Cambodia's National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), completed in 2006, identified 20 high priority adaptation projects, with a combined budget of USD 130 million. The Second National Communication (SNC) Team’s revised vulnerability analysis and adaptation plan are being used to update the NAPA. The government of Cambodia has made notable progress toward establishing institutional arrangements focused on managing climate change and adaptation interventions. It has undertaken initiatives to mainstream adaptation into national development in specific sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, forestry, health, and coastal zone management. In addition, it is actively mainstreaming climate change resilience into sub-national planning and finance systems.

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors
  • Increase support and reach of existing agricultural research and extension services.
  • Promote improved farming practices, drought resistant and early maturing crop varieties and supply inputs that increase crop yield and productivity.
  • Implement improved water use (water harvesting, small –scale irrigation, etc) in drought prone areas to alleviate rain shortages that cause crop failure.
  • Improve farmers’ knowledge and access to weather information in carrying out agricultural activities.
  • Implement livelihood diversification practices to mitigate the reliance on agriculture as the sole livelihood source.
  • Restore and rehabilitate flood protection infrastructures, such as dikes.
  • Establish grain banks to sustain communities during periods of drought.
  • Conduct water resources assessment studies, including an inventory of water quality and quantity of both surface and underground water in time and space, to develop proper use of available water resources.
  • Introduce improved methods of water conservation, storage and use, including the construction of small check dams and rainwater harvesting schemes to supplement domestic and irrigation supplies.
  • Establish community based, participatory watershed management and conservation programs aimed at restoring degraded watersheds.
  • Introduce methods to tackle and prevent flood protection, disaster prevention actions, and maintenance of flood control structures.
  • Implement community-based health education programs to increase awareness and improve personal hygiene and environmental health management.
  • Introduce a malaria surveillance system, coupled with improved methods for vector control for health workers and communities.
  • Provide training programs to build the manpower capacity to improve the provision of health extension services at local levels.
  • Support health research and community health services.
Gaps and Needs
  • A better understanding of the local dimensions of vulnerability is essential to develop appropriate adaptation measures that will mitigate these adverse consequences. This requires detailed vulnerability assessments to be conducted in the most vulnerable communities.
  • Flood forecasting and communication systems are weak and should be improved in those areas which are heavily affected by floods. Feasibility studies for early warning systems are central to this goal, particularly at the province and commune level.
  • There is growing demand for detailed accounts of local adaptation to climate change, to serve as a starting point for knowledge exchange on successful practices among vulnerable populations and to support rational policymaking in vulnerable areas.
  • Mainstreaming disaster risk management into planning and administration requires further research on appropriate mechanisms for mainstreaming at the administrative level, including studies on the differential effects of climate variability and change on disaster vulnerability, including shifting rainfall patterns.
  • Additional research is required to properly evaluate the impacts of a changing climate on crop yields under various management scenarios.
  • Disaster risk management in Cambodia is the purview of a wide variety of actors and institutions which lack coordination, suffer from fragmented external support, and are unable to keep up with Cambodia’s disaster response. Promoting coordination and partnerships between these organizations is central to reducing Cambodia’s present vulnerability.
  • Most of the current national strategies, policies, and planning and budgetary processes do not yet adequately reflect climate change considerations either in principle or budgetary terms.
  • Most financial and institutional support to date has been on an ad hoc basis and relates to project-specific interventions though there is now a trend towards more programmatic approaches that include disaster risk prevention instead of focusing solely on response.
  • There presently do not appear to be any projects occurring within the area of coastal zones; however, certain ongoing projects addressing adaptation within the water sector may touch upon these coastal zones, although this is not explicitly mentioned.
  • Fisheries are a critical part of the Cambodian diet and future project work may seek to expand adaptation initiatives within this sector.
  • Although a component of a couple of regional projects, none of the initiatives identified in Cambodia specifically aim to understand and respond to the gender dimensions of climate change.
  • Accurate and reliable local forecasts of extreme climate events are non-existent. Villagers in downstream areas essentially rely on word of mouth from upstream areas to ready themselves for floods. Observation and forecasting systems need to be installed where appropriate.
  • Meteorological information for Cambodia is sparse, and a country-wide network of hydrometeorological stations needs to be established in order to quantify long term changes in climate including benchmarking future climate variability and change.
  • Comprehensive vulnerability maps identifying the locations of high vulnerability could support disaster planners in preparing communities for worse case impacts as well as helping local communities take an active role in identifying appropriate response mechanisms.
  • The use of existing meteorological information is limited to specific agencies, and this information needs to be tailored to decision makers across a wider series of sectors, including water resources management.