Assessing Vulnerabilities and Responses to Environmental Changes in Cambodia

G. Oudry, K. Pak, C. Chea, J. Bigham
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
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Cambodia is being reshaped by increasingly complex and diverse population movements. Domestic and crossborder migration is one of the most significant transformational changes in Cambodian society and is set to continue. According to the 2008 Population Census, 26 per cent of the Cambodian population were migrants.Between 2010 and 2013, the Cambodia – Thailand corridor became the 9th most important migration stream
globally (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2013). As of November 2014, it was estimated that 0.9 million Cambodian nationals were established in Thailand.

In Cambodia, local livelihood and employment conditions are considered to be the main determinants of migration. With 80% of its population living in rural areas, the country depends upon natural resources for food and income. Increasing pressure on the lives and livelihood of rural communities caused by the intensification of environmental degradation and climate-related disasters is anticipated to intensify the current trend of high rural to urban migration and international migration in the coming years. The concurrence of climate change and high rates of out-migration raises certain questions: to what extent do current and projected climate and environmental changes contribute to shaping the livelihood dynamics of Cambodia’s rural population? How do rural communities react to these changes? To what extent does migration operate as a viable adaptation strategy?

Between January 2014 and April 2016, IOM Cambodia has documented knowledge on the livelihood dynamics,migration patterns and drivers observed among Cambodia’s rural communities through the support of the IOM Development Fund, in cooperation with the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and the involvement of the Ministry of Environment (MoE), the National Committee for Subnational Democratic Development (NCDD-S), the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and local NGOS.