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$163M Dutch fund to boost eco-friendly business ideas

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The Dutch government launched the €160 million ($163 million) DFCD in November 2019 to “increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change”. SNV CAMBODIA

$163M Dutch fund to boost eco-friendly business ideas

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation on August 10 hosted the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) Cambodia Matchmaking Event to open the doors for private sector investment in initiatives centred around climate adaptation and mitigation.

The Dutch government launched the €160 million ($163 million) DFCD in November 2019 to “increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change”.

The DFCD’s pioneering consortium, which includes SNV, “aims to serve as a leading example for institutional partnerships, to attract and deploy public and private capital in well-designed and impactful climate-friendly projects”, the Dutch foreign ministry said in a statement.

The “long-standing project development expertise” and “capital raising and investment capabilities” of the consortium’s members will “allow projects to graduate from ideas to full implementation, using full lifecycle financing”, it added.

According to SNV country director for Cambodia Alexandrea Mandelbaum, the DFCD plans to concentrate on investment in the Kingdom and neighbouring Laos in 2022-2023.

Speaking at the event, Mandelbaum revealed that DFCD funding is divided into three phases, each with a specific focus on concept study, initial investment, and direct investment.

“We need to work together to help companies in the private sector – which have been working to combat climate change – to proceed successfully, especially with more sustainable, efficient funding and productivity approaches from small farmers to agribusiness,” she said.

Ministry of Environment secretary of state Tin Ponlok said that to ensure the success of the initiative, the private sector must be able to choose business projects related to climate change, such as those in waste management or solar energy.

“As we all know, there are not many loans from banks in Cambodia supporting businesses that protect the environment,” said Ponlok, who is also National Council for Sustainable Development second vice-president.

“The Dutch government’s current funding is in response to its promise – on behalf of an advanced industrialised country – to help developing countries,” he added.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Penn Sovicheat remarked that his ministry has “always supported” the implementation of sustainable trade development projects, in view of the fact that Cambodia is an exporter of agricultural products.

The production of agricultural goods, as well as trade, requires careful consideration of environmental impact, he explained.

“The Ministry of Commerce encourages farmers, the private sector and development partners to develop other projects that have the role of encouraging entrepreneurs in the SME [small- and medium-sized enterprise] sector to engage in environmentally-friendly and climate change-resilient trade or production,” he said.

Mong Reththy Group deputy director-general Tan Monivann spoke highly of the DFCD, underscoring its role in ensuring food security with climate-smart agriculture, but pointed out that the private sector may face roadblocks to obtaining funding.

“I encourage all major companies that have invested in agriculture to cooperate with the relevant institutions, especially the agriculture, environment and economy ministries, to work together to create these projects,” he said.

The Dutch foreign ministry notes that the DFCD “provides finance and technical assistance to projects with a focus on climate change adaptation, to mobilise external private sector funding at scale”.


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