Climate change represents a major challenge for Cambodia. With a high poverty rate and a predominantly agrarian economy influenced by the hydrological behaviour of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River systems, Cambodia is ranked as one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. While the exact trend and nature of climate change is hard to predict, Cambodia is expected to experience increased variation in, and intensity of, precipitation. Over 2 million farming households, or over 8 million people, rely heavily on the climate for their livelihoods. Coastal communities and ecosystems will be affected by sea level rise. Low-lying areas will be increasingly prone to floods, while the higher areas are likely to experience more incidences of drought. Increases in temperature and humidity may create conditions of increased health risk to humans and an exacerbation of diseases in crops and livestock. These changes will amplify and compound already existing development challenges.
In the last few years, the Government of Cambodia has developed a responsive policy framework, with over 21 state agencies under the helm of a National Climate Change Committee, administered by the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment. Within this framework, the latest National Strategic Development Plan streamlines sectoral climate change strategies and action plans to guide the future of the country’s climate change response in the next decade, including at the local level.
The National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) was established in December 2008 as the inter-ministerial mechanism for promoting democratic development through decentralization and deconcentration reforms throughout Cambodia. In 2010, it adopted the first Three-Year Implementation Plan (IP3) of the National Programme on Sub-National Democratic Development. In 2014, the NCDD’s Secretariat o facilitated a consultative process to review performance and design a second three-year phase (2015–2017) of the national programme, which is now under implementation.
Objectives, results and activities
The objective of the LoCAL-Cambodia initiative, the Local Governments and Climate Change Project (LGCC), is to demonstrate the role of local governments in fostering climate change resilience and identify practical ways to mainstream climate change resilience into sub-national planning and finance systems. The project’s major outcomes and related outputs are as follows:
Adaptation measures and investments
As part of the project’s first phase, over 15 communities from 3 districts in the Takeo Province received top-up funds. With these, they elected to build elevated roads, irrigation canals, water gates, sewage systems and community ponds; run education campaigns; and train farmers to use climate-resilient rice varieties that could withstand floods or droughts.
In 2014, the eight participating sub-national administrations selected 64 sub-project activities, of which 35 were infrastructure projects (total grant allocation: USD 189,000) and 29 were non-infrastructure projects (total grant allocation: USD 78,000). Infrastructure projects were implemented through the budgets of the commune/sangkat councils and co-financed by commune/sangkat resources.
Project preparation and procurement for all infrastructure projects were completed by December 2014. It is expected that construction activities will be completed by the end of the 2014/2015 dry season.
Country Population: 15.14 million
Number of provinces: 25
Phase I (2011–2013): USD 300,000 (USD 250,000 from the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Trust Fund; USD 50,000 from UNCDF)
Phase II (2013–2015): USD 932,000 (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida)
Lead government partners (Memorandum of Understanding): National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD)
Other government partners:
Commune Sangkat Fund
LoCAL donors and in-country development partners:
Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Trust Fund; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); European Union
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‘For me it is an opportunity – the climate change experience of the LGCC helps to transfer capacities from national to local governments. The LGCC project has helped to deal with climate change at a local level”
“Beyond the immediate results, there is sustainability in the actions”
“It’s a learning by doing process. The LGCC is showing great potential in how you can actually transfer funds to the local level, which can be replicated not just in climate change but also other sectors – We’re piloting a very interesting modality here."