The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and NGO GRET have inked a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to offer agriculture workers impacted by climate change social security.
On February 21, the organisations signed the deal for the new project that aims to look at ways of extending social security coverage to the nation’s farmers, who are some of the Kingdom’s most vulnerable workers to climate change.
According to a press release announcing the move, agricultural workers are extremely prone to the risks posed by climate change due to its impact on food production, income, nutrition, and health, as more than 70 percent of the population is not covered by social security schemes. In addition, the sector lacks any access to social health insurance.
The new “Strengthening Adaptive Social Insurance in Cambodia” project aims to study the conditions necessary to include agriculture workers and support initiatives for them to access a comprehensive social security program.
The NSSF will conduct the project with technical assistance from GRET and the support of AFD. Within the past few years, cooperation focused on enabling vulnerable groups to sign up for social security schemes. This new collaboration aims to strengthen the capacity of NSSF to extend the coverage of climate-proof social security schemes, particularly to the agricultural sector.
“We look forward to furthering the active collaboration with the NSSF and continuing the dialogue with AFD on the horizon of Social Security for all workers and Social Protection for all citizens in Cambodia. We expect this collaboration to be an opportunity to bring more partners to the table, with a view to starting this endeavour together” said Socheata Keo, Country Representative of GRET Cambodia.
GRET has been working to progress Cambodia’s social security sector since 2008, when it implemented its first project with garment factory workers. It also recently helped pilot the extension of social security to informal sector workers in the form of tuk-tuk drivers and domestic workers. An extension of this project will engage with workers in the food, beverages, and transportation industry.
Sophannarith Heng, Deputy Director General at NSSF, said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank AFD for providing support to NSSF financially and GRET for implementing the "Social Protection: Innovation for the Informal Sector” project to extend the health care social security scheme to tuk-tuk drivers successfully and fruitfully.”
Rémy Rioux, AFD’s Chief Executive Officer, said at the signing ceremony, “Net zero by 2050 on the one hand and Universal Health Coverage on the other. [It’s] no surprise that these two priorities go hand-in-hand.”
During his time in Cambodia, Rioux visited other projects implemented by GRET regarding water, sanitation, and food systems.