Project title Sector SCP practice
AEMAS Utilities sector Product design for sustainability
Efficient Air Conditioners / ASEAN SHINE Electrical equipment industry Eco-labels, Product design for sustainability
MEET-BIS Cambodia Machinery industry Environmental Management Systems
Reducing Plastic Bag Waste Cross cutting issues Waste Management
SPIN-VCL Textile and leather industry Product design for sustainability
Sustainable Freight and Logistics Sustainable Supply Chain Management
Sustainable Rattan Wood-based industry Cleaner Production, Product design for sustainability
WtE in Rice Milling Sector Food and beverage Cleaner Production

Focal point

Dr. Sereyrotha Ken, Deputy Secretary, General Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development  and Mr. Meng Eang Taing, Director of Department of Green Economy, General Secretariat of National Council for Sustainable Development.


Under SWITCH-Asia’s Regional Policy Support Component, UNEP’s main partner is the Ministry of Environment & National Council on Green Growth. Currently, discussions are underway to broaden policy support activities in 2016, especially along the topics of the 10YFP’s programme areas. The following areas have been identified as priority for capacity building and policy support on SCP after a comprehensive needs’ analysis in the country. 

Partnerships between Government, Research and Industry

  • Establish tripartite partnerships between government, research and the market to achieve greater implementation of SCP technologies and practices and to mobilize funding for research and implementation. Partnerships with business would also increase the possibility of commercialization of SCP innovations.
  • Facilitation of producer networks through information platforms such as, for example, effective regional networks on cleaner production. This would also provide a mechanism for transferring technology between developed and developing countries.

Policy support to raise the awareness of and provide training in SCP 

  • Establish a program to support training in SCP as part staff development in ministries and other public organizations
  • Run awareness campaign on SCP through regional, national and local levels of networking, i.e. education, distribution of information, exchanges of best practices and lessons learnt
  • Expand programmes on technical training and provide support to develop adequate technical guidelines for SCP technologies and practices.

Policy support to coordinate SCP activities

  • Intensify inter-agency, inter-line ministries and multi-stakeholder coordination and involvements (building upon and extending the mechanisms established in the Green Growth Roadmap process)
  • Raise awareness of environmental sustainability issues and help to build up skills in environmental and ecological economics at the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC)
  • Strengthen the role of SCP (and GG) in the National Strategic Development Plan and resolve conflicts between development and environmental policy objectives.

Policy support for cooperation and implementation

  • Support the mainstreaming of SCP in national development plans, education system and industrial and agricultural production of Cambodia

Status of SCP policy framework

Cambodia has various existing policies, strategies and plans relating to Sustainable Consumption and Production and Resource Efficiency These fall under a range of ministries, including the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Ministry of Rural Development (MORD), and the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME). 

In 2010, Cambodia was one of the first Asian countries to adopt a National Green Growth Roadmap, aiming to shift from a ‘grow first, clean up later’ attitude to a more considered approach to economic, environmental and social development. This was followed by a National Policy on Green Growth and a National Strategic Plan on Green Growth.

National Policy on Green Growth

The National Policy on Green Growth was approved on March 2013:

  • To strike balance of economic development with environment, society, culture and sustainable use of national resources through integration, matching and adaptation, as well as harmonization between a green growth principle and national policy. 
  • To enhance the well-being and livelihood of all people in harmonization with ecological safety through green growth, basing on green economy, blue economy, environment protection, social safety nets system and uphold of national cultural identity. 

National Strategic Plan on Green Growth 2013 – 2020 (approved by Council of Ministers on March 2013) focusing on:

  • Green investment and green jobs creation 
  • Green economy management in balance with environment 
  • Blue economy development with sustainability 
  • Green Environment and natural resources management 
  • Human resources development and green education 
  • Effective green technology management 
  • Promotion of a green social safety system 
  • Uphold and protection of green cultural heritage and national identity 
  • Good governance on Green Growth 

 Green Growth Institutionalization in Cambodia

  • The Government has established National Council on Green Growth (NCGG); General  Secretariat for Green Growth (GSGG), built on the existing National Green Growth Secretariat and Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Green Growth. 

