Cambodia Climate Change Alliance - Phase III

At a glance

Cambodia remains among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and the Government has long recognised the importance of responding to it. The Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) programme was launched in 2010 and is currently in its second phase, ending in June 2019. It is fully aligned with national institutional arrangements for climate change, and supports the implementation of the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan (CCCSP, 2014-23). Under the leadership of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), the first two phases of CCCA have shown very encouraging results and were instrumental in building key elements of the climate change response over the past years, including climate change plans at national and sector levels, a financing framework, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and support to a first generation of climate change projects. However, constrains to an effective and lasting climate change response have been identified. They include the need to deepen the programme’s impacts and ensure their sustainability, to consolidate achievements in key sectors, to expand mitigation efforts, to further capacity development and innovation including at sub-national levels, to promote active engagement from relevant national stakeholders including Academia/research bodies and the private sector, and to mobilize and sustain climate financing. In alignment with the NDC vision, the specific objective of CCCA over the 2019-2023 periods is to scale-up the Cambodian response to climate change in strategic sectors.

2019-07-01 to 2024-06-01
Active programmes
Total budget
10,00 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

Cambodia is highly vulnerable to climate impacts as a result of its geography, high reliance on agriculture and fisheries, socio-economic fragility and a low adaptive capacity resulting from the shortage of technically skilled human resources, institutional capacities and adaptation financing. Over 80% of the population live in rural areas and is overly exposed to increasing and more unpredictable floods and prolonged droughts. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and unfit water management systems further compromise the coping strategies of rural communities and increase food insecurity concerns. With nearly 30% of GDP dependent on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, the Cambodian economy is also highly vulnerable to climate impacts. At micro and macro levels, difficulties to manage climate risks are aggravated by the very limited availability of reliable climate information.

Recent public perception studies show that awareness of climate impacts and political support for climate action has increased in recent years. The development of a new National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) for the period 2019-2023 provides an opportunity to fully mainstream climate action into the national development strategy and in key sectoral plans.


After two decades of sustained economic growth, with an average annual GDP increase of 7%, Cambodia achieved lower-middle income status in 2015 and currently ambitions graduation as an upper middle-income country by 2030. Tourism, garment and construction industries are expected to keep fuelling economic growth sustained by a gradual diversification of the economy, further industrialization and deployment of infrastructure. Despite reliance on international assistance, political and economic stability have favoured Foreign Direct Investment, overwhelmingly led by China and followed by other regional investors. Despite job creation in textile industry, the Cambodian economy doesn't create enough jobs for its young but generally unprepared workforce (median age is 25 years) and many migrate to neighbouring countries such as Thailand.

The steep economic growth in Cambodia comes with an exponential increase of construction projects, industrial expansion and infrastructure development, largely led by private and foreign investors. Yet, it is Government institutions that are responsible to ensure that the country's development path is inclusive (the most vulnerable are not left behind) and sustainable (economic growth is decoupled from carbon-intensity). A number of challenges exist in the country's institutional framework that could hinder Cambodia's sustainability. Incentive schemes that could unlock a low-carbon growth with development co-benefits are missing. Technical and analytical capacities to assess policy options and to enforce regulations are lacking thus opportunities to climate-proof investments and adopt low-carbon paths go untapped. Responsible private investors ready to embark on green solutions cannot benefit from an enabling policy framework. Policy-makers and planners (at sectoral, sub-national level) often lack the information and the knowledge they need to drive effective climate responses because the capacity to generate, manage and use climate information is weak.

To be able to leapfrog into a climate resilient and low carbon development path, three drivers have been identified: the capacity to generate, manage and use climate information, the institutional capacity to transform the policy framework into a climate-sensitive one and the capacity to mobilise financing and shift investment decisions towards sustainability.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
6,000,000.00 €

Specific objective

Cambodian response to climate change in strategic sectors is scaled-up (public works and transport, energy, environment, education and rural development).

  • Expected Outcome 1: Relevant climate information is generated in a reliable and timely manner, is suitable to sector and target specific needs
  • Expected Outcome 2: Tools are developed and implemented for the effective mainstreaming of CC into policy/regulatory frameworks, programmes and budgets of priority sectors.
  • Expected Outcome 3: National capacities for the mobilization, coordination and tracking of public and private climate change resources are strengthened.


