Cambodia Green Urban Development Program

At a Glance

Strategic Outcomes
Start Date Q1  2017
End Date q1
Funding Source Core
Actual Budget (USD) 1,637,000
Budget Percentage %
Actual Expenditure (USD)
Status Complete
GGGI Share (USD)
Poverty and Gender Policy Markers
Name of Client (Lead/Prime implementer if GGGI is part of a consortium)
Participating Organization (Funding/donor)
Name of consortium members, if any
Thematic Area
  • Green Cities
GGGI Project Code :
Project Manager and Staff +

Project Rationale

Enhancing major cities’ infrastructure is one of the top priorities of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), as indicated in its Rectangular Strategy and NSDP 2014-2018. Cambodia’s urban areas account for approximately 30% of the total population of 15 million and is expected to rise to an estimated 44% of the projected total population of around 18.4 million by 2030. Its capital, Phnom Penh, which has significantly shifted from a rural to an urban economy, houses approximately 41% of the country’s urban population. In three years, by 2020, projections indicate that the urban population of Phnom Penh will increase by approximately 30%, or 5.6 million people. With the urban sector accounting for approximately half of Cambodia’s gross national income (GNI), the potential for urban migration and development to create jobs and build upon the country’s recent successes in reducing poverty represents an important opportunity to sustainable urban development.

However, the rapid pace of unstructured urbanization is generating significant social, economic and environmental challenges in Cambodia. Phnom Penh is experiencing considerable urban growth stresses, including lack of power, informal settlements, deficient water supplies, wastewater treatment, urban flooding, air pollution, and municipal solid waste management. In particular, transport infrastructure development and traffic management measures have been outpaced by the rapid expansion of the ownership and use of private transport in the city, resulting in an exponential increase in traffic volumes, congestion, and road accidents.

Cambodia’s secondary cities such as Battambang, Siem Reap, Sihanouk Ville, Kampot, and Kep are also undergoing rapid urban growth, but face a severe lack of systematic development planning and financial resources for green infrastructure and services. Battambang is the only city to have developed a detailed urban master plan. In Siem Reap, air pollution not only impacts the health of residents, but also accelerates the decay of historic temples – an important source of tourism revenue for Cambodia.

Green urban development interventions will be required to reap socio-economic benefits, through green job creation in the manufacturing sector (e.g. wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, pollution control); public health benefits, by reducing the urban hazards associated with deteriorating air quality, water pollution, unmanaged waste, and traffic congestion; and investments in green growth-related infrastructure in secondary cities along major economic corridors that will drive productivity, fluid labor markets, greater market access, and improved and equitable mobility.

Building on 2015-16 Work

This project will continue to build on GGGI’s work in 2015-16 that resulted in a green city strategic planning methodology which is being piloted in the city of Phnom Penh, as well as the development of an investment action plan for a priority green city project, which includes the identification of public and private financing options and an assessment of interventions to target priority urban issues including poverty.

To address the aforementioned challenges, Cambodia’s secondary cities urgently require comprehensive urban planning, green transport planning and mobilization of investment to deliver basic services, including wastewater treatment, renewable energy supply, waste management, and public transport. Designing and strengthening GGGI’s interventions will be crucial to support the government in its planning, financing, and implementation of sustainable long-term urbanization initiatives.

Delivery Strategy


  • Develop National Strategic Plan for Green Secondary Cities and submit to government
  • Develop a list of prioritized green growth investment opportunities in secondary cities for submission to potential funders
  • Develop policy recommendations for green transport in Phnom Penh, building on the Green City Strategic Plan for Phnom Penh (2015-16)


  • Government approves the National Strategic Plan for Green Secondary Cities for implementation
  • Funding organizations endorse the list of prioritized green growth investment opportunities for further development into financing-ready projects
  • Government approves the Phnom Penh green transport policy recommendations for implementation

Planned Results

The outcomes of the project are: the National Strategic Plan for Green Secondary Cities is approved by the government for implementation; prioritized green growth investment opportunities are endorsed by potential funders; and the green transport policy recommendations for Phnom Penh are approved. The project will adopt a holistic approach to green city development that explores adapting to climate change impacts and reducing emissions via proposed interventions that target wider benefits of green growth such as to job creation, the environment, and poverty alleviation. To achieve this, the project will focus on delivering the following key outputs:

National Strategic Plan for Green Secondary Cities developed. Drawing from the experience of the Phnom Penh Green City Strategic Plan and applying the methodology where relevant, GGGI will conduct an assessment of existing master plans and city-planning documents for secondary cities to identify gaps and policy recommendations. The assessment will also incorporate economic growth, poverty reduction, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability considerations. Building on the coordinating mechanisms established over the first phase of the program, GGGI will hold inclusive government lead dialogues involving development partners, civil society, private sector and academia, as well as relevant ministries, municipalities, and district authorities to ensure a participatory approach in developing the Strategic Plan for Green Secondary Cities.

Prioritized green growth investment projects for secondary cities, including considerations for micro, small, and medium-businesses, social inclusion and gender aspects. GGGI will collaborate with the RGC and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop a pipeline of priority green investment options in secondary cities. This will entail identification of potential projects in the prioritized secondary cities through rapid green infrastructure review, relevant economic analyses as well as preliminary financial analysis for the development of an investment action plan for a priority sector, such as waste, transport, and energy. To ensure sustainability of the program and the long-term ability for government counterparts to prioritize, develop, and mobilize financing for green urban projects in secondary cities, GGGI will also focus its capacity development efforts in this area.

Green transport policy options and implementation plan developed for Phnom Penh aligned to the Green City Strategic Plan: The transport sector has been prioritized for reforms and investment projects in the Green City Strategic Plan for Phnom Penh. GGGI will establish a technical working group on Phnom Penh Green Transport Planning and Implementation and support the RGC to develop policy options and a detailed implementation plan aligned to the selected options. This work aims to shape policies and undertake detailed investment planning in the transport sector in Phnom Penh that aims to contribute to the reduction of traffic congestion and air pollution.