PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Cambodia today signed a grant agreement totaling $7.4 million to enhance communities’ resilience to climate change impacts in Koh Kong and Mondulkiri provinces.

The grant, financed by the Strategic Climate Fund of the Climate Investment Funds, was signed during a ceremony in Phnom Penh by ADB Country Director Eric Sidgwick and Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth. It covers additional financing for the $19 million Greater Mekong Subregion Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project in Cambodia, ongoing since 2011.

“Communities living in forests are among the most vulnerable to climate change because of limited alternative livelihoods and their dependence on the ecosystem,” said Mr. Sidgwick. “To address this problem, the project supports community-driven investments to improve and diversify livelihoods for 4,300 families in protected areas.”

According to the World Risk Report 2012, Cambodia ranks eighth among the top 15 countries with the highest risk of impact from climate change, and has a very low capacity to adapt. In Koh Kong and Mondulkiri, an expected rise in temperature and higher risk of floods and drought threatens the food security and the agricultural livelihoods of local communities.

The $7.4 million grant will increase water availability through the construction of 40 rainwater harvesting ponds for home gardens and introducing drought-resilient crops in both provinces. It will also rehabilitate an irrigation scheme in Mondulkiri for an area of 250 hectares, and support the adoption of a rice intensification system that will benefit about 1,000 households.

In addition, the additional funding will help protect 750 hectares of agricultural land from saltwater intrusion with sea barriers, and introduce salt-resilient crops to 400 households in Koh Kong. In Mondulkiri, the project will diversify sources of income for 900 households in the event of crop failures by rehabilitating and conserving 9,000 hectares of forest. The lessons from these interventions will be documented to support policy recommendations for climate resilience in Cambodia.

The grant supports the Cambodian Government’s Climate Change Strategic Plan for 2014-2023 and the National Adaptation Program of Action on Climate Change, which prioritizes improvement of irrigation systems, rural water supplies, and coastal protection infrastructure.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. 

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