxfam America, NGO Forum and Forum Syd Cambodia.Joint Climate Change Initiative on Capacity Development of Cambodian NGOs (JCCI) 2 year initiative (2010-2012) for capacity development of local NGOs (22 NGOs involved); implemented by Forum Syd, Danish Church Aid/Christian Aid (DCA/CA), Cord, Newsletter. SIDA funded 1.28 Mio USD.
  • LWDactive in capacity building: disaster risk management, climate change adaptationon community level (mainly agriculture and water).
  • Save The Children - working with the Primary Education Department and the Curriculum Development Department of the Provincial Office of Koh Kong to provide curriculum enhancement for primary school children. The aim of this work is to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into teaching material and specifically to promote communities to replant mangroves as effective ways to protect themselves from the impacts of disaster events.
  • REDD – many international NGOs (inter alia Community Forestry International (CFI), Conservation International (CI), PACT, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF)) involved in REDD pilot projects and development of the National REDD Program. The REDD project in Oddar Meancheay also issues VER (CCB and VCS).
  • Voluntary Emission Reductions (VER) Projects – for REDD VER see above:
  1. National Biodigester Programme (NBP – GIZ/BMZ Funding! was recently registered,
  2. Hydrologic (Ceramic Waterfilters) - has handed in all relevant documents,
  3. Cambodian Fuelwood Saving Project by GERES (French NGO) is already issuing VER (last two both Gold Standard).
  4. Nexus Carbon for Development which evolved from GERES‘ carbon unit, is an alliance for NGOs in the region and supports carbon project development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Further Information