Consultation Workshop on Draft Report – Cambodia’s Citizens Climate Budget Report 2018-2019

Phnom Penh, on February 23rd, 2021, the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) organized the Consultation Workshop on Cambodia’s Citizens Climate Budget at Hotel Cambodiana. The workshop was organized in collaboration between NGO Forum and UNDP regional under the support of the Government of Sweden. There were 33 participants (7 women) from relevant ministries, local NGO as a member of climate change working group and partners. Please be noticed that 22 other participants attended virtually. This workshop has two objectives:

  1. Share the results of the draft report Cambodia’s Citizens Climate Budget Report 2018-2019
  2. Discuss the final draft and gather comments for inclusion in this report.

Keynote Address by Dr. Rath Sethik – Dean of Faculty of Development Studies, Royal University of Phnom Penh
On behalf of the Faculty of Development Studies, I fully support the work of the NGOF and the working group and the consultant drafting the report.

Cambodian peoples need to understand how much budget is allocated for the climate change work in Cambodia. They also need to participate in the preparation process for climate change budget in responding to the impacts of the changes. I support the roles of higher education institutions (HEI) to engage in the study and I understand that our faculty is capable in doing the study on the necessary processes of spending the climate budget.

Keynote Address by Mr. Julien Chevillard, Senior Technical Advisor, UNDP

I am the Chief Technical Advisor of Cambodia Climate Change Alliance and we have local partners for this regional program on the governance of climate finance which is funded by UNDP and by the government of Sweden. This regional program aims to improve the ways climate finance is allocated, spent, monitored in the region in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Over 300 million dollars are spent globally on climate change related programs, and this is increasing. So, we have to make sure that this funding is properly managed and delivered the maximum impacts which are very crucial.

It is also very important part of the program, enabling the dialogue between civil society and the government. In Cambodia, we have seen already some very significant progresses and it is important to acknowledge this. First, in the level of climate change financing, the budget figures for 2020 are 2 per cent of the GDP. If we looked back at 10 years ago, the figure was just about half of this – 0.9 or 1 per cent of GDP. So there has been a very significant increase in the level of climate relevant public finance in Cambodia both from development partners and from the government.

Opening Remark by Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of The NGO Forum on Cambodia

This report is the second report and the first report in 2020. This report is very essential for the public and the relevant stakeholders to understand and engage in the climate change work and development plan and investment plan from national to sub-national levels in responding to the climate change.

Many thanks Julien, UNDP for the full financial support and the relevant stakeholders supporting the preparation process of this report. This is the consultation workshop. As Mr. Julien has mentioned about the overview of climate change and the climate change fund that have proved the improvement and better growth if compared with the previous years. The report is important to see the alignment of the budget plan and the actual implementation at the sub-national level.

NGO Forum so far has a better collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia, and related ministries, development partners and private sector in the sector of climate change work. This is important. UNFCC plays active and important roles in addressing the climate change issues. Such changes in the global perspective inspires more involvements of the grass-root communities. The commitment of the top government has channeled the resource flows and technical assistance in supporting the work will be expanded to assure the common sustainability of the planet, ecosystem and living organisms.

For the first report, we have consulted with many ministries and stakeholders. They have appreciated the work of the report. In short, the working group on climate change continues to work and collaborate with other stakeholders to collect more feedbacks on the report.

Presentation on the Draft of Cambodia’s Citizens Climate Budget Report 2018-19, by Mr. Chan Sophal, Independent Consultant

Climate change (CC) is the biggest threat facing Cambodia’s people and economy. Most of the government’s responses to the causes and impacts of climate change will depend on how the government raises and spends public money. To ensure that the government will make the right budget decisions on climate action and be held to account for meeting the climate change challenges, civil society organizations, citizens, and other actors should have opportunities to participate in decision making, monitor spending on the ground, and hold the government accountable for managing public money. To do this, people and their organizations need access to complete, timely, detailed, and understandable information on the government’s budget plans and expenditures. The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) is producing and publishing this 2018-2019 Citizens Climate Budget (CCB) report to inform the public about how the government has been addressing climate change issues through its budgets and to provide the government with a model of how it can take up its responsibilities to make this type of information available each year as the budget is being planned and implemented.

We also divided into round table group to get input from participant and all of the comments and feedback will be incorporated into the final report. The topic to discuss as the following below:

  1. For recent floods, should CSOs monitor the impact on the ground and cross-check with budget expenditures and plans at all levels in preventing vulnerable areas from being flooded?
  2. The Cambodian government has taken measures to make post-COVID economic recovery. With experience on the ground, can CSOs figure out the most important climate change related investments to contribute to such measures?
  3. The government has increased the budget for sub-national level to respond to the climate change impact. How can NGOF work with its members to suggest the workable solutions to improve the capacity at sub-national level for effective management/allocation of commune fund for climate-related activities?

Closing Remark by Mr. Sam Sovann – Representative Climate Change Working Group (CWG)

I have appreciated your discussion and feedback in the report. This is the second time and can be the last time we discuss and consult on this report and the national budget in responding to climate change.

After reading this report, we hope that the government and Ministry of Economic and Finance (MEF) will consider the delegation of both power and budget to the sub-national authority. What we are advocating is not to get budget for CSOs but for those sub-national peoples. We hope the budget will come to the sub-national level and hope that everything will be better. They are able to do the work and consultants will come around for the support when the budget is there.