Inclusive Green Economy

Ouk Norng, a farmer, uses a computer for the first time at the opening of the Cambodia Community Innovation Centre in Pursat province. These centres are to unlock access to the Internet and digital technologies to help farmers, rural women in particular.

Cambodia has been blessed with economic growth. However, this growth has not been inclusive to all Cambodian citizens. Like many other countries around the globe as well as within Southeast Asia, there is wide inequality in Cambodia in ownership of physical assets and access to essential services. As an example, the richest in Cambodia earn in a day what the lowest-income earner makes in 10 years. In their study on inequality reduction in Cambodia, Nhem et al. (2018) argue that income inequality has grown by over 20% from 1999 to 2014. Women earn between 70%-90% of what men earn in economic activities. Also, women account for 2.5 times of unpaid care work that of their male counterparts. The country's GDP does not reveal the level of income inequality and the lower living-standards of the low-income groups. The GDP perspective masks the socio-political and environmental impact as well as the reality of the economic struggle of most Cambodians. One way to address this issue is through the Inclusive and Green Economy lens.

Today's dominant economic model generates widespread environmental/climate and health risks, encourages wasteful consumption and production which results in inequality, resource scarcity, environmental damage and ultimately conflicts that displaces masses of people across borders. In this outcome Women and children are often impacted more than men. This is not sustainable nor is it acceptable. An alternative to this is an “Inclusive and Green Economy Model” which aims to reduce inequality and empower women. Due to different gender roles women, and men are impacted unequally in the dominant (neo-liberal) economic model. Women have less access to economic opportunities and are underrepresented politically. Therefore, transitioning to an inclusive and green economic model will also accelerate gender equality where women are decisionmakers, entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers as one of the main tenants of inclusion is the participation of women.

Fisherwoman in Kratie province. Photo: Oxfam

Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) has evolved from earlier work on Green Economy and in addition to being Gender Inclusive it promotes low carbon, efficient and clean production, inclusive consumption, and outcomes, based on sharing, circularity, collaboration, solidarity, resilience, opportunity, and interdependence. An example of combining Gender and Climate is a tool used in the IGE Program called W+ Credits which measures women’s empowerment activities in six areas: Time saving, Income/Assets, Education/Knowledge, Leadership, Food Security or Health and monetizes the units by listing them on the Markit global registry. These credits are sold to investors. The W+ can be used alongside carbon standards e.g., W+ and Verified Carbon Standard have developed a streamlined process to measure carbon benefits and women’s empowerment outcomes of projects generating W+ labeled VCUs, simultaneously contributing to SDG13 and SDG5.

We work with public and private sectors as well as aspiring women and men who wish to green Cambodian value chains and make markets work for the poor. We collaborate with government institutions such as the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), following groups to support an inclusive and green economic model. We work with the Private Sector to create an enabling environment for them to be more inclusive so that Small Scale Producers (SSPs) in the agriculture sector, Vulnerable fishing communities in the (TSBR), Garment Factory Workers. Most vulnerable Women and Children can be more resilient against Climate Change, have more opportunities for non-precarious work, diversify their livelihood and be resilient.

IGE Program works with Companies like Okra Solar to provide off grid energy to the vulnerable fishing communities in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Region (TSBR) and to also provide energy for mobility devices such as boats to take children to school. Other examples include, working with Cambodia Agriculture Cooperative Corporation Plc (CACC) through an innovative Producer, Private, Public Partnership (P4) model where Farmers can have equity ownership in an enterprise such as CACC. Following are some areas of engagement:

 

  • Agriculture – Across the Values Chain including Processors
  • Aquaculture - Across the Values Chain including Processors
  • Renewable Energy / Green Energy – Off Grid Energy / Energy Policy
  • Green/Sustainable Finance – Technical Advisory (TA) to access Green Finance
  • Inclusive Business /Technical Advisory
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Green Innovation


 

We work with an Inclusive Green Economy Lens to reach our objectives:

  • RGC ‘s Commitment to Carbon Neutrality through it’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the UNFCCC implemented through sectoral focus (Agriculture, Sustainable Energy, Construction, Garments, Waste, Eco tourism) and sub-national bodies supported through polies and practice
  • A Private sector in Cambodia that embraces the inclusive and green economy model where women empowerment principles are adopted by the private sector and integrated into supply chains.
  • A Private sector that supports inclusive business models where small-scale producers (farmers) are connected to markets and compensated fairly for their products and services.
  • Alternative and Green Livelihood models that support the most vulnerable, CFIs, Women and Children to be more resilient from economic and environmental shocks.
  • Environmental Impact/ Deforestation is reduced in the TSBR through an Inclusive and Green Economy Model.
  • More Cambodian Women and Youth (also SSPs) are able to access finance, technology and entrepreneurial capacity to reduce poverty and environmental impact.