The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated in mainland Southeast Asia with a population of over 14 million people, and with approximately 80 percent of this population living in rural areas. In Cambodia – which is ranked the 12th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change by the Global Climate Risk Index 2020 – increases in the frequency of floods, droughts, and windstorms in recent years cost 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 from loss and damages. The agriculture sector makes up a third of GDP and employs 57 percent of the country’s labor force. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s population lives along the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake, where flooding occurs due to increased water levels between early July and early October. Disruptions to logistical corridors caused by floods have a profound impact on agricultural supply chains, both domestically and for international trade. At the same time, 39 percent of the country's total GHG emissions come from the agriculture and land use sectors.
Cambodia initiated its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Financing Framework and Implementation Plan in 2017. Cambodia’s developing agri-business environment also needs assistance for enhancing sustainability, and the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (CPSA) is paving the path for the sector, for targeted interventions in its value chains, such as rice, sugar cane, and cassava. Cambodia submitted its updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC in December 2020, which outlined adaptation and mitigation goals in the agriculture and land use sectors. The NDC has 17 prioritized adaptation actions under agriculture, focusing on agribusiness, the development of rice and other cash crops, horticulture, livestock aquaculture production. The NDC adaptation component outlined the need for agriculture support services, capacity building, enhanced institutional arrangements, the development of new technologies and increased research. Cambodia prioritized mitigation actions under the forestry and other land use (FOLU) sectors intending to reduce 50 percent of emissions by 2030 via the REDD+ programme. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and other relevant ministries will also undertake a bio-digester programme as part of the mitigation actions outlined in the updated NDC.
A key barrier for climate actions in Cambodia is limited resources: human, technical and financial resources, which could be enhanced with support from development partners and private sector financing. There is also a need to enhance capacity and technical skills in data and information collection and management, particularly for Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV). In Cambodia, some of the other barriers include limited staff capacity at the sub-national levels for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions, as well as coordination with line ministries and other stakeholders (civil society, community-based organizations, NGOs, and the private sector) to ensure that efforts and resources are concerted, and synergies are leveraged.
Cambodia aims to increase adaptive capacity for sectors and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the medium-to-long term of its sustainable development. The SCALA programme in Cambodia is being designed to help address several of these barriers through, for example, capacity building and strengthening the evidence base for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation activities. In addition, with support from the SCALA programme, climate change considerations will be integrated into sectoral planning, budgeting and coordination, and linkages with key stakeholders such as the private sector and community-based organizations will be developed. Cambodia will be supported by the SCALA programme until 2025 to strengthen coordination on climate action between ministries, the private sector and community-based organizations to support transformative change in the agriculture and land use sectors in alignment with adaptation and mitigation priorities outlined in the NDC and NAP.