- Cambodia experiences drought and flood incidents that impact a significant portion of its poor population every year. In 2009, Typhoon Ketsana affected 11 of the 24 provinces and caused damage of $39 million. In 2011, Cambodia experienced extensive and prolonged rains (from August to October) which resulted in unprecedented floods in 18 provinces. The floods had widespread impacts on public infrastructure and many communities, caused the death of 250 people, caused $625 million in damages, and affected more than 1.5 million people. In 2013, 20 provinces were hit by another even more severe flood, which caused the death of 168 people, with an initial estimated damage loss of $356 million and about 1.7 million people affected. As global climate conditions continue to change, Cambodia will experience increasingly unpredictable floods and droughts that may overwhelm the country’s limited capacity and resources.
- The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), established in 1995, is the country’s main disaster management agency tasked to facilitate the interministerial responses to emergency and disaster events. As part of its ongoing investment in disaster response and rehabilitation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) commissioned an institutional review and capacity assessment of the NCDM. The assessment involved a review of the policies, structure, performance, and outputs of the NCDM through individual interviews with NCDM staff, line ministries, development partners, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs), as well as secondary data and observations of coordination meetings over a 6-month period.
- The review begins with a critical examination of existing disaster management policy, legislation, and institutional arrangements as these provide the foundation for disaster management in the country and define the parameters that directly affect the NCDM’s ability to perform its mandated roles and responsibilities. Overall, the review finds limitation in the practice of disaster risk management in the country as key legal and policy instruments, i.e., the National Policy for Emergency Management and a proposed disaster management law, are still being developed and have yet to be approved. While some general policies do exist, they were primarily designed for and focused on ensuring coordinated disaster relief and response. At the subnational or provincial level, policy formulation is nonexistent as it depends almost entirely on the national level (i.e., the NCDM secretariat) for policy initiatives. There are several policy-related issues and challenges facing the NCDM, which include the lack of adequate fiscal resources; lack of capacity to formulate legislation, polices, and strategies; an immediate need to mainstream DRR into national development plans; the inability of the NCDM secretariat to translate policies and strategies into operational plans and implement them; and the need for integrating DRR into national climate change adaptation policy and programs.
- The review extends to disaster management structures and coordination mechanisms. Findings indicate that NCDM operations are severely challenged, with nonfunctional organizational structures largely attributed to the lack of financial resources. At the national level, NCDM meetings do not occur regularly as mandated and for the past several years government ministries and stakeholders have only met as a result of emergencies and disasters. The NCDM’s secretariat is yet to be strengthened. Neither the NCDM general secretariat nor any of its operational departments have developed annual action or operating plans, nor been provided with annual operating budgets. At the subnational level, the disaster management committees have also been given the responsibility to lead disaster management efforts at their respective administrative levels without being provided with adequate resources. Conditions at the subnational level are actually more challenging, considering that they are front-line agencies that have to address the direct effects and impact of emergencies and disaster events. Their operations are also constrained by the lack of clear cut guidelines and standard operating procedures covering their roles and responsibilities in relation to each other (i.e., provincial, district, and commune committees for disaster management, which are committees for disaster management at the respective levels), with the NCDM, and with the different local and international organizations that usually respond to emergencies and disasters.
- To address the issues, the assessment proposed five key areas for intervention:
- (i) Develop capacities for policy development, which requires the establishment of a policy and planning unit within the general secretariat and the mobilization of an interim external stakeholder advisory group to assist and support NCDM policy making efforts.
- (ii) Enhance the mechanisms and capacities for disaster management coordination, which calls for the proper functioning of dormant national and interministerial structures and building NCDM capacities to facilitate its activities. It also calls for the review and development of a national disaster assessment system through the formulation of specific assessment guidelines and standard operating procedures, development of standard forms and methodologies, and the installation of an information system for coordinating relief and response.
- (iii) Enhance the general secretariat organizational management capacities, which involves the initial facilitation, and subsequent institutionalization, of an internal strategic planning process involving revisiting the organizational vision, mission, and goals; formulating long-term and annual action plans; reorganizing internal structures if necessary; reviewing staffing requirements and deployment; formulating annual organizational and departmental action plans; and installing a system for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting organizational performance.
- (iv) Establish a disaster management information system (DMIS), which is an ongoing intervention between several organizations and will therefore require joint programming between (a) the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)–World Bank team responsible for the Ketsana Emergency Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project, and (b) ADB.
- (v) Strengthen capacities of subnational disaster management committees, which involves the conduct of a national audit of disaster preparedness and response capacities of subnational disaster management committees, and the determination of performance standards for well-functioning and effective subnational disaster management committees, followed by provision of support packages for each level.
- The NCDM senior management has recognized and accepted the results of the study and is committed to overcoming these weaknesses. They have therefore requested ADB to support reestablishing links with key sector agencies and to effectively involve the different stakeholders in strengthening the country’s disaster management The National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDDS), whose mandate is to develop and support decentralization and deconcentration in Cambodia, has agreed to participate in addressing disaster coordination issues, especially at the subnational level.
