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Coastal communities to adapt for climate change

Published on 4 February 2021 by Jason Boken Cambodia

A five-year project agreement on “Climate Adaptation and Resilience in Cambodia’s Coastal Fishery Dependent Communities has been signed. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), along with the Ministry of Environment (MoE), which is the Global Environmental Facility’s Focal Point ministry are the signatories to the agreement to be known as “CamAdapt”. It aims to support coastal fisheries-dependent communities to adapt to climate change.

Funded by the Global Environmental Facility’s Least-Developed Country Fund (LDCF), the project will help coastal fishing communities and protected areas in Cambodia’s main four coastal provinces – Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk  improve their livelihoods by increasing adaptive capabilities regarding climate change while improving the marine ecosystem and biodiversity.

At the signing ceremony, Alexandre Huynh, FAO representative in Cambodia, sressed that the signing shows another successful partnership between MAFF, MOE and FAO.

Netting fish in a changing world. CamAdapt aims to support coastal fish-dependent communities in adapting to climate change. (Photo: US Agency for International Development)Netting fish in a changing world. CamAdapt aims to support coastal fish-dependent communities in adapting to climate change. (Photo: US Agency for International Development)

Cambodia’s coastal fishing communities are among the most vulnerable, owing largely to their high dependence on natural resources, direct exposure to storms, rising sea-levels, changing rainfall, household poverty, remoteness and marginalisation. Women have even less adaptive options available to them because traditionally they have less influence over the decision-making processes, including those related to climate adaptation.

Many challenges are threatening the livelihoods of these communities, including a decline of fisheries resources, seawater intrusion and a lack of freshwater (particularly on the islands) for domestic and agricultural use. Moreover, the increasingly frequent recurrence of damaging storms leads to the destruction of coastal ecosystems and coastal infrastructure.

Secretary of State at MAFF Dr Hean Vanhan said: “[The issue] needs urgent action and this project will therefore build on a baseline of existing policies, legal and technical measures and investments and provide additional financing to generate effective adaptation models and establish support frameworks that address vulnerability facing community fisheries and community protected areas.”

As a National Global Environmental Facility Operations Focal Point, Secretary of State of the MoE Tin Ponlok emphasised the strong collaboration between the MoE and its partner ministries and development partners in addressing degraded ecosystem services and restoring biodiversity.  He also  commended the effective partnership among the three institutions – MAFF, MoE and FAO – on resource mobilisation, which helps translate commitment into actions and the successful implementation of this project to the benefit of vulnerable people in the coastal areas.

The Fisheries Administration (FiA/MAFF), General Directorate of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection of the MoE and the FAO are jointly implementing this project and focusing on four interlinked components. They include strengthening policy coordination and capacity development for an adaptive-enabling environment, promoting coastal resilience through sustainable ecosystem management, strengthening adaptive capabilities of the fishing communities to climate change and improving knowledge management and sharing mechanisms.


Source: Khmer Times 26 January 2021