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Cambodia

Cambodia is a tropical country on the Gulf of Thailand. It is bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, with whom it forms the Indochinese peninsula or mainland Southeast Asia. It is slightly bigger than Uruguay and slightly smaller than Syria. The country’s economy is the sixth fastest-growing in the world, and relies predominantly on tourism and the garment sector.


Cambodia’s population is mostly comprised of the Khmer ethnicity, itself derived from different tribes inhabiting the surroundings of the Mekong River. It is also home to the ancient Angkor Empire, which gave the world the famous 1,000 temple complex of Angkor Wat, which is one of the biggest religious monuments in the world (covering 162.6 hectares).


From 1863 to 1953, Cambodia was part of French Indochina. After gaining independence, the country was ruled by a tight-grip constitutional monarchy under Norodom Sihanouk. In 1975, after a short-lived US-friendly regime, the Khmer Rouge, a communist group aided by North Vietnamese forces took the capital Phnom Penh and established a new political system in the country.


The rule of Pol Pot’s Khmers Rouge lasted 22 years from 1975 to 1997, causing more than 2 million deaths (or between 13 and 30% of the country’s population). This genocide against its own people left the country ruined, isolated and depopulated. In 2014, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, two of the top executives of this bloody regime were sentenced by the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to life in prison for war crimes. Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmers Rouges escaped justice as he died in 1998.


Since the advent of a relatively free market and democracy, Cambodia has known record-breaking growth, averaging 7.6% in the last decade. Tourism, garment industry and agriculture have been the three motors of this tremendous growth that led to a 40% poverty reduction. 


Cambodia is one of the most mysterious, beautiful and intriguing countries on this planet (where else do you traditionally eat tarantulas for breakfast?). Despite its deep cuts from the past, Cambodia seems eternal and so does its nature. Yet the numbers seem to tell a different story, at least for the latter. Cambodia ranks high in numerous indicators of environmental degradation, such as deforestation and biomass loss from human activity. 


TOTAL POPULATION

15.3 million YEAR 2014

CO2 EMISSIONS

6,700 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

14,272,100 kt East Asia and Pacific, YEAR 2014

“27% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.”

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

CAMBODIA | ALL PROJECTS

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john gaffey donated € 12 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Adi Lazos donated € 22 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Juliana Medaglia donated € 20 to Fighting the Silent Disappearance of the Great Brazilian Savannah. FREDERIC ACHARD donated € 50 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Thalita Medaglia donated € 15 to Fighting the Silent Disappearance of the Great Brazilian Savannah. Katie Hereing donated € 25 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Angelica Seminara donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Nevena Vlaykova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Melanie Bitto donated € 40 to Application of satellite telemetry data to better understand the breeding strategies of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Cristiano Rocco Marra donated € 30 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Ro Leaver donated € 30 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Phili Denning donated € 25 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Isabel gregory donated € 20 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Akshay Pai donated € 50 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Emma Burnett donated € 50 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Boyan Mihaylov donated € 50 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. François Leclerc donated € 40 to Application of satellite telemetry data to better understand the breeding strategies of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Clara Hermansson donated € 40 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Peter Thompson donated € 10 to Environmental Protection through Greenery and Awareness Interventions in Kabul and Wardak. Vihra Dincheva donated € 30 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Kris Bertens donated € 50 to Educating Montenegro's New Generation to Break Free from Litter and Plastic. Anna Lupanova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Simona Dakova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Neicho Rahnev donated € 10 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Pavel Boev donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Francesco Zanetto donated € 60 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Hind Alsalloom donated € 50 to Iraqi Youth Climate Change Movement. Francesca Cardani donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Michele Frison donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Fabio Sai donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Paola Tresca donated € 27 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Andrea Mongiello donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Matteo Masi donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Massimo Sacco donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Ananda Nidhi donated € 20 to Toranam: Strengthening Agroforestry in Andhra Pradesh. andrea borsetto donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. ALESSIO GIANNONI donated € 25 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Laura Zorzetto donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Rossana Mattachini donated € 20 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Elsa De Grandi donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Empowering Mangrove Women for a Healthy & Resilient Ecosystem. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Agro Eco Village Project in Ri-Bhoi District. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Building an Efficient Technology for Women's Economic Empowerment. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Strengthening Malian Forest Management to Protect Biodiversity and Alleviate Poverty. Noah Silver donated € 30 to Toxic Chemicals and Waste Sensitization for Vulnerable Communities. Stefania Butera donated € 25 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

Cambodia is a low emitter of greenhouse gases, and highly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. Its dependency on the mighty Mekong river for the vast majority of its agricultural output (mainly rice and fish) threaten its ecological stability. 

