Cambodia – Institutional strengthening support

Cambodia has taken action to tackle the challenges of climate change and air pollution simultaneously in view of their development imperatives. Prioritizing mitigation of emissions from sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and household energy sectors, the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia has worked extensively with the Supporting National Planning (SNAP) Initiative to build integrated emission inventories and increase technical and human capacity within government to mitigate short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon and methane. This work is paving the way for informed policy making and emission reduction strategies that will ultimately result in direct in-country benefits for health and economic growth. 


The SNAP Initiative is providing technical assistance and funding for Cambodia to increase action on short-lived climate pollutants with the aim of increasing: 

  • Institutional capacities for SLCP mitigation 
  • Engagement of key national stakeholders 
  • Awareness of SLCP issues and actions 
  • SLCP mitigation action taken at the national level 
  • Inclusion of SLCPs into relevant national planning processes and leverage financial resources dedicated to SLCP mitigation at the national level 
  • Participation in CCAC activities 

What we're doing

Phase I – Institutional Strengthening and Black Carbon Inventory Support – Ongoing 

In 2017, a cooperation agreement was signed between UNEP and the Ministry of Environment following a call for proposals by the CCAC Secretariat. This agreement launched institutional strengthening activities through the Supporting National Action & Planning (SNAP) Initiative to increase human and technical capacity for SLCP and climate change mitigation, improve planning and coordination on mitigation activities, and increase commitment among national stakeholders. The Royal University of Phnom Penh provided technical assistance to begin the development of an integrated SLCP inventory, covering black carbon, methane and HFCs as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from a range of priority sectors.  

A National SLCP Unit was established within the Department of Air Quality and Noise Management (DoAQNM) of the General Directorate of Environmental Protection to coordinate SLCP-related activities in Cambodia, consisting of officials from both the Climate Change Department and DoAQNM. An inter-ministerial SLCP technical working group was created, consisting of representatives from the Provincial Department of Environment as well as relevant sectoral Ministries such as the Ministries of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Public Work and Transport, Industry and Handicraft, and Mines and Energy, as well as the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Extensive national consultations were conducted through the technical working to collect data and information on ongoing mitigation efforts, while a national consultant was recruited by the SNAP initiative to assess the state of SLCP knowledge among stakeholders.  

The formation of this national team allowed for the coordination of national data collection, inclusive and rigorous data analysis, and the development of a black carbon emission inventory using base year 2015 emissions. The SLCP Emission Inventory for Cambodia covers the energy, transport, agriculture, waste, and industrial processes and produce use sectors and identifies black carbon and methane as primary emission contributors. Biomass burning such as for residential cooking was identified as the main contributing source of black carbon, and livestock was found to be the main source of methane emissions. The transport sector was identified as the main emission source for CO2 and nitrous oxide.  

The integrated emission inventory of SLCPs, air pollutants and greenhouse gases is the basis for an assessment currently being conducted to inform the development of Cambodia’s first Clean Air Plan. Together with the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (UNEP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute, the CCAC is supporting the Ministry of Environment to quantify emissions of air pollutants, including SLCPs, and evaluate the benefits of different priority mitigation strategies for improving air quality. The Clean Air Plan is expected to be published in late 2020.  

Why we're doing this work

The Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including declining biodiversity, deforestation, land degradation, natural hazards and flooding. At the same time, while remaining below national standards, levels of air pollution that exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines remain a threat to the health of over 15 million Cambodians in the dry season, particularly in urban centres such as the capital of Phnom Penh, including breathing problems, chronic diseases and premature mortality.