REPORT: Mainstreaming climate change resilience into development planning in Cambodia
Between November 2011 and October 2012, government staff from diverse backgrounds came together at a course facilitated by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) with support from CDKN to share and reflect on their countries’ experience and needs around integrating climate change into development planning. Based on these discussions, they identified three building blocks for successful mainstreaming: an enabling environment, policies and planning, and projects and programmes.
The enabling environment for mainstreaming includes the political will to make climate policy and the information services that guide it. The second block, planning and policy, includes the policy frameworks together with institutional arrangements and finance mechanisms. The projects and programmes block takes mainstreaming to the project level. The three blocks are non-hierarchical and non-sequential; in some cases, strategic planning led by technocrats may come before high-level political will, or a country may be pursuing important development goals mainly through individual projects.
This country paper, authored by Phirum Am, Emanuele Cuccillato, Johnson Nkem and Julien Chevillard reflects Cambodia’s experience against this building blocks framework.
Cambodia has been ranked as the country second most affected by extreme-weather events in 2011, with a GDP loss of 3.1 per cent by one estimate (Harmeling, 2012). The government is fully committed to global efforts to address climate change. Cambodia ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995. The Initial National Communication (INC) was submitted to the 8th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in 2002, and the second is being prepared. It also developed a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), approved in 2006.
There is a growing awareness at the highest political level of the threat that climate change poses to development. For example, Prime Minister Hun Sen engages with climate change issues, as do other high-ranking ministry officials. Evidence of the political will to deal with climate change includes action taken during the past decade for developing appropriate institutional arrangements. The National Climate Change Committee (NCCC), chaired by the Prime Minister, was established in 2006, involving representatives from 20 ministries and three government agencies.
A number of initiatives have contributed to improved understanding of current and future vulnerabilities to climate change; vulnerability assessments have been conducted at national level, but tools and approaches used so far in Cambodia are largely limited to assessment of impact and vulnerability, while screening tools used to identify the climate risk to public sector development
interventions and investments have not been used(PPCR, 2013a).
The development policy framework is defined by the government’s Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency 2008–2013, and the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2009–2013. The four key strategies for accelerating economic growth have been defined as enhancement of agriculture, private sector development and employment, infrastructure, and capacity building and human resources. The NSDP builds on other key national plans and strategies intended to ensure Cambodia’s rapid progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
With support from various donors, Cambodia has implemented a number of projects to address climate change mainly through the NAPA and disaster
management projects. During 1995–2003, Cambodia has implemented 98 such projects to address institutional strengthening, infrastructure development and human resources. As the NAPA was being written, surveys indicated that in 2006 overall preparedness for extreme climate events and adaptation was low.
In conclusion climate change priorities have been articulated in the NAPA and in the CCCSP. Entry points for mainstreaming climate change into sub-national planning scales have been identified. These include the Strategic Framework for Decentralisation and De-concentration under the National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development, and the development of a guideline for mainstreaming climate change into sub-national planning, which is currently being developed through a consultative process. There is also the opportunity for the CCCSP to be integrated into the NSDP in the next planning cycle. Importantly, policymakers have access to initial information on the costs of climate change. Currently there is a shift from project- to programme-based approaches and community-level interventions.
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About the Authors:
Phirum Am is Deputy Head of the Cambodian Agricultural Land Resources Management Department, and a member ofthe Climate Change Technical Team.
Emanuele Cuccillato is Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser for the Cambodian Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Alliance Programme.
Johnson Nkem is Technical Specialist for the Cambodian Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Alliance Programme.
Julien Chevillard is Trust Fund Administrator for the Cambodian Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Alliance Programme.