Cambodia counts 185 Districts and Municipalities, and has a population of 16.7 M People. LoCAL is scaling to 100 Districts in Cambodia.

Climate Vulnerability:

Climate change represents a major challenge for Cambodia. With a high poverty rate and a predominantly agrarian economy, Cambodia is ranked as one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. The country is expected to experience increased variation in, and intensity of, precipitation impacting over 2 million farming households, or 8 million people. Coastal communities and ecosystems will be affected by sea level rise. Low-lying areas will be increasingly prone to floods, while the higher areas are likely to experience more incidences of drought. Increases in temperature and humidity may create conditions of increased health risk to humans and an exacerbation of diseases in crops and livestock. These changes will amplify and compound already existing development challenges.

National Response

The Government of Cambodia developed a responsive policy framework, with over 21 state agencies under the helm of a National Climate Change Committee, administered by the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment. Within this framework, there is a National Strategic Development Plan that streamlines sectoral climate change strategies to guide the country’s climate change response over the next decade, including at the local level. The increasing relevance of local governments emerged in 2008, when the National Committee for Subnational Democratic Development (NCDD) was established as the inter-ministerial mechanism for promoting democratic development through decentralization and deconcentration reforms throughout Cambodia. The NCDD mainstreams climate change at subnational level, using the LoCAL mechanism.



Cambodia was one of the first countries to pilot the LoCAL mechanism in 2011. After a successful second phase, the country is scaling up to another 100 districts. LoCAL's key partner in Cambodia is the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDD-S). In 2019, the NCDD-S with support from LoCAL, successfully applied and received accreditation to become a National Implementing Entity of the Green Climate Fund. This is a tremendous achievement and made the NCDD-S the world’s first national implementing entity dealing with local governments.

Due to its success, the LoCAL mechanism is being scaled nation-wide. The PBCRG scale-up is for example being implemented in partnership with IFAD’s ASPIRE, which financed 105 small-scale climate-resilient water-related infrastructure projects for a total value of approximately $4.3 million. Of this, almost $3 million was co- financed by the government’s own resources.

50 Districts engaged

538 Adaptation investments

3,598,558 indirect Beneficiaries

Budget : US$ 3,441,218

Action on Climate Change:

Overall, 538 adaptation measures have been financed through PBCRGs. The largest share of investments are aimed at improving transport systems, especially during the rainy season, for people and goods; followed by those aimed at strengthening the resilience of agricultural systems and improving the availability of potable and safe water and disaster prevention and preparedness.

Of the 538 projects financed, 450 are small-scale infrastructure projects mainly entailing construction of elevated roads/bridges and renovation/construction of rural/farm roads; restoration/protection of irrigation canals; and rehabilitation/construction of water gates, sewage systems and community ponds.

Several capacity-building and awareness-raising activities were also supported – e.g. on climate change causes and effects (both for local authorities and communities), agricultural climate-resilient practices (improved varieties of rice, good agricultural practices, cattle farming, etc.), health and sanitation (prevention of climate change–borne diseases, personal hygiene, etc.) and general environmental protection.

LoCAL Phase III is supported through the government’s District/ Municipality/Khan (DMK) Fund and IFAD, via a concessional loan to the government. This parallel funding allowed Cambodia to continue deploying the PBCRG in 32 districts in 8 provinces. A $1 million grant from Korea’s Ministry of the Environment and K-Water is earmarked for a project on innovative decentralized water solutions to provide safety and resilience for residential water systems. The intervention pilots a small-scale water supply infrastructure and seeks to test sustainable business models to address water resource management and service delivery in rural areas.



The objective of the LoCAL-Cambodia initiative, the Local Governments and Climate Change Project (LGCC), is to demonstrate the role of local governments in fostering climate change resilience and identify practical ways to mainstream climate change resilience into subnational planning and finance systems. The project’s major outcomes and related outputs are as follows:
■ Increased awareness of climate change and potential adaptation and resilience-building responses among subnational governments and local communities
■ Integration of cross-sectoral, analysis-based strategies for building climate change resilience in subnational plans and investment programmes
■ Systems and procedures for mainstreaming climate change resilience within subnational government public expenditure management systems in a fiscally sustainable manner proven and available for scale-up
■ National guidelines for subnational public expenditure management (e.g. subnational and annual budget planning, investment programming, medium-term expenditure framework) facilitate mainstreaming of climate change resilience, particularly through cooperative actions between district/municipal and commune/sangkat councils and administrations


  • Cambodia and Bhutan were the first countries selected by LoCAL to pilot performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs); their efforts served to validate the approach. LGCC Phase I was launched in three local administrations in the Takeo province: Doun Keo municipality and the Bati and Borei Chulsar districts.

