World Bank Financing Will Improve Disaster and Climate Resilience of Flood-Damaged Rural Roads in Cambodia

WASHINGTON — The World Bank today approved US$169 million in new financing for the Cambodia Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project 2 to improve the disaster and climate resilience of the rural road network and improve the capacity of the government to support road safety and climate resilience.

The project will support reconstruction of roads and bridges in flood-affected areas and improve the government’s ability to respond to climate disasters. It will benefit approximately 5.5 million people in seven provinces, of whom 52 percent are women, and anyone who uses those roads. The project will also train government staff, mostly at the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), in disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, and post-disaster needs assessment.

“Through the strong commitment of the Ministry of Rural Development and the Government of Cambodia, this project will help to ensure that rural infrastructure remain robust and resilient to climate change, and that vulnerable populations will be protected against disaster shocks,” said World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia, Maryam Salim.

Cambodia is highly vulnerable to a range of negative climate change impacts, particularly floods and droughts, and the country’s rural infrastructure is highly vulnerable to climate-disaster risks. Rural roads are critical to the day-today life of rural communities, and damage to key road segments can cripple the livelihood of rural households and curtail access to basic services such as markets, schools, and hospitals. Extensive flooding in 2020 underscored Cambodia’s need for continued investment in disaster risk management and the vulnerability of key infrastructure.

The project will be implemented by MRD, which has been active in improving resilient construction and maintenance standards. The project builds on the on-going Cambodia Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, which focused on improving climate-resilient rural road connectivity and strengthening MRD’s financial planning for disaster resilience.

Ensuring the climate resilience of rural infrastructure is a priority of the MRD and is aligned with Cambodia’s Rural Development Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2023, which identifies improving the quality and resilience of rural roads as one of four priority programs.

The new financing will strengthen MRD’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and support advance planning and flood risk management in the Tonle Sap region, which was hit hard by the 2020 floods. The new financing will also bolster the organizational, and technical capacity of MRD in project implementation.

The new funding is a credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, supported by a grant of $450,000 from the Japan-Bank Program for Mainstreaming DRM in Developing Countries, which is financed by the Government of Japan and managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. Cambodia will provide US$2 million in counterpart financing.