Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems to Support Climate-Resilient Development in Cambodia
Cambodia is facing mounting development challenges due to climate change. Longer dry seasons and shorter, more intense rainy seasons are resulting in increased frequency and severity of disasters, including floods and droughts.
Recovery from such events stretches limited public resources and forces shifts in development priorities. At the same time, climate change is also impacting agricultural production, affecting household level income and putting pressure on food security.
Supported with funding from the Global Environment Facility-Least Developed Countries Fund, this project (2015-2020) is supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia to bridge existing gaps in institutional capacity, inter-ministerial coordination, and infrastructure. It focuses on enhancing the inclusion of climate change considerations in short and long term planning, sectoral planning and other decision-making processes. Data generated through installed hardware, along with risk mapping and forecasted data, is being made available to specifically benefit agriculture and water management sectors in their planning processes.
Under the project:
- 24 automatic weather stations and 29 automatic hydro stations have been installed
- 29 hydrologists, meteorologists and technicians have been trained in modelling and forecasting
- A Forecast Application for Risk Management (FARM) Field School curriculum has been developed
- A seasonal forecast system (‘FOCUS’) has been established
- Three national climate outlook forums (‘Monsoon Forums’) have been hosted
- Drought Information Hubs (InfoHubs) have been established in Takeo, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang provinces), with a further three to be developed by May 2020
- More than sixty trainings have been conducted for local agricultural cooperative leaders, farmers and partners on drought-resistant agricultural techniques
- Five international partnerships and four local partnerships have been forged
- More than twenty women have been trained in disaster risk reduction and early warning systems
- More than 1300 farmers have been trained in drought-resistant agricultural techniques
- 12,511 Cambodians have been reached through the extension of the phone-based early warning service EWS1294 (in Koh Kong, Sihanoukville, Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum and Prey Veng)
- 2, 369 children have been trained in school safety drills
'Before and now: lived experiences of early warning systems during a flood', UNDP Cambodia, January 2020. To assist the community of Tuol Dambang, People in Need (PIN) Cambodia partnered with UNDP to expand EWS1294, a phone-based disaster alert system, and to install water sensors which support more accurate flood forecasting and warning.
'UNDP report first step in developing drought indicators for Cambodia', UNDP Cambodia, January 2020. One of the major challenges related to slow-onset droughts in Cambodia is a lack of indicators; that is, at what point a lack of water is considered a drought. UNDP is hoping to address the issues by commissioning a National Drought Study under the project, ‘Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Cambodia’.
'Regional Collaboration Focus of Lower Mekong Early Warning System Conference', UNDP Cambodia, December 2019. Bringing together key representatives from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the Lower Mekong Early Warning Systems Conference has seen participants share experiences of early warning systems with discussions and demonstrations also centering around technology and the future of the Lower Mekong system.
'National Groundwater Strategy for Cambodia means more water for the future', UNDP Cambodia, November 2019. UNDP-supported analysis supports development of a National Groundwater Strategy for Cambodia, to be executed by the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation in the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (DWSS/MoWRAM) in partnership with UNDP and other non-government organizations and private sector.
'In preparation for the season ahead, Cambodia concludes its 8th Monsoon Forum', UNDP Cambodia, November 2019. Cambodia has held its 8th Monsoon Forum, the second such forum for the year. It is a crucial event for a country in which agriculture accounts for almost a quarter of GDP.
'A drum, metal pipe and rice byproduct: simple innovation is revolutionising drought preparedness in Cambodia', UNDP Cambodia, September 2019. Farming community leaders take part in Drought Resistant Agricultural Techniques, equipping them to teach their communities simple techniques which can bring dramatic change during the times of drought.
'What is the weather next week? Weather forecasting allows Cambodian farmers to see the future', UNDP Cambodia, August 2019. In partnership with Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), meteorologists take part in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) modelling training. learning the NWP model, a mathematically-based modelling system allowing short-term meteorological forecasts of up to 10 days.
'“We need timely information”: When floods are normal, warning is critical', UNDP Cambodia, August 2019. Weather early warning service 'EWS1294' is reaching communities previously not covered by information and alerts.
'New report provides foundation for better flood management in Cambodia’s Prek Thnot River Basin', UNDP Cambodia, June 17 2019. New report finds work to be done to improve flood management and early warning in Prek Thnot River Basin.
'“We never give up now”: drought training empowers local communities in Cambodia', UNDP Cambodia, May 2019. Training of agricultural cooperative members and leaders provides new opportunities for a stronger future in the provinces of Takeo and Kampot.
