Disaster preparedness and emergency response policy and administration

In the World Risk Index for 2020, Cambodia was ranked as the 16th most vulnerable country in the world out of 181 countries listed.1 Global climate changes and ongoing disasters such as storms, floods and droughts are big challenges partly because of a lack of coping and adaptive capacities.2 The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) leads the action plan for disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Cambodia.3 Internal laws and international agreements, policies and strategic plans shape Cambodia’s policies on disaster risk reduction (DRR). Those legal frameworks and plans are developed to mitigate, prepare, respond, recover, and rehabilitate after disasters.

Cambodia floods in 2011. Photo by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, taken on October 11, 2011. Under license CC BY-SA 2.0.

Sendai Framework (2015–2030)

The Sendai Framework, a global UN initiative, is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement. It recognizes that the state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. Four priorities are stated in the framework.

  • Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk
  • Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
  • Priority 3: Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
  • Priority 4: Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.4

Law on Disaster Management (2015)

The disaster management law was adopted in 2015, and its objective is to regulate disaster management in Cambodia:

  • Prevention, adaptation, and mitigation in the pre-disaster period due to natural or human-made causes.
  • Emergency response during the disaster
  • Recovery in the post-disaster period.5

The law is linked to two key regional and international frameworks, the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and the Sendai Framework. Cambodia has not established a new national platform for DRR but nominated the NCDM as the national focal point under the Sendai Framework. The greater emphasis on the aspects of disaster management under the disaster management law may open further opportunities for Cambodia to fully utilize the guidance and tools available to it as a participant in the Sendai Framework.6

ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) 2015

The agreement was created in 2015, and its objective is to provide effective mechanisms to achieve a substantial reduction of disaster losses in lives and the social, economic, and environmental assets of the parties and to respond to disaster emergencies through concerted national efforts and intensified regional and international cooperation. AADMER contains provisions on disaster risk identification, monitoring and early warning, prevention, and mitigation, preparedness and response, rehabilitation, technical cooperation and research, and mechanisms for coordination. It simplifies customs and immigration procedures. Cambodia has entered disaster management obligations through AADMER.7 The disaster management law designates the NCDM as the national lead agency on disaster management, so the relevant institutional roles could be regarded as part of its core mandate.8

National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (NAP-DRR) 2014–2018

The NAP-DRR 2014-2018 was drafted and adopted in 2014 to replace the Strategic National Action Plan (SNAP) for DRR 2008–2013.9 The goal of this plan is to build a resilient nation and local communities to pursue sustainable development. NAP-DRR aligns its policy priorities with key regional policies (AADMER) and key national policies (Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2014–2018, the Climate Change Response Strategic Plan 2014-2023, the National Education Strategic Plan 2009-2013, Women’s Development Plan, and the National Agriculture Strategy).

The NAP-DRR 2019–2023 has been drafted, but it has not been published on the internet yet. In May 2019 there was a consultative workshop for developing a new 5-year strategic national action plan for DRR 2019-2023 with the support from United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the NCDM. 78 participants attended the workshop from 22 ministries including key members of the NCDM and provincial committee for disaster management across 18 provinces as well as UNDP.10

National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP 2014–2018)

The NSDP is the key policy document that outlines Cambodia’s overall development goals and provides the strategy for achieving them. The NSDP dedicates sections for identifying and addressing DRR challenges and financial resources to be allocated to disaster risk management.11 The NSDP has been developed to serve as the implementation tool or roadmap for the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy for growth, employment, efficiency, and equity. The NSDP recognizes disaster risk management, climate change, and gender as cross-cutting issues.

National Adaptation Programme of Action to Climate Change (NAPA)

The NAPA was endorsed in 2006, and its objectives are:

  • To understand the main characteristics of climate hazards in Cambodia (flood, drought, windstorm, high tide, saltwater intrusion, and malaria.)
  • To understand coping mechanisms to climate hazards and climate change at the grassroots level.
  • To understand existing programmes and institutional arrangements for addressing climate hazards and climate change.
  • To identify and prioritize adaptation activities to climate hazards and climate change.12

The NAPA addresses the urgent and immediate needs and concerns of people for adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change in areas that include human health, agriculture, water resources, and coastal zone.

Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan (CCCSP) 2014–2023

This strategic plan is Cambodia’s first-ever plan to combat climate change over a ten year period. CCCSP is a comprehensive plan to promote cooperative efforts between different sectors in Cambodia to meet the SDG 13.2 target. Its objectives are to:

  • Improve food, water, and energy security to increase climate resilience.
  • Reduce the vulnerability of sectors, regions, gender, and health to the effects of climate change.
  • Ensure climate resilience of critical ecosystems, biodiversity, protected areas, and cultural heritage sites.
  • Promote the country’s long-term development, encourage low-carbon planning and technologies.
  • Enhance climate change response capacity, knowledge, and awareness.
  • Reduce loss and harm through promoting adaptive social protection and participatory ways.
  • Strengthen institutions and coordinating mechanisms for national climate change responses.
  • Strengthen collaboration and active participation in regional and global climate change.13

Law on Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 and Other Deadly Infectious Diseases

This law was adopted on March 11, 2011 to set out health and administrative measures to combat and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other deadly communicable diseases to protect lives, public health and to minimize the impact of the disease on Cambodia’s social and economic sectors.14

The National Committee for Combating COVID-19 was established to involve relevant ministries in identifying policy and strategy to combat COVID-19 and examining implications for political, social, and economic sectors.15 During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has issued many circulars to reduce, prevent, and control the disease including Circular No. 373 on measures to contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-1916 and Circular No. 01 on measures to prevent and control the outbreak of COVID-19.17 The government has also released a lot of decisions on COVID-19 measures. COVID-19 not only impacts people’s lives but also the economy. To provide support to stabilize the lives of poor and vulnerable families during the fight against COVID-19, the government issued a sub-decree on the implementation of a cash assistance program.18

Interactions between the national policies, plans, and frameworks by sector

Sectoral AimPolicies linked to Sendai Framework for DRRPolicies linked to SDGPolicies linked to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
National DevelopmentStrategic National Action Plan for DRR (NAPDRR) 2019-2023Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014-2023)
National Strategic Development Plan (2019-2023)
National Strategic Plan on Green Growth (2013-2030)
Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-2023
Disaster and Climate Risk ReductionStrategic National Action Plan for DRR (NAPDRR) 2019-2023National Action Program for Land Degradation (2010-2020)
National Forest Programs (2010-2029)
Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2018)
Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014-2023)
Vulnerability ReductionStrategic National Action Plan for DRR (2008-2013)
Strategic National Action Plan for DRR (NAP-DRR) 2019-2023
National Strategy for Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (2011-2025)
Plan for Action for DRR in Agriculture (2014- 2018)
National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), 2006
Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014-2023)

Relevant laws, sub-decree, declarations, circulations, and plans

  • Law on the Management of the Nation in Emergencies stipulates the means of proceeding with and conditions for declaring a national emergency to maintain national security and public order. The aim is to protect the lives and health of people as well as property and the environment.19
  • Sub-Decree on the Establishment of Cambodia Food Reserve System covers the provision of food for people affected by disasters or other emergencies.20
  • Declaration on Institutionalizing the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change: institutionalizing climate change adaptation, DRR, and management in ASEAN.21
  • Circular on flood preparedness and response: advises the relevant ministries, institutions, and local authorities on taking necessary measures to prepare for flooding caused by the Kajiki storm, to minimize hardships and damage to citizens property and their lives.22
  • National Strategic Plan on Green Growth 2013–2030: promotes​ the​ sustainable​ long-term​ economic,​ social​ and​ environmental​ development​ of​ the​ country.​23
  • Guideline for Management and Treatment of COVID-19 in the Kingdom of Cambodia.24
  • Strategic Plan for the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign to establish socio-economic immunity in Cambodia by 2021.25
  • Master plan for COVID-19 vaccination campaign nationwide.26
  • Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals Framework 2016-2030: endorses the expanded and more ambitious agenda set out by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2016–2030.27

Related to disaster preparedness and emergency response policy and administration

References

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