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A new Global Environment Facility project to help Cambodia fisheries-dependent communities adapt to climate change

21/06/2019

CAMBODIA: The CamAdapt project – funded by the Least Developed Country Fund of the Global Environmental Facility or GEF, jointly implemented by FAO, the MoE, and FiA of the MAFF – will contribute to appropriate adaptation measures, enhancing the exiting initiatives related to fisheries and coastal management, and supporting the coastal fishery-dependent communities in their effort to adapt to climate change, through strengthening coastal ecosystems and adapting their livelihoods.

The Cambodian coastal and marine ecosystems, including mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes and estuaries, are all extremely important to Cambodia's economic development and to the livelihoods of local communities.

However, coastal fishing communities in Cambodia are amongst the most vulnerable, due to a high dependence on natural resources, direct exposure to climate vectors (i.e. storms, sea level rise and changing rainfall patterns), overall poverty, remoteness and marginalization. Women even have less adaptation options as they traditionally have less influence over the decisions, including those related to climate adaptation.

There is a range of policy, legal, and technical measures and investments taking place to support coastal development and ecosystem management. However, the current response strategies mainly focus on addressing the root causes and challenges of environmental degradation and other socioeconomic factors not always accounting for future climate change. Without additional financing to generate effective adaptation models, establish supportive frameworks and empower vulnerable communities, the anticipated challenges and costs to address them will increase due to the consequence of climate change.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)​ met with more than 60 officials and experts from the Department of Marine and Coastal Zone Conservation of the Ministry of Environment (MoE), and the Provincial Departments of Environment; the Fisheries Administration (FiA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and Fisheries Administration Cantonments, other line ministries, development partners as well provincial authorities of the four coastal provinces, namely Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong on 14th June 2019 to present the findings of Climate Adaptation and Resilience in Cambodia’s Coastal Fishery Communities (CamAdapt) consultation missions from the provincial validation workshops and community consultations, discuss and finalize all the key elements related to  the project framework, seek agreement and support by stakeholders.

In his welcoming remark, Mr Antonio Schiavone, FAO Representative a.i. in Cambodia stated that “today’s National Validation Workshop provides a great opportunity for project stakeholders to meet, discuss and agree on key final draft project documents including objectives, outcomes, outputs and implementation arrangements as well as activities and timeline”.

HE Kim Nong, Deputy Secretary General, General Secretariat of National Committee on Coastal Zone Management and Development (NCCMD) of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) noted that “today’s workshop reflects the collaboration and partnership between the government and international and local organizations, especially between MoE, MAFF/FiA and FAO to initiate the CamAdapt project that aims at strengthening the capacities of coastal fishery communities for adaptation to climate change”.

In parallel with capacity strengthening to targeted coastal fishery communities, HE Eng Cheasan, Delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Director General of the Fisheries Administration, emphasized that there was a need to build the capacity of relevant government institutions and relevant stakeholders in relation to climate adaptation. “Promoting an effective multi-stakeholder process (MSP) among key players would be beneficial for improving coordination and interaction. This will help enhance the livelihoods of local communities and make them more resilient,” he added.

The national validation workshops were succesful in gaining support from national and sub-national levels and relevant stakeholders working together to come up with prioritized project activities under the four components of the project (Capacity Development, Sustainable Ecosystem Management, Fishing Community Adaptation Capacity, and Knowledge Management). There was active participation, bringing very productive discussions, great enthusiasm, involvement and commitment, showing a readiness for taking the necessary steps to enable coastal fishery communities to adapt to climate.

Inputs, feedbacks and confirmed elements from the workshop were incorporated into the final project documents and will be submitted to the GEF Secretariat through the FAO within 2 months.

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