Through Outcome 1, the main activities are:

  • Address persistent information gaps (to better inform decision-makers):  by completing national/regional down-scaling of climate projections based on scenarios/trends (integration of Copernicus Emergency Management System mapping); developing vulnerability assessments: gender-specific, sector-wide, subnational level; updating/completing of GHG inventories: sector specific and broader coverage (baselines).
  • Manage more effectively the existing climate knowledge (to better equip the institutions): by strengthening NCSD's data-portal with user-friendly contents, and enhanced access; enriching the knowledge repository: systematisation of pilots' lessons, stocktaking of tools; facilitating the sharing of experience/best practice across sectors and at regional level (S/S).
  • Facilitate the feeding of climate information/knowledge into planning and programming processes: by assessing the climate data/research needs of key sectors and sub-national planners; facilitating dialogue between academic and scientific researchers and policy makers; supporting academia in developing policy-oriented knowledge products and communication.

Key actors: academia and research bodies (national and international), NCSD, relevant ministries, and potentially CSOs and private sector.

Through Outcome 2, the main activities are:

  • Sensitise and engage key actors in climate responses: Through awareness raising on climate impacts and opportunities (reference: NDC, SDGs), Advocacy activities/products tailored for High-Level officials, sub-national, communities
  • Mainstream climate change into sectoral strategies and investment decisions: by providing trainings, experts'-based technical assistance and hands-on institutional support (based on needs-assessments) on planning/programming/budgeting tools (cost-benefit analysis; pipeline development; monitoring reporting and verification systems - MRV) and public financial management reforms.
  • Explore policy options and incubate technical solutions in priority sectors: by assessing policy options (through cost-benefit analysis, regional best practice, innovative financing tools); testing sector-wide approaches (through grants to climate-proof investments/de-risk low-carbon solutions) and by nurturing "champions"/best practice for up-scaling and guiding policies
  • Ensure coordination of the climate response across sectors and actors: by facilitating NCSD's management of an inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue and participatory monitoring & evaluation; fostering articulation and synergies within CC tehchnical working groups members' actions (government/donor/CSOs) to amplify impacts; and supporting NCSD/NCDD efforts to climate mainstreaming at subnational level (in particular with provinces and municipalities ready to pilot climate actions).

Key actors: NCSD, relevant ministries (MRD, MPWT, MME, MOE, MOEYS), MEF, NCDD, CSOs, private sector, targeted sub-national authorities.

Through Outcome 3 the main activities are:

  • Facilitate continuous tracking of public finance allocated to climate action: though Monitoring climate expenditure in public budgets, and in Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows; harmonizing methodologies to track climate expenditure at sector and sub-national levels, and exploring fiscal resilience drawing from the study on macroeconomic climate impacts
  • Create an enabling environment for private domestic and foreign investments: by informing the new Investment Law with a study of policy options to mobilise private green investments (tax/incentive schemes, regulatory reforms, certification/corporate social responsibility schemes, etc.); by studying policy options to finance climate-sensitive investments (top-up grants, de-risking tools, credit guarantees, etc.) in priority sectors (energy, transport, rural infrastructure); by piloting financing instruments to harness engagement of the private actors (SMEs) and the financing sector (commercial banks) into green investments and insurance schemes (small businesses, households); and by improving institutional readiness to increase access to international climate funds (Green Climate Fund and other )
  • Upgrade the CCCA Innovation Financing Facility: by increasing allocation of grants to pilot projects (from various stakeholders) introducing technological/managerial innovations in adaptation/mitigation (favouring synergies/co-benefits between adaptation and mitigation, e.g.: energy access through renewables in rural development, ecosystem-based solutions to disaster risk management and carbon stocks in forestry, etc.); by introducing a set of investment criteria (possibly including for pilot projects: sectoral balance portfolio, SDG co-benefits, target most vulnerable groups, gender-sensitive, joint/ventures and public-private-partnership, A/M balance, addressing subnational priorities (districts, municipalities: promote engagement with the Global Covenant of Mayors principles for energy and climate innovation), showing up-scalable demonstrative effects and by tapping the potential to mobilise co-finance from donors (e.g.: AFD's "Cambodia Climate Facility", Sweden's "Demo Environment", international climate funds, and other).

Key actors: NCSD, MEF, CDC, relevant ministries (particularly: MRD, MPWT, MME), NCDD, private sector (and potentially finance sector: National Bank, commercial banks), CSOs, development partners.