Environmental Governance Reform for Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is in the process of an Environmental Governance Reform being led under the vision and leadership of His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment. The Environmental Governance Reform seeks to create an enabling legal and policy environment that will make it possible to achieve environmental protection while supporting sustainable development. It is composed of three core elements: capacity building within the Ministry of Environment, the creation of the National Council for Sustainable Development and the development of a National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP). 

The National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD)

The Governance Reform in Cambodia has already led to the establishment in May 2015 of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), a policy making body designed to promote sustainable development, ensuring economic, environmental, social and cultural balance of the nation. The first meeting of the NCSD occurred on 31 August 2016 under chairmanship of the Minister of Environment. This meeting brought together for the first time senior government representatives at the central and provincial levels to review and decide on a wide range of agenda items related to the reform. (Source: / Second Source:

The National Environment Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP)

In addition, the National Environment Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) is currently under review and projected to be completed by the end of 2016. On August 10th, more than 150 national stakeholders gathered in Phnom Penh to review the first draft of the NESAP. The NESAP prioritizes policy and financing tools as part of a framework to ensure that economic development is efficient, sustainable, and inclusive over the next 8-years. It will be the first national environmental strategy for the country in more than a decade. The national consultation workshop was organized by the Ministry of Environment with support from the Greater Mekong Sub-region Core Environment Program and was attended by government officials from multiple ministries as well as development partner representatives. The draft NESAP will be finalized during August to October and then submitted to government approval processes. (Source:

New Environmental Code & Capacity Building within the Ministry of Environment

In line with this Environmental Governance Reform, the United Nations Environment Programme, through the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia Programme, is cooperating with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on enhancing the Ministry of Environment’s capacity with the aim of transforming it into a more professional, modern, effective and efficient organization and creating a completely new environmental protection and natural resources conservation legal framework. In particular, SWITCH-Asia is providing technical assistance to the development of a new Environmental Code and Decision Support System on Integrated Ecosystem Mapping for the country. Among other things, the new Environmental Code will entail legal provisions to strengthen the conservation of natural resources and wildlife, build climate resilience, promote the use of renewable and environmentally friendly energy, and build sustainable cities with the capacity to deal with air and waste pollution. 

The purpose of the code is to support “sustainable development in Cambodia through the protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources”. To this end, the Code will clarify the mandates and roles of government entities concerned, offering the necessary specificity for the implementation of the Code to be effective. It will also contribute to putting in place a system of checks and balances; for example, by ensuring environmental impact assessments and the monitoring of developmental activities proposed by other ministries, with a view to ensuring social and environmental safeguards. 

Moreover, the Code will define enabling regulatory frameworks for the sustainable use of lands, water, forests, energy, and for the creation of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and climate resilient cities and communities. These regulatory frameworks include legal requirements for rigorous environmental impact assessment, and robust environmental quality standards.  

Last but not least, the Code is significant for its contribution to transparency and accountability. Effective and full participation of people and communities in environmental governance is crucial to make best use of their firsthand knowledge of environmental resources, and because people and communities, Indigenous Peoples in particular, are directly affected by environmental change or degradation. Women are often most dependent on natural resources and that negative environmental change have a big impact on their lives and on their family. In order to promote inclusive and equitable development, it is therefore very important that the Environmental Code provide opportunities for both women and men to share their knowledge and voice their concerns. 

The new Environmental Code provides a legal foundation for strengthening the rights of citizens to participate in environmental decisions and actions that affect them, and extends to them the right to obtain relevant environmental information. It aspires to create an enabling legal environment for attaining all of these SDGs, for Cambodia to thrive, now and in the future.

Law on Consumer Protection

A specific law on Consumer Protection is currently in the process of being drafted with the support of UNCTAD (Sources: Ministry of Commerce, 2012)

The following has also been provided as information from the SCP National Focal Point on Laws and Policies that support SCP, though their focus is across environmental areas in governance. 

