Cambodia is a Least Developed Country, regularly ranked amongst the countries most vulnerable to climate change. This is due to a combination of its geography, relatively high reliance on agriculture, forestry and fisheries (30% of GDP) and low adaptive capacity resulting from the shortage of technically skilled human resources, institutional capacities and adaptation financing. Over 80% of the population live in rural areas and are overly exposed to increasing and more unpredictable floods and prolonged droughts. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and limited water management systems further compromise the coping strategies of rural communities and increase food security concerns. With urbanization and industrialization identified as major trends for the coming decade, additional climate change-related challenges are also emerging both in relation to adaptation and mitigation in urban areas.
Difficulties in managing climate risks are aggravated by the minimal availability of reliable climate information. 42% of Cambodian communes are ranked as either vulnerable or highly vulnerable to climate change. Women and children are among the most vulnerable groups, but very little information is available on the distributional impacts of climate change in Cambodia. A recent study led by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Council for Sustainable Development indicated that without additional action, Cambodia’s GDP could be almost 10% lower than planned by 2050, due to the impacts of climate change, with outdoor (agriculture, construction) and industry workers being particularly vulnerable to heat impacts.
Cambodia is a very small contributor to global GHG emissions (less than 0.1%), but the country is committed to contributing to mitigation actions in the context of rapid economic growth (7% per annum) and industrialization. This commitment is recent, and there is no roadmap yet to implement Cambodia’s mitigation targets under its Nationally Determined Contribution. Recent public perception studies show that awareness of climate impacts and political support for climate action has increased in recent years.
The Cambodia Climate Change Alliance is a partnership between UNDP, Sweden, the European Union, and the government of Cambodia through the National Council for Sustainable Development. It has supported the climate change response in Cambodia since 2010 through a mix of technical assistance and financing for innovative projects on the ground. The third phase of support was launched in July 2019 for the period up to June 2024.
Key Expected Outputs
At the impact level, the programme will contribute to a Cambodia development path that is increasingly climate-resilient and low carbon, measured by the level of GHG emissions reduced with programme support and the number of beneficiaries of adaptation measures supported by the programme.
More specifically, the programme will contribute to a scaled-up response to climate change, with a focus on coordinating institutions (National Council for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Economy and Finance), and five strategic sector ministries (environment, public works and transport, rural development, mines and energy, and education, youth and sports).
This will be done through the achievement of three main outcomes:
Outcome 1: Relevant climate information is generated in a reliable and timely manner, suitable to sectors and targeting specific needs.
Outcome 2: Tools are developed and implemented for the effective mainstreaming of climate change into policies, regulatory frameworks, programmes and budgets of priority sectors.
Outcome 3: National capacities for the mobilizing, coordinating and tracking of public and private climate change resources are strengthened.
Achievements to Date
The main achievement for the CCCA3 in 2020 was the successful support of the preparation of the Cambodia updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which was submitted to the UNFCCC. The new document improves on the first NDC in several ways, including a much more extensive consultation process with ministries, civil society, development partners, and the private sector, resulting in better alignment with sectoral strategies and targets, and ultimately more national ownership. The updated NDC also includes cross-sectoral issues such as youth, private sector engagement and gender. The CCCA3 supported the Department of Climate Change to coordinate extensive partnerships with World Bank, GGGI, UNWOMEN, UNICEF, UNDP, and the NDC Partnership to deliver this NDC update. The NDC presents an updated business as usual scenario and updated emissions reduction targets linked to a detailed list of mitigation actions. The AFOLU target is in line with the recently approved REDD+ strategy, and for the first time, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for 2030 have been included. In 2021, the CCCA3 will focus on the NDC tracking systems and addressing data gaps for monitoring.
The Climate Change Action Plans (CCAPs) of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), and the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) are finalized. The CCCA3 provided technical support to the process and recruited additional technical consultants to enhance the formulation of the plans, including harmonizing the process with the updated NDC process.
The vulnerability index and the indicator of people affected by extreme climate events have been updated with the data for 2017, 2018, and 2019 in collaboration with the NCDD Secretariat and using data from the commune database (CDB). The indicator related to GHG emissions (2016) is also updated on the official climate change data portal.
Regarding the research partnerships supported by the CCCA3, three partnerships with the ITC, the University of Battambang (UBB), and the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) are at the implementation stage. All partnerships include cooperation with international research institutions to build local capacities and are connected to government priorities, respectively impacts of heat on human health, climate-resilient agricultural soil management, and climate-resilient infrastructures.
The five target ministries (MME, MRD, MPWT, MoEYS, and MoE) are now implementing their respective CCCA-supported projects, focused on off-grid solar and energy efficiency, resilient water infrastructures, promotion of e-bikes, climate-resilient schools and improved monitoring of industrial GHG emissions.
12 innovation grants have been funded to date and are currently ongoing in a variety of sectors, including but not limited to: energy efficiency in buildings, electric mobility and ride-sharing; climate-smart solutions for agriculture and livestock, climate-sensitive community forestry savings schemes, clean cooking solutions, and resilient access to drinking water in rural areas.