Alt text for imageA mother raises her son on her shoulder to read educational poster about wildlife and forest conservation. (Photo: UNDP Cambodia)

In early 2010, UNDP formed an alliance with the EU, Sida and Danida to assist the government in drawing up action plan for responding to climate change impacts. The alliance supports Cambodia to raise funds from the Global Environment Facility’s Trust Fund and Least Developed Country Fund to address critical threats such as biodiversity loss and climate change. At the community level, UNDP, with funding from GEF’s Small Grants Programme, implement projects that designed to improve people’s livelihoods as well as their ability to better adapt to harsh climatic events.

In response to the challenges in forestry sector, UNDP, working together with FAO and UNEP, supports the government to build readiness for REDD+ implementation, including development of necessary institutions, policies and capacity. This arrangement would help Cambodia in working toward achieving its national target of maintaining 60 percent forest cover, which is a key indicator for the Cambodia Millennium Development Goal 7.

On Energy sector, UNDP through its Sustainable Forest Management project and in collaboration with GERES, is aiming to create the basis for sustainable wood-energy efficiency technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. UNDP also supports the country need assessment and readiness in energy sector in response to the UN’s Secretary General’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All in alignment with the national priorities.

Key Facts

There are 23 protected areas totaling 3.1 million hectares established under the law in Cambodia. This includes the Cardamom Mountains and three core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve

In 2010, forest cover amounted to 57.7 percent of the total land area in Cambodia, dropping below the CMDG target of 60 percent. It continues to drop annually by 1.3 percent.

Cambodia’s mean surface temperature has increased by 0.8°C compared to 1960 and the mean monthly temperature is predicted to increase between 0.013 °C to 0.036°C per year, depending on the location, by 2099  . Increase in temperature is likely to affect agricultural productivity. According to the International Rice Research Institute, rice grain yield declined by 10 percent for each 1oC increase in temperature in the dry season.

In 2012, about 36 percent of Cambodians have access to electricity (Phnom Penh, which has around 10 percent of the population, uses more than 85 percent of total electricity consumed) and 94 percent of the population living in rural areas relies on wood, charcoal, car batteries and kerosene .

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather is expected to increase with changing climate conditions, and cause severe damage to rice harvests. Floods have accounted for 70 percent of rice production losses between 1998 and 2002, while drought accounted for 20 percent of losses. The recent flash flood in 2011 affected 354,217 households or 1.77 million people in 18 provinces in Cambodia . Total costs of losses and damages were $624.5 million with infrastructure and agriculture sectors absorbing the greatest portion .