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.

In the past few decades, Cambodia has enjoyed an impressive economic growth. However, this growth has not been inclusive to all Cambodian citizens. Inequality persists in many countries around the world, and in Cambodia, it ranges from the ownership of physical assets to access to essential services. The richest individuals in Cambodia earn in a day the equivalent of the salaries generated by the lowest-income earner 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 more than their male counterparts. The country's gross domestic product (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 an 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 displace masses of people across borders. Women and children are often impacted more than men. Oxfam believes that this is not sustainable nor is it acceptable, and as an alternative, has created 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. Women have less access to economic opportunities and are underrepresented politically. Transitioning to an inclusive and green economic model will therefore accelerate gender equality and strengthen women’s position in decision making, entrepreneurship, their worker and consummation, as one of the main tenants of inclusion is the participation of women.

Fisherwoman in Kratie province. Photo: Oxfam

Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) builds on Oxfam’s work on fostering green economy, such as sustainable agriculture. 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. The IGE program uses a tool 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 subsequently purchased by investors . The sale of units generates revenues that are shared with women beneficiaries and their groups, putting resources directly into the hands of women. The W+ Standard is the only women-focused standard to be vetted and included in the Verified Carbon Standard of VERRA (https://verra.org/?s=W%2B+Standard) – the largest carbon standard in the world, used to produce carbon offsets for the voluntary carbon markets. requires that at least 20% of the price of the sold credit is provided to women of the project community, to support their self-determined goal contributing to both SDG (5) Gender Equality and SDG 13 ( Climate Action ).

The IGE Program also works with the Private Sector through projects like I-SME:

 

Oxfam’s IGE programme works 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 private sector actors to create an enabling environment for them to be more inclusive to enable small scale producers (SSPs) in the agriculture sector, vulnerable fishing communities in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Region (TSBR), garment factory workers, vulnerable women and children to be more resilient against climate change, have more opportunities for non-precarious work and diversify their livelihood.

The IGE programme works with companies such as Okra Solar to provide off grid energy to the vulnerable fishing communities in the TSBR and also provide clean energy for mobility devices such as boats to take children to school. Under this programme, Oxfam also works with the Cambodia Agriculture Cooperative Corporation (CACC) through an innovative Public-Private-Producer Partnership (P4) model where farmers can become shareholders in an enterprise such as CACC.

Overall, the IGE programme, engages with :

 

  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Renewable Energy, Green Energy, Off Grid Energy, Energy Policies
  • Green and Sustainable Finance – offering technical advisory to access Green Finance
  • Promoting inclusive businesses
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) and 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.