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USAID launches $24M project to expand carbon credit markets in Cambodia

Cambodia Investment Review

Local communities, the private sector, development partners, and government representatives have celebrated the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cambodia’s environment portfolio and the launch of USAID Morodok Baitang – a new five-year, $24 million project.

Through USAID, the U.S. Government has supported the livelihoods of Cambodians living near the Kingdom’s protected areas for over a decade.

The project, implemented by Tetra Tech ARD, will use a market systems approach to support conservation and sustainable development in Keo Seima in Mondulkiri, Lumphat in Ratanakiri, Siem Pang in Stung Treng, and the Cardamom mountains.

“The United States is committed to tackling the global climate crisis with Cambodian partners,” said U.S. Chargé d’affaires Benjamin Wohlauer.  

“USAID Morodok Baitang will work closely with local communities, the private sector, and development partners to create job opportunities and climate-smart business models that promote conservation and sustainable economic growth for Cambodia,” he added.

Expanding carbon credit sales

USAID Morodok Baitang will aim to expand carbon credit sales in Keo Seima and the Cardamom Mountains while increasing revenues and employment opportunities for forest-dependent communities.

The fund will support the sustainability of Cambodia’s green forest heritage through developing sustainable and climate-friendly market systems.

Morodok Baitang, which in the Khmer language means “Green Heritage,” will work with local communities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to help Cambodians adapt to climate change.

U.S. Chargé d’affaires Benjamin Wohlauer at U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.

“The livelihood initiatives and Ibis Rice activities have provided direct benefits to local communities,” said Mr. Socheat Keo, Executive Director of the Sansom Mlup Prey organization.

“It is critical that we continue to preserve and protect the natural resources that these communities rely on so heavily,” she added.

The long-term strategy for carbon neutrality

Cambodia has become the first ASEAN nation to submit its Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality (LTS4CN) to the United Nations finding an economic impact of 449,000 additional jobs and an additional 2.8% of annual GDP growth by 2050 if the Kingdom can be carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality can be achieved by either balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal or by eliminating emissions.

In the report, the Cambodian Government Energy Minister Say Samal said the country was looking for a long-term transition strategy for its economy towards carbon neutrality.

He added shifting direct financing into green and sustainable development was becoming more popular for the international community and Cambodia was ready to utilize these finance options.

To read more about Cambodia’s 2050 carbon neutrality plan click here.

According to the International Monetary Fund: “Without action, the population exposed to an extreme river flood could grow by around 4 million by the 2040s, while the damming of the Mekong River, as well as the large-scale dams built on its tributaries, may alter future flood dynamics.”

“Climate change trends indicate more severe floods and droughts, which is projected to reduce absolute GDP by 9.8 percent in 2050,” they added.

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