  • Cambodia successfully moved to Phase II (2016–2019), a bridging period aimed at strengthening systems and building capacity for full roll-out of subnational climate change adaptation finance. The scale-up is being implemented in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE), which supports climate-adaptive productive infrastructure in 50 districts, and the United Nations Development Programme’s Strengthening Resilient Livelihood (SRL). In 2020, the scaling-up programme benefited 32 districts in 8 provinces under ASPIRE.

  • The NCDD Secretariat (NCDD-S) was nominated in 2015 as a national implementing entity for the Green Climate Fund (GCF). With support from UNCDF, NCDD-S accreditation was approved by the GCF Board in 2019 and became the world’s first GCF national implementing entity dealing with local governments. The lessons learned from Cambodia and the NCDD-S during the GCF accreditation process serve as good practice for other least developed countries engaging with LoCAL. LoCAL is supporting NCDD-S in preparing a concept note to the GCF to continue scale-up of the mechanism under Phase III.

  • Various initiatives were undertaken to improve climate change adaptation mainstreaming, including adoption of a new climate vulnerability mapping tool (with subsequent trainings to relevant local authorities) and alignment of rankings along a Climate Change Vulnerability Index to select new potential local partners (which is part of the National Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation Framework), as well as performance assessments in targeted districts which allow for transfers of new PBCRG cycles. LoCAL also contributed to the development of NCDD-S policies on environmental and social safeguards and gender; preparation of a Performance-Based Grants Manual; and identification of a partnership project for climate-adaptive water supplies in a Battambang district with K-Water and the Korean Ministry of Land and Transport.

  • With support from UNCDF and the Korea Environment Institute, Cambodia began developing national scientific climate change reports to inform and strengthen public adaptation planning.

  • Cambodia was selected by UNCDF and the World Resources Institute as one of three pilot countries to test the Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Framework (ACCAF) to monitor the extent to which LoCAL country programmes contribute to increased resilience and capacity building for adaptation. A workshop on the ACCAF was held in 2018 to train government staff. The country is rolling out the ACCAF to additional LGCC districts.

  • The UNCDF developed a proposal submitted to the Korean Ministry of Environment on Scaling Up Climate Resilience Grants in Cambodia: Innovative Decentralized Water Solutions to Provide Safety and Resilience for Residential Water Systems. This will contribute to localization and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 13 (climate action). Opportunities will also be sought for supporting local governments in leveraging public and private sector investment for projects with the potential to generate cash flow through water tariffs and user fees.

Way Forward

  1. Cambodia will expand implementation of LoCAL Phase III. In line with the concept note submitted to the GCF, up to 20 districts may receive GCF-funded PBCRGs through the existing fiscal transfer system. In combination with other funding sources, this may allow full scale-up of LoCAL nationwide. UNCDF will continue to provide support Cambodia in mobilizing additional resources for scale-up of PBCRGs in 2021 and beyond.
  2. Together with K-Water, Cambodia will implement the Scaling Up Climate Resilience Grants in Cambodia: Innovative Decentralized Water Solutions to Provide Safety and Resilience for Residential Water Systems project through 2020–2021.

More Information

Climate change adaptation falls within the core mandate of community councils, along with land use planning, natural resource management and infrastructure development. Climate change adaptation requires effective coordination of various stakeholders. As a gateway for development facilitation at the local level as well as custodians of all development, community councils are strategically positioned to play this coordination role. However, community councils seldom have sufficient resources to execute these functions.

The overall outcome of LoCAL-Lesotho is to improve the climate change resilience of the communities in the selected councils as a result of climate change adaptation activities funded through the performance-based climate resilience grant (PBCRG) and capacity development support. By promoting climate change–resilient communities and economies via increasing financing for and investment in climate change adaptation at the local level, LoCAL-Lesotho will directly contribute to one of the country’s development plan pillars – reversing environmental degradation and adapting to climate change.

The objectives for LoCAL-Lesotho are as follows:

• Increased transfer of climate finance to local governments through national institutions and systems for building verifiable climate change adaptation and resilience

• A standard and recognized country-based mechanism which supports direct access to international climate finance

Four outputs are envisaged:

(i) inclusive and accountable climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into local council planning;

(ii) government, local authority and population awareness of and capacities in adaptation and resilience planning are improved;

(iii) an effective country PBCRG finance mechanism is established and operational, providing additional funding to targeted community councils; and

(iv) experience and lessons learned are consolidated and shared.waiting results of annual performance assessment (APA). Lessons are being drawn from the LoCAL pilot to expand the LoCAL and its PBCRG mechanism to additional community councils in Lesotho and to attract additional finance to be channelled through the LoCAL mechanism to finance locally led adaptation and increase resilience of communities and local economies. This intends to prepare for a fully integrated mechanism into the country systems and a scaling-up country-wide.



Way Forward



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