Cambodia is a typical monsoon country, with a dry and a wet season, creating a rich seasonal tropical rainforest. It is also the country of the Cardamone mountains, which host the thriving ecosystems formed by dry tropical forests. Elephants, panthers and tigers roam the lands of Cambodia, but their habitat is disappearing and being carved up by farmers, loggers and urban land-use change. 

At the heart of the country lies Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake (actually a prolongation of the Mekong river). The lake practically dries out and then floods a vast portion of central Cambodia during and after the monsoon rains. This shifting wetland habitat is instrumental for the world’s conservation objectives and Cambodia’s social and economic fabric.

Cambodia is a paradoxical state when it comes to conservation. On the one hand, 40% of its territory is under environmental or cultural protection, but on the other, it is the country with the highest deforestation rate in the region. In 50 years, Cambodia’s primary forest went from 70% to just 3% in 2007 (third highest level of forest cover loss in the world after Vietnam and Nigeria). Deforestation, alongside poaching, fishing, illegal wildlife trade and habitat destruction are the key reasons for many of the wide variety of species in Cambodia to be considered endangered. Prominent examples include Eld's deer, wild tigers, wild water buffaloes and hog deer, among many others.

That is why the Kingdom’s Paris Agreement contributions focus on the reduction of this plague and the restoration of its woodlands, so critical to the country’s wildlife, livelihood and cultural makeup. 

Cambodia is growing fast, and its resources are rapidly dwindling. There are numerous causes for the destruction of this precious nature. The state has committed to protecting its natural assets, from the Mekong to the high plateaus of the Cardamom mountains. Grassroot initiatives monitor, apply and reinforce climate action. Maybe today is the day to complete the circle with a donation to one of our featured Cambodian projects?


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DATA INSIGHTS

According to the World Bank classification, Cambodia is a lower-middle-income country. To understand Cambodia’s position in the fight against climate change, it is useful to observe its history of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk. The following plots provide an overview of Cambodia’s historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s relative vulnerability and preparedness to climate change.

Cambodia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cambodia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the full line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the dotted line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 2000 to 2008, Cambodia’s emissions dramatically increased by 517%. Agricultural methane emissions and CO2 emissions from petroleum-derived fuels saw an enormous rise in this period. After significant emissions reductions in 2008, Cambodia’s emissions were back on the rise again from 2009 and increased by 553% form the 1990 level. The land-use change and forestry (LUCF) sector is responsible for the largest share (45%) of Cambodia’s emissions, followed by the agriculture sector (37%). LUCF emissions are mainly driven by illegal logging the expansion of agricultural activities, while the majority of agricultural emissions come from methane produced by livestock digestion and manure left on pasture. 


In 2012, Cambodia’s emissions were less than that of neighbouring Laos and Vietnam. However, there is still room for improvement. Changes in farming practices such as improving manure management and developing sustainable agriculture systems still present a challenge in the future but will reduce the country’s emissions. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018)


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Cambodia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cambodia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

graph

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the full line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the dotted line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 2000 to 2008, Cambodia’s emissions dramatically increased by 517%. Agricultural methane emissions and CO2 emissions from petroleum-derived fuels saw an enormous rise in this period. After significant emissions reductions in 2008, Cambodia’s emissions were back on the rise again from 2009 and increased by 553% form the 1990 level. The land-use change and forestry (LUCF) sector is responsible for the largest share (45%) of Cambodia’s emissions, followed by the agriculture sector (37%). LUCF emissions are mainly driven by illegal logging the expansion of agricultural activities, while the majority of agricultural emissions come from methane produced by livestock digestion and manure left on pasture. 


In 2012, Cambodia’s emissions were less than that of neighbouring Laos and Vietnam. However, there is still room for improvement. Changes in farming practices such as improving manure management and developing sustainable agriculture systems still present a challenge in the future but will reduce the country’s emissions. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018)


Cambodia Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Cambodia’s vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right. 


Cambodia is categorized as a country with high vulnerability to climate change impacts and a low level of adaptation. The agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to unexpected weather patterns of floods and drought. Lower crop yields and increased livestock deaths due to climate change impacts can cause food insecurity. Drainage can possibly bring risks of water shortages as only 24% population has access to reliable drinking water as of 2015. (Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


TAKE ACTION

Cambodia Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Cambodia’s vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

graph

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right. 


Cambodia is categorized as a country with high vulnerability to climate change impacts and a low level of adaptation. The agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to unexpected weather patterns of floods and drought. Lower crop yields and increased livestock deaths due to climate change impacts can cause food insecurity. Drainage can possibly bring risks of water shortages as only 24% population has access to reliable drinking water as of 2015. (Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


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