Cambodia was one of the first countries to pilot the LoCAL mechanism. After a successful second phase, the country is now scaling up to another 100 districts. LoCAL's key partner in Cambodia is the Secretariat of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDDS). The NCDDS is currently applying to become a National Implementing Entity of the Green Climate Fund in order to support a national scaling up of the mechanism in the third phase of LoCAL in Cambodia.


Climate change represents a major challenge for Cambodia. With a high poverty rate and a predominantly agrarian economy influenced by the hydrological behaviour of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River systems, Cambodia is ranked as one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world.

While the exact trend and nature of climate change is hard to predict, Cambodia is expected to experience increased variation in, and intensity of, precipitation. Over 2 million farming households, or over 8 million people, rely heavily on the climate for their livelihoods. 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.

In the last few years, the Government of Cambodia has 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, the latest National Strategic Development Plan streamlines sectoral climate change strategies and action plans to guide the future of the country's climate change response in the next decade, including at the local level.

The National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) was established in December 2008 as the inter-ministerial mechanism for promoting democratic development through decentralization and deconcentration reforms throughout Cambodia. In 2010, it adopted the first Three-Year Implementation Plan (IP3) of the National Programme on Sub-National Democratic Development. In 2014, the NCDD's Secretariat o facilitated a consultative process to review performance and design a second three-year phase (2015-2017) of the national programme, which is now under implementation.

Objectives, results and activities:

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 sub-national planning and finance systems. The project's major outcomes and related outputs are as follows:

Local Governments and Climate Change (LGCC):

  • Increased awareness of climate change and potential adaptation and resilience-building responses amongst sub-national governments and local communities
  • Integration of cross-sectoral, analysis-based strategies for building climate change resilience in sub-national plans and investment programmes
  • Systems and procedures for mainstreaming climate change resilience within sub-national government public expenditure management systems in a fiscally sustainable manner proven and available for scale-up
  • National guidelines for sub-national public expenditure management (e.g. sub-national 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

LGCC Bridging Phase:

During the period 2016 -18 NCDD-S will strengthen systems and build capacity required for a full roll-out of sub-national climate change adaptation finance, which is taken to mean that all local governments nationwide could potentially access adaptation finance, based on measured vulnerability and achieving readiness conditions.

  • The long term goal is aligned with the adaptation goal of the CCCSP: Reduced vulnerability to climate change impacts of people and critical systems (natural and societal) in the most vulnerable rural Districts of Cambodia.
  • The project objective, to be achieved by the end of the bridging phase, is defined as: By mid-2018, RGC is ready to scale up sub-national climate change adaptation finance nationwide, with access based on a climate vulnerability index and achievement of readiness conditions linked to a sub-national climate change mainstreaming index


Key strategic achievements of LGCC are considered to be (1) capacity of local governments for climate change adaptation demonstrated; (2) practical systems and tools for local climate change adaptation planning demonstrated; (3) Innovative financing mechanism developed and demonstrated; (4) Support gained from national champions on climate change; (5) Development partners convinced of viability of the PBCRG model; and (6) conditions for scale-up created.

  • LGCC I was established in three local administrations in the Takeo Province: Doun Keo Municipality and the Bati and Borei Chulsar Districts.
  • LGCC II continued to work with the three local administrations in the Takeo Province and is expanding to five districts in Battambang; Bor Vel, Moung Reussy, Rokha Kiri, Sampov Loun and Thma Koul.
  • In 2014, the eight participating sub-national administrations updated their climate resilience strategy with the participation of their constituent communes and sangkatsand relevant technical offices, and prepared proposals for financing under LoCAL.
  • In January 2015, Performance assessments were conducted in the 8 target SNA using improved participatory assessment and planning systems.
  • A new Climate Vulnerability Map tool was integrated and Vulnerability Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Mapping workshops / trainings were provided to officials in 8 districts.
  • Guidelines for District/Municipality level were completed and a guideline for the Commune/Sangkat level is being finalised.
  • 3 new Districts (Moung Russei, Thmar Koul and Bovel Districts in Battambang ) were selected for inclusion in the Bridging Phase of LGCC as part of the IFAD ASPIRE programme. Selection of Districts was based on vulnerability rankings of the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, part of the national climate change M&E framework. It is expected that the coverage will be expanded to five districts in Battambang; Rokha Kiri, Sampov Loun Phnom Proek, Koas Kralar and Rotanak Mondol.
  • In December 2015 Ministry of Environment, as National Designated Agency for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) nominated NCDD-S to become a National Implementing Entity under GCF Enhanced Direct Access modality. This nomination is a major achievement of LGCC and is expected to make climate change adaptation finance accessible to the most vulnerable local administrations nationwide. The achievement of NCDD-S in achieving nomination for GCF accreditation has helped to influence other LDCs within the LoCAL global programme to initiate the process of GCF accreditation for sub-national climate change finance.

Adaptation measures and investments:

As part of the project's first phase, over 15 communities from 3 districts in the Takeo Province received top-up funds. With these, they elected to build elevated roads, irrigation canals, water gates, sewage systems and community ponds; run education campaigns; and train farmers to use climate-resilient rice varieties that could withstand floods or droughts.

