Strengthening climate information and early warning systems in Cambodia
The 4-year project (2015-2019) is implemented by Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is financed by the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), with a total budget of US$4.9 million. The project is also implemented with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).
The project is supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia to bridge existing gaps in institutional capacity, inter-ministerial coordination, and infrastructure through three complementary outcomes:
1. Increased institutional capacity to assimilate and forecast weather, hydrological, climate and environmental information
2. Climate and weather information available and utilized for national, sectoral and sub-national planning as well as for transboundary communication in the region
3. Strengthened institutional capacity to operate and maintain EWS and climate information infrastructure, both software and hardware in order to monitor weather.
Through this project, UNDP will support MOWRAM in re-installing / re-functioning a total of 24 Automatic Weather and Agrometeorological Stations (AWS) and 55 Automatic Hydrological Stations/ AHS (covering Surface and Ground Water).
Information obtained from the established stations will be utilized by MOWRAM to generate and disseminate early warning messages for both planning purposes and for disaster preparedness and emergency response.
The customized weather and climate information, generated with the support of the project, will be applied to design a long-term strategy of climate smart agriculture and other relevant sectoral applications. The project sites focus on communities prone to impacts of disasters and climate change.
The AWS and AHS will be installed in various locations in the Provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kampong Speu, Kandal, Phnom Penh, Takeo, Kampot, Kep, Preah Sihanouk Ville and Koh Kong.
Key project outputs
- Training-of-trainers programmes for MOWRAM forecasters to combine regional/global information and data from monitoring stations in data quality control, archiving and modeling/forecasting climate, flood and water resource information (on daily to seasonal, as well as medium to long term timescales)
- Central repository for weather, climate and environmental data to enhance historical records of climate and weather trends and related impacts
- Training programmes for planning/line ministry staff at the national and sub-national levels to apply climate information to inform climate resilient planning
- Training materials and courses available in local university for continued learning
- Upgrade of up to 25 sites with automatic meteorological stations, establish telemetry and data quality & control systems for centralized access by all climate information/early warning agencies
- Upgrade of 55 sites with automatic hydrological stations, establish telemetry and data quality & control systems for centralized access by all climate information/early warning agencies
- Training-of-trainers programmes for MOWRAM staff to build capacity in operations and maintenance (O&M) of equipment
- Sustainable financing plan for the long-term O&M of the equipment, including private and public financing arrangements
- Customized weather and climate information for targeted stakeholders to meet the short-term and long-term planning needs
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for effective and timely early warning and climate information dissemination
- Regular exchange of climate and weather information with border countries on transboundary issues, as well as best practices and lessons learned related to building climate change resilience and adaptive capacity
Cambodia is facing mounting development challenges due to climate change. Longer dry seasons and shorter, more intense rainy seasons are resulting in increased frequency and severity of disasters, i.e. floods and droughts. Recovery from such events stretches limited public resources and forces shifts in development priorities. At the same time, the climate change are, among others, impacting agricultural production, affecting household level income and putting pressure on food security.
The purpose of an early warning system is to monitor climate and environmental data on a real-time basis, detect adverse trends and make reliable predictions of possible impacts in the form of early warning information.
An effective early warning system would enable timely response to natural hazards and extreme weather event, as well as risk-informed development planning. Thus, beyond advisories in emergency situations, early warning also provides information related to the changing climatic trends, which is resulted from analyzing climate and weather data over time.