Climate Vulnerabilities: 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 now 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 proven successes in Cambodia, LoCAL is currently being rolled out nationwide.


185 Districts and Municipalities

16.7 M People



Districts Engaged


Adaptation Investments



US $3,553,534

Budget (2012-2019)


The LoCAL-Cambodia initiative, the Local Governments and Climate Change Project (LGCC), demonstrates how local governments can foster climate change resilience and identify practical ways to mainstream climate change resilience into subnational planning and finance systems. To date, the LoCAL- Cambodia initiative has:
• Secured GCF accreditation for the NCDD-S paving the way for national LoCAL roll-out.

• Increased awareness of climate change and potential adaptation and resilience-building responses among subnational governments and local communities.

• Integrated cross-sectoral, analysis-based strategies for building climate change resilience in subnational plans and investment programmes.

• Developed systems and procedures for mainstreaming climate change resilience within subnational government public expenditure management systems in a fiscally sustainable manner proven that is available for scale-up.

• Drafted national guidelines for local government expenditure management that mainstream climate change resilience.

Action on Climate change:

Some 276 adaptation measures have been financed through LoCAL’s system of Performance Based Climate Resilience Grants (PBCRGs). The largest share of these adaptation measures, or approximately 31 % of investments, are aimed at improving transport systems, especially during the rainy season, for people and goods. These include building elevated roads and bridges or building and restoring irrigation canals, sewage systems or community ponds.

Other adaptation projects include resilience building of agricultural systems and improving the availability of potable and safe water, disaster prevention and preparedness, health actions, environmental protection and forestry activities. In line with LoCAL standards, adaptation measures are accompanied with capacity-building and awareness-raising activities.


Cambodia and Bhutan were the first countries selected by LoCAL to pilot LoCAL’s innovative 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 - a three-year bridging period from 2016-2019 that aimed to strengthen systems and build capacity for full roll-out of subnational climate change adaptation finance. That scale-up was 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). By 2019, the scaling-up programme had benefited eight provinces, 24 districts, 114 communes, under ASPIRE; and two provinces and 10 districts under SRL. During this phase, LoCAL expanded to five districts in Battambang with a total population of 1.8 million.

At the close of Phase II, more than US $800,000 in PBCRGs had been allocated to target districts and financing 36 subprojects. These actions benefited some 320,934 people, 50 per cent of whom are women.
The NCDD Secretariat (NCDD-S) was nominated in 2015 as a national implementing entity for the Green Climate Fund (GCF). With support from LoCAL, 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.
Through LoCAL, actions to improve climate change adaptation mainstreaming include:

  1. adoption of a new climate vulnerability mapping tool with subsequent trainings to relevant local authorities,
  2. 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, plus
  3. performance assessments in targeted districts to 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 LoCAL and the Korea Environment Institute, Cambodia began developing national scientific climate change reports to inform and strengthen public adaptation planning.
Cambodia was selected by LoCAL 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 contributes 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.




Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Government Partners:

In Cambodia, LoCAL is implemented by the Secretariat of the National Committee for Subnational Democratic Development (NCDD-S).
Other Government partners:

General Directorate of National Budget, General Directorate of Subnational Budget, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Climate Change Department, National Committee for Sustainable Development Secretariat, Ministry of Environment, Gender and Climate Change Group of Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
Our Development Partners:

The Embassy of Sweden / SIDA, The European Union Delegation in Cambodia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)–Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, the UNDP Sustainable Rural Livelihood Project, the International Fund for Agricultural Development / Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE), the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance and the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) Support Facility.

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