Asian Mega-Deltas Initiative holds consultation workshop in Cambodia to address climate change challenges

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The CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas (AMD) organized a consultation workshop in collaboration with the Cambodia Technical Working Group (TWG) on Climate Change on December 19, 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The workshop aimed to gather lead members of the TWG on Climate Change, various AMD key stakeholders, including CGIAR experts, and relevant partners to collectively address the pressing challenges of climate change. It is a critical step towards ensuring the implementation of sustainable and country-owned outcomes for the AMD initiative in Cambodia.

L-R: Dr. Rica Joy Flor, Dr. Chan Phaloeun, and Dr. Mak Soeun
L-R: Dr. Rica Joy Flor, Dr. Chan Phaloeun, and Dr. Mak Soeun

The workshop was chaired by Dr. Chan Phaloeun, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) along with Dr Rica Joy Flor, a scientist with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Dr. Mak Soeun, Deputy Director-General of General Directorate of Agriculture of MAFF.

In her opening message, Dr. Phaloeun shared that “Cambodia is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change risks, with the Mekong Delta region facing an escalating frequency of floods, droughts, storms, and salinity intrusion. Additionally, the degradation of soil quality and biodiversity in rice ecosystems, dwindling water availability, and the proliferation of pests and diseases pose significant challenges to the country’s agricultural sector.”

To effectively address climate change in Cambodia and achieve sustainable, country-driven outcomes, a multifaceted approach encompassing mitigation, adaptation and international collaboration is essential, Dr. Phaloeun stressed. She emphasized that the integration of knowledge on carbon neutrality innovation, low-emission rice production, and climate-resilient rice farming practices should be prioritized in the planning of the AMD Initiative agenda for the forthcoming implementation years in Cambodia.

Dr. Chan Phaloeun
Dr. Chan Phaloeun

As the highlight of the event, four AMD Focus Areas presented the progress of their work in the country.

Dr Rica Joy Flor of IRRI shared the work on Adapting Deltaic Production Systems. Utilizing suitability maps and promoting innovative farming practices, the team has been actively promoting integrated production through field trials, encompassing rice-fish farming and diversified systems like rice-watermelon and rice-sweet potato.

Dr. Khondker Murshed-e-Jahan, Initiative Co-lead of AMD and scientist at WorldFish, talked about the work on Nutrition-Sensitive Agri-Food Systems. He shared the initial results of household livelihood and consumption survey, as well as a survey on rural food vendors, that will inform the design of appropriate interventions to enhance nutrition security equitably.

Dr. Khondker Murshed-e-Jahan
Dr. Khondker Murshed-e-Jahan

Dr. Cornelis Swaans, scientist at the Alliance Bioversity-CIAT, discussed on the activities under Derisking Delta-Oriented Value Chains. He shared the results of the assessment studies on farmer user needs, digital landscape, and value chain climate risk and vulnerability and the experiences in implementing seasonal/monthly climate advisory for small-scale farmers and developing climate advisory through public-private sector partnerships to optimize decision-making.

Lastly, Dr. Bui Tan Yen, scientist at IRRI, presented on Evidence-Based Delta Development Planning. He shared the results of the implementation of Climate-Smart Mapping and Adaptation Planning (CS-MAP) for drought and flood risks in rice cultivation in the four delta provinces of Cambodia.

Cambodia Technical Working Group on Climate Change and CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas  team
Cambodia Technical Working Group on Climate Change and CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas team

In his closing remarks, Dr. Bjorn Ole Sander, Initiative Lead for AMD, was grateful for the participation of relevant stakeholders in Cambodia, paving the way for more science-policy interactions. He stressed this will contribute to strengthening the close collaboration among AMD scientists and national and local policy makers and technical experts. He emphasized that the recommendations from the partners will be prioritized in the planning of AMD’s next business cycle.

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