A $42.8m Project to Help Vulnerable Adapt to Climate Change Given Green Light

The Green Climate Fund has approved $42.8 million for FAO project PEARL to help about 450,000 people living along the Northern Tonle Sap Basin to adapt to the threat of climate change
A man uses a net to fish on outskirt of Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A man uses a net to fish on outskirt of Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) on Wednesday approved $42.8 million for FAO project PEARL to enhance the adaptive capacity of Cambodian people living along the Northern Tonle Sap Basin to cope with the threat of climate change.

At its 35th board meeting, the GCF approved Public-Social-Private Partnerships for Ecologically-Sound Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods in Northern Tonle Sap Basin (PEARL) which is a six-year project under the conduction of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

FAO said in a news release that PEARL will benefit 450,000 smallholder farmers and local value-chain actors in the Northern Tonle Sap Basin, which is one of Cambodia's most important agricultural regions and provides essential resources to support the livelihoods of more than three million Cambodians.

However, FAO said it is one of the most vulnerable regions in the country to floods and droughts, which are projected to become more frequent and intense due to climate change, thus exacerbating socioecological vulnerabilities.

Rebekah Bell, FAO Representative in Cambodia, said, "Smallholder farmers will be able to gain benefits as it and other local value chain participants will have access to market opportunities and tools that will lessen their vulnerability to the effects of climate change while enhancing agricultural production and livelihoods."

Ngin Chhay, Director General of the General Directorate of Agriculture at MAFF, said that emerging markets are key for agricultural commodities, such as cashew, mango, rice, and vegetables, targeted by the project offer excellent opportunities to incentivize vulnerable, smallholder farmers and other local value-chain actors to adopt climate-resilient practices and technologies, and improve their livelihoods, thus increasing their overall adaptive capacity.

PEARL is the second GCF-supported project for Cambodia, which includes a $36.2 million grant from GCF, and $6.6 million in co-financing from the MAFF, MoE and FAO.

The GCF is the world’s largest climate fund, established by 194 governments, and mandated to support developing countries in responding to the challenges of climate change.