Other Laws of relevance to SCP

  • Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management (November 18, 1996)
  • Law on Land (30 August 2001)
  • Law on Forest (31 August 2002)
  • Law on Fish (21 May 2006)
  • Law on Administration of Factory and Handicraft (23 June 2006)
  • Law on Water Resources Management of the Kingdom of Cambodia (June 29, 2007)
  • Law on Protected Areas (Feb. 15, 2008)
  • Law on biosafety (Feb. 18, 2008)

In ensuring resource efficiency from usage to production, Law on Administration of Factory and Handicraft (23 June 2006) determines procedures and conditions for setting up and operating factories, and how to govern all factories and handicrafts in Cambodia. Article 6 in Chapter 2 stipulates quality control, standard, registration and standard mark of product.


  • Sub-decree on Environmental Impact Assessment (1999)
  • Sub-decree on water pollution control (April 6, 1999)
  • Sub-decree on solid waste control (April 27, 1999)
  • Sub-decree on air pollution control (August 10, 2000)
  • Sub-decree on Ozone Layer Pollutant Management (March 17, 2005).

The sub-decrees on water pollution control and wastewater management, together with the sub-decree on EIAs provide a legal framework for the sound management of an ecological system to achieve sustainable clean, equitable, safe and zero-waste targets in line with sustainable developmental principles. In other words, the constitution, laws, royal decrees, sub-decrees and declarations on environment and natural resources serve as a crucial legal instrument to uphold an everlasting human-nature loving and harmonious relationship for Cambodia. This suggests that socio-economic development needs to include environmental costs, and then, developmental activities go hand in hand with a healthy ecology.

In 1996, Cambodia instituted also the Law in Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management, which regulates environmental protection and natural resource management. Cambodia also has a National Sustainable Development Strategy, adopted in 2009, proposing strategic measures for making various sectors more sustainable. 

Resource consumption and production

Main Resource Consumption and Resource Efficiency Indicators (2010)

Population (millions) 14.365
GDP (billion USD) 9.984
GDP is in USD exchange rate based on year 2005 and deflated.
Source: UNSD database.
Subject Area Total Per person Per USD$ of GDP
Domestic Material Consumption, DMC
(tonnes, tonnes per capita, kgr per 1USD$)
93,663,067 6.52 10.77
GHG emissions
(kilotonnes,tonnes per capita, kgr per 1USD$ )
126,272 8.79 14.53
Total Primary Energy Supply, TPES
(Petajoules, Gigajoules per capita, Megajoules per 1USD$)
210.34 14.64 24.20
Water Use
(Trillion litres, Kilolitres per capita, Litres per 1USD$)
2.18 152.04 251.23
Subject Area Indicator
Population density 2015 (UNESA 2012 revision), population per 87
GDP per capita (USD), 2013 WB 1,006.80
HDI Rank (2013) UNDP NA
Arable land (hectares per person) WB 2012 0.28
Forest cover in % (2010), UNSTATS 57
Material intensity (2010)UNEP 10.77
Per-capita energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) 2011, WB 365
Energy intensity
(total primary energy consumption per USD of GDP) 2011, EIA
GHG intensity (2010) UNEP 14.53
CO2 emissions (metric tone per capita), 2010, WB 0.3
Number of Middle Class consumers % (2010), ADB 8
Number of people with income < 2USD/day (PPP, USD, %), 2010, ADB 92

Trends in Resource Consumption and Resource Efficiency Indicators (1970-2010)

DE: Domestic Extraction;
MI: Material Intensity of the economy;
MF: Material Footprint.
All other abbreviations explained in the table above

In panel a) we can see that growth in Cambodia’s GHG emissions grew faster than the other overview indicators (no TPES value was available for 1970 therefore no indexed value possible), followed by GDP for most of the period, with a late spike in DMC. Cambodia’s DE, in panel b), was long dominated by biomass, however non- metallic minerals grow very rapidly in the final years and become dominant by 2010, and account for the rapid increase in DMC described for panel a). A similar trajectory for the growth in the importance of non-metallic minerals is apparent in the MF shown in panel c), however on MF measures there was a major and sustained decrease in biomass used per capita between 1990 and 2002 which further emphasized the growth in non- metallic minerals. In panel d) we see Cambodia becoming less materials intense for the majority of the period
1990 to 2010, with this trend reversing rapidly from 2008 for both MF and DMC based measures. In panel e) we see that footprint based measures tend to estimate much lower energy intensities and per capita usage than TPES based indicators, while the reverse is true for GHGs in panel f), at least for the first decade (1990 to 2000), after which there is no consistent pattern.