In 2014, the eight participating sub-national administrations selected 64 sub-project activities, of which 35 were infrastructure projects (total grant allocation: USD 189,000) and 29 were non-infrastructure projects (total grant allocation: USD 78,000). Infrastructure projects were implemented through the budgets of the commune/sangkat councils and co-financed by commune/sangkat resources. All projects carried over from 2013-and 2014 were completed in 2015, some delays in funding impacted the timely implementation of projects, particularly infrastructure related projects. All projects were completed by the end of 2016.

Following Performance assessments in early 2015, a total of $400,000 in PBCR Grant funding was allocated to the 8 SNA. Of this amount, $300,000 (75%) was a base amount allocated in proportion to discretionary resources of the SNA, and $100,000 (25%) was allocated according to the performance assessment scores. The SNA selected 63 sub-project activities of which 41 were infrastructure projects (total PBCRG allocation $258,923), and 22 were non-infrastructure projects (total PBCRG allocation $55,084). Thus 80% of the PBCRG amounts were allocated to projects, with 12.5% being allocated to the cost of engineering services for project design and supervision, 5% for administration costs and 2.5% for the costs of participatory evaluations.
Lessons learned

Strategic lessons learned are identified as (1) Local Governments have adequate capacity for simple climate change response actions, but further capacity development is needed; (2) Public Expenditure Management systems need further strengthening; (3) Monitoring and Evaluation of local climate change adaptation is a work in progress; (4) Smarter systems are needed to facilitate scale-up; and (5) Need to build partnerships for change.

  • Changing people's attitude, behaviour and practices is complex in general, and more so in the case of climate change because of the unpredictability of climate, lack of data, and uncertainty of success of new technology and practices.
  • Infrastructure sub-projects are generally more appealing to sub-national governments and local communities than soft adaptation measures because of the multiple benefits. The hard and soft approaches are complimentary, and ensure an understanding of climate change among local decision-making structures as they evaluate local vulnerabilities, local capacity building and measures on the ground.
  • The participation of sub-national governments and local communities is key to successful planning and implementation of adaptation at the local level. Participatory processes that intensely engage local communities can create high expectations among them.
  • Vulnerability reduction assessments demonstrated their viability as they were used as part of the local development planning process and as a basis for responding to local adaptation needs.
  • An innovative and ambitious concept and approach such as performance-based climate resilience grants requires long-term policy support. To facilitate this, an institutional mechanism and knowledge management are needed to inform policy making with evidence from the field.
  • Some modifications to the PBCRG framework will be needed in preparation for scale-up. These modifications should (1) more formally integrate the PBCRG into the budget and financial management framework of the sub-national administrations; and (2) improve efficiency of implementation so that the task of administering a large number of grants does not become overwhelming for NCDD-S.

Way forward

Key results to be achieved during the bridging period are (1) Vulnerable communities supported to plan and implement investments for CCA in 8 Districts; (2) Capacity development approach for sub-national climate change mainstreaming implemented in at least 30 Districts and demonstrated as effective; (3) Finance mobilised and systems (planning, financing, implementation and performance assessment) ready for scale-up; and (4). Effectiveness of local government action on climate change demonstrated and range of possible interventions expanded.

  • It is expected that a period of up to two years will be required to achieve accreditation to GCF and access funds for scaling-up of sub-national climate change adaptation finance. NCDD-S has prepared a proposal for financing of LGCC during a bridging period of two years, during which LGCC operations will continue at the current scale but with an emphasis on preparing systems and capacity required for scale-up. SIDA has agreed to provide an additional two years' funding to support this bridging phase in preparation for scale-up and transition to Phase III.
  • Direct PBCRG finance from LGCC will continue at the Phase II scale of 8 Districts, and an additional 34 Districts are expected to benefit from PBCRG (or closely similar financing arrangements) under the ASPIRE programme and the SRL project. In line with the Concept Note submitted to GCF, up to 60 Districts could receive GCF-funded PBCRG. In combination with the other funding sources this would allow full scale-up to be achieved.
  • LGCC Bridging Phase will therefore support a further round of performance-based grants for climate resilience financing for the eight participating sub-national authorities.
  • Additional capacity development measures, focused on effective mainstreaming of adaptation in sub-national development plans and investment programmes, will be supported.
  • The Sub-National Investment Fund will begin operations in 2016, and LGCC will design a climate change adaptation window.
  • LGCC will continue to work on knowledge management partnership and coordination, as two major new projects will replicate the LGCC model beginning in 2016.
  • During 2017 NCDD-S will work with MEF to align PBCRG with the Conditional Grants framework, as described above. Key issues should include (1) timing and procedure for award of grants and inclusion in the budgets of SNA (without the need for a later amendment); improved financial management procedures and improved financial reporting, including the ability to track the use of grant revenues through the SNA accounts.
  • Phase III will require an effective system for targeting of PBCRG finance. A start has been made by using climate vulnerability data to select additional districts for the bridging phase.
  • Modifications to the Annual Performance Assessment system implemented in 2016 will be tested in 2017, and an improved M&E system will be needed to monitor implementation of PBCRG financed activities, with better integration into the Project Information Database (PID) of NCDD-S, to better capture information about the climate-adaptive purpose of investments.


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Facts and Figures






Phase I: 2011-2013


Phase II: 2013-2015

Stories from the Field

Our Team

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mr. Kosal Sar
National Technical Specialist

Mr. Fakri Karim
LoCAL Programme Manager