Cambodia has been ranked among the Southeast Asian countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to a report by Asian Development Bank. And climate change is one of the significant push factor for labour migration in the country.
Cambodia as other Southeast Asian countries faces increasing threats from climate change with increasing losses in human lives and significant damages to economic development and natural resources. There are more frequent and intensified floods, droughts, saline intrusion and extreme weather events, especially over the last decade. Therefore, climate change becomes a primary issue requiring urgent attention in designing appropriate climate change policies, strategies and actions as responses at the global, regional and national levels and Cambodia developed its Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014 – 2023.
In addition to floods, drought, and damaging storms, people are also endangered by disease outbreaks, fires, and technological hazards as potential triggers of disasters. This has been exacerbated by the climate change impacts. People are increasingly exposed to climatic hazards which pose a threat to livelihoods, healthcare and education.
Potential impacts of climate change have significant consequences to food security as around 82% of the population are engaged in agricultural activities, and approximately 80% rely on subsistence crops.
Farmers still depend on rainwater for irrigation, meaning drier seasons make farming more difficult. Dry season are becoming also more challenging as the temperature rises to 42 degrees Celsius.
This creates new challenges for the farmers. It is therefore important to equip farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to help adapt to and mitigate against the effects of climate change. Sometimes simple solutions and small support can bring significant positive change.
From above mentioned reasons Cambodia is one of major countries of origin in Asia for migrants with over one million living abroad. Most seek work outside of the country due to lack of sufficient employment opportunities available domestically and the significant wage differentials of employment overseas. The primary destination country for Cambodian migrant workers is Thailand, with workers commonly migrating into the fishing, agriculture, livestock, construction, manufacturing and service sectors, including domestic work. Only a small portion of these workers use regular channels to migrate due to the high cost, long delays and administrative complexities involved. The majority relying on social networks and unlicensed brokers to go abroad. These illegal migrants work in undignified and very unfavorable working conditions, many hours a day for a very low wage, they are not entitled to any health care or protection.
But Cambodia is aware of the challenge and tries to cope through Climate Change Strategic Plan (2014 – 2023), Policy on Labour Migration (2018) and other relevant structures. The international development cooperation is also very important as international organizations can assist local and provincial government as well as local people and enhance their capacity and resilience.
CAMBODIA CLIMATE CHANGESTRATEGIC PLAN (2014 – 2023): http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/cam143041.pdf