The first phase of LoCAL aims to pilot and adapt the various climate planning tools and financial instruments in the host country. Typically, a first set of projects are tested in chosen geographical areas. The second phase aims to pick up the lessons learned and start rewarding successful projects based on performance. A scaling up takes place in new geographical areas as well. But in the third phase, the new processes and tools are standardised and integrated into the national systems; then the mechanism reaches its full potential at a national scale.
With LoCAL, the NCDDS played a strategic role in the country’s fight against climate change. Since 2011, the UNCDF helped the NCDDS to build capacities at subnational level with meaningful results as Kosal Sar LoCAL-UNCDF programme specialist explains:
‘We are very proud of what we have done so far; we are not just saying that theoretically - like testing the modality and writing a report - but we can prove the output and we can see it at local level; we proved the modality and can show the reality of the product in the field’.
For Kosal, who worked on LoCAL from its early days, it was clear from the start: there needs to be a dual strategy or in his words ‘the soft and the hard approach’. The formula of building capacities while providing performance based grants helps local authorities to put in practice what they learn about climate change adaptation without having to take the financial risk of trying. Then it quite simply demonstrated to everyone in the community, the real value of climate proofing local projects. But this must be done ‘step by step, with a very careful strategy’ remarks Kosal.
In the third phase, the tools that were tested over the two previous phases, will be rolled out at national level. To support this process, LoCAL worked closely with the NCDDS and helped to produce planning and monitoring guidelines that are soon to be approved. These will be used by all subnational authorities. This is a major achievement for both the Royal Government of Cambodia and for the LoCAL UNCDF as it allows the mechanism to be scaled to the national level.
The LoCAL mechanism has already been adopted by other development partners such as IFAD and ADB who see the advantage of using the methods already tested and to benefit from the capacities already build in local governments of key districts that worked on the LGCC programme.
‘For example in Bangladesh, we just started-up and financed a programme which is carried by UNDP and UNCDF together, which is really picking up the lessons from the Cambodian experience’
Ngan Chamroeun acknowledges the role played by LoCAL and Cambodia in the global field, explaining how LoCAL moved from a local to a global programs, scaling to many countries in Asia and Africa and gained international recognition: ‘It has not just been recognised by many development partners but recently it has been recognised by the Green Climate Fund as a standard’
Now the country awaits the chance to receive the funds needed to scale in the entire country, and meanwhile, the NCDDS is scaling up LOCAL to another 100 Districts in Cambodia. There is a strong sense of anticipation. Kosal Sar puts it simply: 'The success of LoCAL is not just at the local level but it is also at global level - we started in 2 countries, Cambodia and Bhutan and now we are in twelve countries - and we have to keep going in the same way: step by step, with a very careful strategy.'