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SCP Context

Cambodia National Context for SCP and Connection to the Global Agenda

Cambodia’s priorities have long been focusing on economic growth and poverty reduction in mainly four sectoral pillars: agriculture, garment, tourism and construction. Cambodia is currently implementing the fourth phase of the Rectangular Strategy for growth, employment, equity and efficiency, which are aligned with its National Poverty Reduction Strategy and the new National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP 2019-2023). The latter has mainstreamed both the Cambodian SDGs 2016-2030 framework and sectoral development plans. Since 2009, Cambodia’s SCP practices have been guided by a vision on low‐carbon development outlined in the country’s Green Growth Roadmap, which envisioned a combination of objectives for economic growth and development, human well‐being, and environmental quality. Enhancing sustainable consumption and production, next to greening markets and businesses, creating favorable climate for establishing sustainable infrastructure and equal access to resources, as well as the incremental implementation of fiscal policy instruments such as green tax and budget reform are acknowledged measures to increase the sustainability of economic growth in Cambodia. The priority areas of the country’s Green Growth policy for 2013-2030 focus on leading the country towards a “green civilisation”, with special focus on green investment and green jobs creation, green/blue economy, natural resources management, human resources development, green technology management, green social safety system, green cultural heritage, and good governance on green growth. The Cambodian government response to climate change includes a Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-2023, sectoral Climate Change Action Plans, and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Cooperation with the European Union has continued over more than a decade to promote the shift to sustainable consumption and production through SWITCH-Asia utilising the Grants Programme, which in the past has made possible eight projects between 2009 and 2019, aimed at energy efficiency, environmental management, waste management, and resources efficiency in the textile and leather, rice, and rattan industries.


Cambodia is on its way to develop into an upper middle-income country and go through economic structural transformation with a changing demography. 

  • Energy is a critical development challenge in Cambodia. Currently, only 40% of the population has access to reliable electricity. The RCG’s Rural Electrification Fund which was set up to provide a sustainable supply of various types of energy at a reasonable price, has been supported by international development assistance and foreign direct investors, the latter mainly from China (e.g., hydropower).
  • Waste management and recycling infrastructure is weak. Some of the recyclable waste is exported to Thailand and Vietnam for reprocessing. The remainder, especially in rural areas, is burnt due to the lack of dumpsites or waste collection services, or ends up as litter in the environment and waterways.
  • Unsustainable practices in its main trading sectors (agriculture, garment, tourism) have resulted in advanced environmental pressures, while aspiring to grow the economy in view of further poverty reduction with a growing population and urbanisation. Challenges include the lack of sustainable urban transportation.
  • Economic growth has come at a cost of over‐exploitation of Cambodia's fisheries and forests over the last decades. In addition, climate change has been causing adverse effects on the ecosystem and its socio-economic development.
  • Agriculture plays an important role in the national economy, both in its contribution to poverty reduction, improvement in people’s livelihoods and job creation. An accelerated and upscaled diversification and productivity of the agriculture sector is key to replace the widely used traditional production methods, which have negative environmental impacts, but clean agricultural technology is unaffordable.
  • The mobilisation of resources for green growth remains a challenge due to high interest rates, low domestic savings, and rising household debt. Mobilizing science and technology cooperation and developing quality, competent and productive human resources are key to support green sector opportunities.
  • Governing and developing capacity for green growth: lacking inclusivity, limited inter-sectoral collaboration, weak public awareness.


In response to the challenges and beyond, Cambodia sets the following priorities in the field of sustainable consumption and production:

  • Sustainable energy: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and providing energy access, and waste-to-energy solutions.
  • Enhancing capacity in infrastructure, water resources management, and agriculture which is adaptive to climate change.
  • Increase of industrial productivity through using resources more efficiently and sustainable transportation.
  • Overall, Cambodia seeks to diversify sectors and job creation to create value added and revenue while transforming the economy into a more developed and sustainable one. Such sectors include, for example, waste management (focus on recycling processing), energy, agri-food processing (focus on fish and aquaculture products), finance, and increased use of product-services combinations, e.g., in the context of a sharing economy. Technological advancement in the current stage of industrial revolution 4.0 will result in the creation of new kinds of jobs and businesses. The digital economy is advancing very quickly thanks to the high shares of telephone and internet users.
  • Governance: strengthening the capacity of relevant public institutions at central and sub-national levels.
  • Equality: reduction of poverty and the social gap through enhanced market participation, social protection and quality public services.


  • SWITCH-Asia can build on above ambitions to transform Cambodia’s economy while remaining competitive in a growingly climate and environmental-aware ASEAN and global supply chains.
  • Scale-up efforts to electrify the country by 2020 with sustainable energy, and support with energy consumption reduction efforts.
  • Support inter-disciplinary nature of SCP by support of multi-sectoral cooperation.
  • Train media to report on SCP and to create awareness among the public, particularly involve private enterprises in greening the development of the private sector (awareness rising, sector-specific capacity development).
  • Further exploration of innovative finance as well as sustainable consumption will help to create an enabling environment for green investment to set market signals for the domestic economy and to foster new green job growth.

SWITCH-Asia Activities


SCP Facility 

  • Preliminary assessment of SCP related policies, activities, needs/gaps, and opportunities.

Regional Policy Advocacy Component (RPAC)

Facilitated the participation of Cambodian key-stakeholders in the following regional/ sub-regional activities:


SCP Facility 

  • In December 2019, request for support to formulate Cambodia SCP Roadmap and Demonstration Project was received from the National Focal Point from the National Council for Sustainable Development. 

Regional Policy Advocacy Component (RPAC)

Facilitated the participation of Cambodian key-stakeholders in the following regional/ sub-regional activities:


  • Led by RPAC together with partners, developed the National SCP Roadmap

Regional Policy Advocacy Component (RPAC)

  • The RPAC has provided technical support to Cambodia on development of policy supporting documents i.e Scoping Study on SCP and the National SCP Roadmap to advocate and mainstream SCP into the national development plans.

Facilitated the participation of Cambodian key-stakeholders in the following regional/sub-regional activities:


Facilitated the participation of Cambodian key-stakeholders in the following regional/sub-regional activities:


SCP Facility 

  • Led by the SCP Facility, policy analysis report prepared on SCP and circular economy in the garments sector focused on waste reduction, in consultations with stakeholders including collaborations with SWITCH-Asia Grant projects
  • Capacity building activities for stakeholders working in the garment and textile sector are being implemented with a focus on the integration of Circular Economy in policy actions and business operations, in line with the National SCP Roadmap and the Policy Analysis Report. 

Grants Projects