- The current National Strategic Development Plan, 2009–2013 recognizes DRR and its correlation to poverty in the country.  Strengthening community resilience to disasters should be a priority agenda as this contributes to poverty alleviation and to the general improvement in quality of life, which are the primary objectives of the government. The introduction of hazards and vulnerability assessments, early warning systems, emergency response plans, and community preparedness and recovery plans will enable local communities to directly address their specific vulnerabilities and address primary contributors to poverty in the country.
- The proposed project is aligned with the Midterm Review of ADB’s Strategy 2020; the Southeast Asia Department’s Climate Change Implementation Plan; and various sector assessments, strategies, and road maps prepared as background to the new country partnership strategy, 2014–2018.  The Project supports ADB’s Cambodia country partnership strategy, 2011–2013, which aims to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth with an integrated approach to rural development, targeting the areas where most poor reside. At the same time, it will also be consistent with social protection measures, community-based development, and public sector capacity development. The proposed project will complement the planned institutional strengthening related to disaster risk management conducted under the approved CDTA Strengthening Coordination for the Management of Disasters by institutionalizing community-based DRR and coordination through localized structures at the district and commune levels. The Design and Monitoring Framework (DMF) is in Appendix 1.
- The multilevel capacity building nature of the proposed project falls under the theme of public sector management, which forms the base for improved operations of projects in all ADB Cambodia priority sectors. In addition, as part of ADB’s support to the government’s decentralization agenda, ADB commits to working with emerging or existing government decentralization structures.
II. Innovation and Knowledge Sharing
- The project will build capacity of the primary points of contact for vulnerable communities. Most community-based DRR projects implemented by development agencies have targeted implementation in selected villages in selected provinces. Aside from the dispersed interventions, these villages are not able to sustain their activities after development projects are completed and NGOs have pulled out. The project improves on this strategy by transferring the leadership of DRR activities to the communes and increasing the support capacity at the district level.
- Communes are the lowest administrative level of government to which authority and resources are formally devolved. Capacity building of communes and districts in integrating DRR in development planning will result in poverty-responsive local development plans that can be implemented over time. Technical support and coordination will remain through partnerships with development organizations and sector support and alignment with provincial departments.
- The project will also create an environment for communities to have more control in identifying, planning, and sourcing support for their DRR activities by embedding DRR planning in the existing development planning and investment process. This will better enable implementation of DRR activities across all villages, and at the same time build a wider support network for the most vulnerable communities.
- Implementation will be in the provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, and Prey Veng. A comprehensive package of infrastructure rehabilitation and capacity building for disaster management will be provided to the six provinces affected by the most recent floods. Integration with climate change and climate-resilience programs will be explored to ensure that investments and activities are complementary.
- The commune and district development planning process is part of the government’s reform program on decentralization and deconcentration aimed at encouraging inclusive governance towards the long-term goal of poverty reduction. Cambodia first held commune elections in 2002, which enabled devolution of functions of development planning and annual budget management to the commune level. This also allowed communes to initiate local projects funded through the commune/sangkat fund or other donors.
- By integrating DRR into the district and commune development and investment plans, DRR will be established as a component of all subsequent development and investment projects at the district and commune levels.
- At the end of the project, the district and commune councils will have the capacity to conduct inclusive assessments of vulnerabilities and needs of their constituent communes and villages, design priority actions, seek funding, and implement DRR and response. Project implementation guidelines regarding DRR infrastructure projects will be established and initial funding will be made available during the course of the project through a block grant scheme for demonstrations purposes. The fund management mechanism similar to the commune/sangkat and commune funds may be used. It is envisioned that DRR activities will eventually be funded through budget allocations or other fund transfers to the districts or communes.
IV. Participatory Approach
- A mapping of current actions on disaster management was conducted as part of the project preparation process. An ADB consultant interviewed development organizations (United Nations agencies, NGOs, and donor agencies) specializing in or implementing humanitarian response, DRR, or disaster recovery projects. In addition to current work in disaster management, the respondents provided feedback on their engagement with the NCDM and line ministries and identified areas where the country’s disaster coordination could be improved. These organizations have also identified technical areas where their expertise may be tapped for capacity building activities at the national and subnational level through direct engagement with the project, or independently.
- The project design incorporated the results of the institutional capacity assessment of the NCDM and its subnational units. Interviews were conducted with NCDM staff from all departments and staff from line ministries, the NCDDS, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). Among the areas discussed were cross-sector communication and individual or joint action on disaster management. The results of the assessment were presented to the NCDM in March 2013, and the proposed project activities were considered as being responsive to the issues raised. A joint consultation meeting between government agencies, development partners, and NGOs was held in April 2013 to review the proposed actions, seek collaboration, harness synergies, and avoid potential duplication.
