Cambodia: Nurturing the climate-smart generation, one school at a time

Cambodia: Nurturing the climate-smart generation, one school at a time

I have learned about waste management and practiced climate-resilient agriculture, and now I feel confident to share this knowledge with my family.

May Kimleang student at Preah Kou Higher Secondary School in Stung Treng province, in the North of Cambodia

CONTEXT

Cambodia is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its exposure to frequent flooding, drought and other extreme weather events as well as sea level rise. The National Council for Sustainable Development is implementing the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-2023 with Climate Change Action Plans. European development partners in Cambodia programme their cooperation jointly under the framework of the joint European Strategy for Development Cooperation with Cambodia 2014-2019. The common values and principles which guide all European partners’ actions in Cambodia set out a vision of country-led sustainable development. In the context of the joint strategy, European partners promote innovative approaches to supporting green, low-carbon, climate resilient, equitable, sustainable and knowledge-based society in Cambodia. One such innovative programme is the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA).

OBJECTIVES

  • The CCCA is a comprehensive and innovative approach to addressing climate change in Cambodia. On the one hand, it aims at creating conditions in the form of capacity development and institutional strengthening to prepare for and mitigate climate change risks. On the other hand, CCCA directly helps vulnerable communities by strengthening their resilience to climate change and other natural hazards.
  • The programme constitutes a common point for development partners’engagement, and a multi-donor financial facility to provide resources for climate change capacity building at national and local government level. It also offers a mechanism for knowledge sharing and Cambodia: Nurturing the climate-smart generation, one school at a time learning about climate change which extends beyond the government to civil society and the broader community.

RESULTS

  • CCCA has been instrumental in raising the profile of climate change through supporting the establishment of the National Committee for Sustainable Development.
  • There is extensive evidence of institutional change within line ministries with the establishment of technical working groups, designated staff and the production of various guidelines and frameworks.
  • The contribution of CCCA to implementing Climate Change Action Plans is likely to have an economic impact in the long-run. Benefiting the communities for some grants and indirectly with the testing of new technologies and approaches.
  • The programme is contributing towards a lasting social impact: grants that benefit directly communities have an effect on them through reducing the potential of conflicts between communities.
  • Community members also become more knowledgeable about climate change.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Start date/end date: 2014-2019

TESTIMONY

How is this joint initiative making Cambodian peoples’ lives better?

“I have learned about waste management and practiced climate-resilient agriculture, and now I feel confident to share this knowledge with my family”. May Kimleang is 16 years old. She studies in grade 10 at Preah Kou Higher Secondary School in Stung Treng province, in the North of Cambodia.
Kimleang’s school is one 10 eco-schools supported by the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) programme to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation in their curriculum and activities.

These eco-schools have environmentally-friendly policies and administrative procedures, deliver teaching modules about environmental and climate change issues, implement practical demonstration activities
including eco-friendly facilities, and conduct outreach to local communities.

Cambodia has been actively promoting eco-schools in line with ASEAN’s Environmental Education Action Plan, with joint leadership from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MOEYS) and the Ministry of Environment. The country is also regularly ranked among the top ten countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change, and schools are an essential part of Cambodia’s climate change response. Not only do they equip Cambodia’s new generations with the skills and values that will support a sustainable development path, they can also serve as safe places during extreme weather events, where shelter, clean water and sanitation facilities can be accessed.

Kimleang is a member of the school’s eco-club, which plans and conducts activities related to environmental and climate change issues, including learning sessions, campaigns on waste management, practising climate-resilient home gardening, and organizing tree plantations.

In addition to learning, practice and advocacy within the community, Kimleang also says the ecoschool programme helped to make her school itself more resilient. “Before, we had limited access to water during the dry season and female students had to ask the neighbours to use their latrines. With the new pond supported by the programme and the better water storage, all girls are now very happy to have access to functioning latrines all-year round”. Kimleang is also proud of the tree planting programme, which provides shade during the hottest hours. MOEYS is keen to expand the eco-school programme
as part of its child-friendly school policy. Already, teaching materials on climate change, which have been tested in eco-schools for Grades 10-12, are being rolled out nationwide. Key points have also been incorporated in the outline of the new national curriculum, which is due to be updated in 2019.