(Source: UNEP CSIRO Indicators for a Resource Efficient and Green Asia and the Pacific, 2015). 

Key references relevant to SCP

  • SWITCH-Asia RPSC SCP Policy Needs Assessment, 2011.
  • Ministry of Environment Green Growth Secretariat, 2011. The National Green Growth Roadmap, Phnom Penh.
  • Ministry of Planning (MoP), 2010. Achieving Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals Update 2010. Phnom Penh.
  • Royal Government of Cambodia, 2010. National Strategic Development Plan, Update 2009-2013, Phnom Penh.

UNEP's relevant activities

The information in the country profiles herein have been obtained through research with firsthand and secondhand sources. The information presented herein cannot be considered as official policy of governments or other official bodies. The SWITCH-Asia Programme cannot be held responsible for the content of the sites to which it provides links or for the availability of servers or links. Information is being continuously updated in order to maintain an up to date country profile. If you would like to contribute information for this profile or have any further comments, please send an email to:


Cambodia has one of the most vibrant microfinancing sectors in the world. Yet, financing that exceeds the smaller sums available from microfinance institutions are difficult to obtain especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For continuing the growth path that Cambodia has embarked on the access of SMEs to financing is crucial. Investments in business expansion and upgrading are important for the economic growth of the country. At the same time, investments should not only be made in mere expansion but also in efficiency improvements. The benefit of such efficiency improvements is that the economic productivity is increased and the environmental impacts are reduced. In Cambodia, however, the market for finance for such types of investment is still rather small.

The Government of Cambodia has made efforts to develop an enabling policy framework for SME growth and green development. Yet, public funding is mainly available for rural electrification and agricultural development. The focus of these programmes is usually on farms and households rather than SMEs.

The micro finance landscape in Cambodia is well developed. However, micro finance institutions (MFIs) are of limited relevance for SMEs as credits are usually below SMEs' capital requirements. Bank loans, on the other hand, in most cases exceed financing needs of small and lower-range medium businesses, even if they are officially targeted at SMEs. Additionally, many SME loans do not come with any considerable benefits compared to general commercial loans.

While private equity and impact investment have been growing in Cambodia, investments are still limited to a small number of enterprises. These enterprises are often run by foreigners and have a dedicated green and/or social business model. Impact investors do usually not look for a conventional industrial enterprise that wants to increase its energy efficiency. Other opportunities for funding, such as through the capital market and factoring, are almost non-existent. Overall, SMEs' access to formal finance remains restrained. The majority of Cambodian SMEs look for funding within their personal or business network to finance their day-to-day business.

Key challenges for Green Financing in Cambodia

Major challenges that keep SMEs from applying for formal financing are high collateral requirements and interest rates. Banks, on the other hand, are reluctant to lend to unregistered SMEs lacking in credit history and financial management capacities. As business registration comes with considerable bureaucratic and financial burden, many SMEs are not willing to become formalised. Instead, they prefer to operate using their limited resources. These circumstances severely hamper opportunities for investing into resource and energy efficiency or green innovations. The legal framework for governing the financial sector is still being built. A weak judicial system makes enforcing loan agreements and liquidating collateral rather uncertain, therefore reducing investors' motivation to become engaged in the SME and start-up scene.

Main institutions providing Green Finance


Asia Development Bank (ADB)

Sumitomot Mitsui Banking Corporation

Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia

Prasac Micro Finance Institution

Sathapana Micro Finance Institution


UBERIS Capital

ANZ Royal Bank

Rural Development Bank (RDB)

Campu Bank (Cambodian Public Bank)

Advanced Bank of Asia (ABA)

Canadia Bank

United Nations Capital Development Fund

Global Agriculture & Food Security Programme (GAFSP)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)