Primary beneficiaries and other affected groups and relevant description
|Other key stakeholders and brief description|
|Primary project beneficiaries will be the district and commune councils and administrations, villages, and community members who will receive training and resources to implement DRR in their communities.||
Development organizations, NGOs, and provincial departments will be able to inform development of commune plans as well as provide technical and financial support to aligned priorities.
The PCDMs will have a clear work plan for supporting commune and district activities. Capable communes and/or CCDMs may be called upon to assist PCDMs in capacity building and response activities in other areas.
CCDM = commune committee for disaster management, DRR = disaster risk reduction, NGO = nongovernment organization, PCDM = provincial committee for disaster management
Source: Asian Development Bank
- The concept paper and draft grant proposal have been shared with officials of the Embassy of Japan. In addition, the embassy will be kept informed of the status of project implementation and invited to participate in key project events and activities. Prior to the drafting of the grant proposal, discussions were held with the World Bank, other development partners, and related NGOs, all of which indicated strong support for the project design. Further coordination will be held during the project inception and implementation phases.
- During the project design, the Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) were consulted and expressed strong support for the project. They requested that the project emphasize involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and coordination with all stakeholders during its design and implementation. Comments have been incorporated in the revised grant proposal, particularly from consultations with CSOs and development partners specializing in disaster management and DRR and who will be consulted and coordinated with during project implementation. ADB’s Cambodia Resident Mission and the JICA office in Cambodia have already established a coordination mechanism to ensure complementarity and that no overlaps occur. The first coordination meeting was held on 13 July 2013 to share country program and project information. Coordination at the project level will be further enhanced through regular exchange of project information.
- Coordination with the Embassy of Japan, represented by Tamamitsu Shinichi (first secretary of the Economy and Economic Cooperation Section of the embassy in Phnom Penh), and the JICA office, represented by Uchida Togo (project formulation advisor of the JICA office in Phnom Penh), was carried out during the designing of this project. Two separate meetings were held with T. Shinichi and U. Togo on 12 April 2013.
- Shinichi found the project well-prepared in terms of clear objective. He suggested that the participation of CSOs be strengthened in the designing of the project and in the implementation stage. He also stated that there is a proposal from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MoWRAM) for funding from JICA to conduct disaster risk assessment. Hazard mapping is one of the main activities. The proposal is being considered by JICA. If it is funded, MoWRAM and the NCDM should coordinate with each other to avoid any duplication of resources.
- Togo expressed his strong support for the project and emphasized that the project should closely coordinate with all stakeholders to avoid overlaps. He confirmed that JICA received a proposal from the MoWRAM to conduct disaster risk assessment. While JICA will take time to consider this proposal, he wanted to make sure that there will not be overlap, particularly on the hazard mapping.
- The officials from the Embassy of Japan will be invited to participate in key project events and activities. The contribution by Japan (JPFR financing) will be acknowledged in project reports and documentation and to the media. The JFPR logo and the Japanese official development assistance logo will be used in the project website and publications, including press releases, local print and electronic media, training programs, banners, equipment, and workshops, and all will explicitly acknowledge Japan as the source of funding wherever appropriate. The involvement of Japanese NGOs and business organizations in community-based DRR actions will be explored, as will opportunities for demonstrating Japanese know-how and technologies relevant to disaster risk. For example, disaster risk management and climate change experts working for JICA projects in Cambodia will be actively involved in various capacity strengthening programs such as training seminars and workshops. In particular, the project will collaborate closely with JICA projects in the flood rehabilitation area and in related rural infrastructure investments. Representatives of the Embassy of Japan and JICA will be invited to join the review missions. Their comments provided during the review mission will be taken into account and will form the basis for the technical assistance (TA) implementation and to avoid duplication with other ongoing or planned projects.
 About 90% of Cambodia’s poor people live in rural areas and are dependent on small-scale agricultural production for livelihood.
 ADB CDTA 45283, Mainstreaming Climate Resilience into Development Planning
 The National Strategic Development Plan is the overarching document that details the country’s development goals and directs national strategies and policy.
 ADB. 2008. Strategy 2020: The Long-Term Strategic Framework of the Asian Development Bank, 2008–2020.
 ADB. 2011. Country Partnership Strategy: Cambodia, 2011-2013. Manila.
 Footnote 3, pp. 4.
 These sectors are (i) transport; (ii) water supply, sanitation, and urban development; (iii) agriculture and natural resources; (iv) education and training; and (v) finance.
 ADB. 2012. Technical Assistance to the Kingdom of Cambodia: Mainstreaming Climate Resilience into Development Planning. Manila.
 Commune and Sangkat have the same administrative functions. The Province is divided into Municipalities and Districts. The Municipality is divided into Sangkats. The District is divided into Communes and Sangkats.
 ADB produced a comprehensive accompanying report mapping the different disaster-related initiatives in the country and identifying disaster programming gaps and opportunities, which is available on request.