Climate vulnerability study helps prioritise investments in four Cambodian cities

20191008 160235

The project aims to ensure city livability, promote social and economic inclusiveness, improve infrastructure rehabilitation and strengthen tourism and economic activities.

In examining risk related to climate change, the project made recommendations for effective adaptation strategies, resilient infrastructure and inclusive urban development.

November 24, 2020
  • SDG: #6, #11, #13, #15
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Cambodia
  • CLIENT: Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA)

Cambodia’s provincial cities have experienced sustained urban growth, and it is critical to address their infrastructure to improve capacity to adapt to projected climate change impacts. As a result, Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) selected four provincial cities (Battambang, Kampot, Kratie and Chhlong) to be part of the Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment of Cambodian Secondary Cities (CVAA) project.

CVAA assessed the nature and spatial location of climate hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks given current climate change projections and adaptive capacities. The four cities were selected as they are located on major rivers and highly susceptible to increased flood risks, leading to an urgent need for investment to improve resilience. 

The resulting study informed the identification, prioritisation and design of proposed investments in the four cities.

The recommendations were integrated with the closely related feasibility study on the technical assessment of infrastructure, public space and landscaping. The CVAA project has thus been important to assess vulnerability and risk related to climate change and to provide recommendations for effective adaptation strategies, resilient infrastructure and inclusive urban development.

Climate vulnerability assessment

In our climate assessment, we compared two different projections to see how the climate is estimated to change and to define the full range of possible climate change impacts and risks. The findings suggested that there will be an increase in temperature, evaporation and rainfall. There will also be an intensity increase of the frequency and severity of a number of hazards that cause disruption in Cambodia, the main ones being floods, typhoons, storm surge, droughts, and fires. Sea level rise, which is occurring globally due to climate change, will also impact the Cambodian coastline.

The increased frequency and severity of these hazards will have subsequent adverse effects on aspects such as water supply, food availability, public health and riverbank erosion, all of which are already being experienced in Cambodia. These hazards are most likely to have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable people since climate vulnerability is amplified by extreme poverty, and y social and gender inequality.

Project recommendations

Our recommendations were developed in close consultation with local stakeholders through a number of workshops and field visits. Even though most of the climate risks are similar between all four cities, individual recommendations with project options were developed based on the particular conditions in each city.

The project options included both structural worksfor reduced flooding, institutional strengthening activities, integrated spatial planning, and other cross-cutting projects. Below are a few examples of the type of projects recommended to the cities:

  • Establish eco-recreation facilities with lakes and green parks to maintain the natural flood storage area while at the same time increasing the green recreation space for the local community.
  • Structural works such as levees, sluice gates, riverbank protection, and floodwalls for better flood protection.
  • Rehabilitation of canals to capture local stormwater runoff, which will lead to reduced flooding and improved drainage.
  • Installation of flood forecasting and warning systems for increased warning lead time and capacity for flood emergency response.
  • Capacity building of national and sub-national stakeholders for sustainable urban planning for more effective and holistic climate adaptation solutions.

Project scope

  • Inclusive urban climate change adaptation
  • Participatory planning and stakeholder engagement
  • Flood protection and economic development
  • Public spaces upgrade
  • Urban ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA)
  • Climate change vulnerability assessment
  • Climate vulnerability and risk maps
  • Institutional capacity development
  • Development of adaptation options

These recommendations have formed an integralpart of the project preparation process as it will assist the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to formulate and prepare the components of the upcoming AFD loan with a consideration for climate change.

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