UN's Bali Climate Change Conference. Photo by Oxfam International, taken on 4 December 2007. Licensed under  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

UN’s Bali Climate Change Conference. Photo by Oxfam International, taken on 4 December 2007. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Climate change is a continuing problem. In Southeast Asia, Cambodia is one of the countries that is most affected and underprepared. As it is a developing country, the majority of its people rely on agriculture for their food and livelihoods, and experts warn that changes in climate will lead to more droughts or more floods.

Cambodia’s rice farming is predominantly rain fed, and this dependence leads to its agriculture sector being significantly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Government has rehabilitated existing irrigation infrastructures and constructed new ones. In 2013, Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources, said that the irrigation systems cover a total area of 1.4 million hectares, about 63% of the country’s cultivated areas.1

However, on September 2015, the Phnom Penh Post reported that, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, 185,451 hectares in 13 provinces had been struck by drought-like conditions, which had increased from 116,129 hectares as a result of a lack of rain during the 2014 wet season.2

Cambodia’s options for adapting to climate change are few. The Kingdom has sought financial aid on climate change adaptation and mitigation from industrialized countries, which are believed accountable for contributing to climate change. For example, the Cambodia Community Based Adaptation Programme (CCBAP), funded by Sweden and AusAID, aims to enhance the community capacity on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. CCBAP granted US$ 2.8 million to 46 projects in 380 villages, 107 communes, 56 districts and 21 provinces.3

Adaptation strategies was published in 2002, and later on the Second National Communication was published in 2015. The Kingdom has identified several adaptation needs in the priority sectors of agriculture and forestry.4

  • Agriculture: adaptation suggestions including development of new high-yield crop varieties, improving crop management, developing warning systems for extreme weather events and improving irrigation.5
  • Forestry: creation of forest plantations, conservation of protected areas, and improved forest management.6

Adaptation policy

Adaptation to climate change requires the provision of legal frameworks to cope with climate change impacts.7

Cross-sectoral policies relevant to climate change in Cambodia include the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2014–2018. This discusses climate change as a main policy area, identifies necessary activities: capacity building, mainstreaming, work on a national strategy, establishing a climate change fund, implementing and up-dating the National Adaptation Program of Action, develop CDM, climate education, improved GHG-data management and mobilizing resources.

Mainstreaming climate change policy is also mentioned in the National Program for Sub National Democratic Development 2010–2019 (NP-SNDD), Draft National Social Protection Strategy and National Strategy on Disaster Preparedness.8

The National Green Growth Roadmap 2009 proposed possible paths for short, medium, and long‐term implementation of green growth in Cambodia. This improves resilience and decreases vulnerability to climate change.9

The National Adaptation Plan of Action to Climate Change (NAPA) aims to provide a framework to guide the coordination and implementation of adaptation initiatives through a participatory approach, and to build synergies with other relevant environment and development programs.10

Cambodia’s Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014–2023 creates a national plan to support sustainable development in Cambodia and reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.11

Regional initiatives

The Mekong River Commission’s Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI) is a collaborative effort among the MRC member countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, to demonstrate and share adaptation strategies. With its emphasis on a basin-wide approach, the initiative ensures that climate change adaptation is harmonised with effective strategies and plans at various levels and is applied at priority locations throughout the basin.12

Building on existing assessment methodologies, the GMS Core Environment Program (CEP) developed a participatory framework to assess climate vulnerability and identify adaptation options in rural GMS communities. This work aimed to demonstrate how a step-by-step framework can help translate available scientific information into adaptation options and inform the integration of climate change considerations in community-level planning.13

Last update: 29 February 2016

Related to adaptation



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