'Communities helping communities: the role of agricultural cooperatives', UNDP Cambodia, May 16 2019. Agricultural cooperatives provide financial, practical and technical support within communities. A look at one successful cooperative in Dokpor, Takeo, by Kelsea Clingeleffer.
'Integrating early warning into upcoming National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction a priority for Cambodia', UNDP Cambodia, May 10 2019. Frameworks which prevent, not react, to disasters and establishing effective early warning systems the focus of a national workshop held in Siem Reap.
'Five Ways to Build a Climate-ready Cambodia', UNDP Cambodia, April 3 2018. On World Meteorological Day, Muhibuddin Usamah, Project Manager, elaborates on climate change impacts and building resilience in Cambodia.
Key Results and Outputs
- Transfer of technologies for climate and environmental monitoring infrastructure through Improved hardware and software capacity to monitor extreme weather events (Output 1.1) and; Increased institutional capacity to maintain EWS related infrastructure (Outcome 1.2).
- Establish the capacity to synthesize/model the climate and environmental data by developing climate/weather forecast products (Outcome 2.1) and; training forecasters to use information from monitoring stations in modeling and data quality control (Output 2.2).
- Facilitate easy dissemination of information to different sectors of the economy by generating tailored climate and weather information (Outcome 3.1); establishing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for issuing and disseminating warnings through communication channels (Outcome 3.2) and; Conducting knowledge-sharing workshop through regional institutions involving other countries (Outcome 3.3)
Reports and Publications
Brochures, Posters, Communications Products
Project Brief / Fact Sheet
Supported with funding from the Global Environment Facility-Least Developed Countries Fund, this project (2015-2020) supported the Royal Government of Cambodia to bridge existing gaps in institutional capacity, inter-ministerial coordination, and infrastructure.
It focused on enhancing the inclusion of climate change considerations in short and long term planning, sectoral planning and other decision-making processes.
Named after the government-supported mobile short code ‘1294’, EWS1294 is a free mobile phone service developed by NGO People in Need in Cambodia following severe flooding in 2013. The service is a practical means for Cambodians to receive early warning messages. According to a 2016 study, more than 96% of Cambodians report owning a phone, and more than 99% are reachable through some sort of phone.
When a disaster strikes, its impacts are not equal -- women, children, the elderly, migrants and the poor are frequently disproportionately affected.
Under the project ''Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems to Support Climate-Resilient Development' , UNDP Cambodia partnered with Action Aid Cambodia to increase gender equality in disaster risk reduction and early warning systems across Cambodia.
“We know that around the world, the impacts of climate change and disasters disproportionally affect women and that rural women are particularly vulnerable...To build their resilience – and that of their communities at large – it’s critical they’re actively involved." While gender equality is improving in Cambodia – for example in primary and secondary education and maternal mortality – their representation in local and national decision-making remains limited.
In rural Cambodia, extreme weather events driven by climate change have taken lives and damaged livelihoods. Frequent floods and droughts threaten to tip subsistence farmers back into poverty.
With the onset of climate change, Cambodians are seeing changes in their environment. Temperatures are rising; the arrival of the monsoon is becoming less predictable; floods and droughts are increasing in frequency and severity. The impact on already-vulnerable rural households can be ruinous, destroying or reducing the yield of crops and household income, tipping some into unmanageable debt and poverty.
Meet Mr. Seng Sopha, a Hydro-Meteorological Officer of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology at the Provincial Department in Kompong Cham province, Cambodia. He is a local climate hero after manually tracking climate trends for over 40 years in the country's oldest weather station.
With support from UNDP and funding from the GEF-Least Developed Countries Fund, the project ‘Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems’ is supporting the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MoWRAM) to increase Cambodia’s institutional capacity, to assimilate and forecast weather, hydrological and climate information, and to improve communities’ access to reliable information and early warning sy
One of the keys to an effective disaster early warning system is data. With the installation of 24 new Automatic Weather Stations across the country, Cambodia moves another step closer to an effective early warning system and boosts its capacity for climate-resilient development.
With support from UNDP and funding from the GEF-Least Developed Countries Fund, the project ‘Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems’ is supporting the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MoWRAM) to increase Cambodia’s institutional capacity, to assimilate and forecast weather, hydrological and climate information, and to improve communities’ access to reliable information and early warning systems.
Financed by the Least Developed Countries Fund, the project ‘Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Cambodia’ is a multi-year initiative supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia to advance climate information and early warning systems.