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Sparking Change: Launching the Low-Carbon Mobility Project Preparation Study in Siem Reap City

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ADB-CDIA, in partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), and the Provincial Government of Siem Reap launched on 26 April 2024 a project preparation study (PPS) for the Electric Bus Fleet as Public Service Project in Siem Reap. 

The PPS aims to prepare to feasibility level, a low-carbon and smart public transport system utilizing an electric bus fleet for Cambodia’s second-largest city. 

Siem Reap is the gateway to the UNESCO world heritage site of Angkor Wat. It sustains an urban population of 240,000 and accommodates 2 million tourists annually. Despite gains from its tourism industry, the city grapples with transport challenges, primarily inadequate and disorganized public transport, and heavy reliance on aged vehicles, which increases air and noise pollution, congestion, and carbon emissions. The risk of air pollution to heritage preservation is also a key concern.

These issues – compounded by the World Bank projections suggesting a doubling of population and a substantial surge in tourists by 2035 – call for the adoption of sustainable urban transport solutions.

In line with this, MPWT introduced the e-bus project to strengthen connectivity in major cities, aligning with key government policies and plans on smart and green initiatives. To advance its implementation in Siem Reap, MPWT sought CDIA’s support for a PPS, building upon the findings of prior studies, which established its viability: Global Green Growth Institute’s Electric Buses in Siem Reap and the 2022 World Bank Technical Report on the Siem Reap Urban Mobility.

“We are looking forward to commencing this study,” said Mr. Kong Sophal, Deputy Director General, Department of Land Transportation, MPWT, during his welcome remarks at the PPS kickoff meeting. “Finally, we have selected the consultants, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all relevant agencies. Your input is very important for the consultants to move forward smoothly.”

The PPS will provide the technical analysis toward an optimized e-bus system. It will also delve into private sector engagement and the commercial aspects essential for a public-private partnership (PPP) financing modality. Furthermore, it will craft a roadmap for institutional strengthening and capacity development and conduct initial environmental and social due diligence.

The PPS will unfold in two stages: Stage 1 will encompass diagnostics and validation, assessment of the e-bus system for PPP, and confirmation of its PPP viability. Stage 2 will then cover the development of a PPP project readiness package and capacity development roadmap implementation.

ADB-CDIA recognizes the importance of stakeholder cooperation and close collaboration with MPWT, MEF (particularly its PPP Unit), local government, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate the study and ensure its high-quality outputs.

“It’s interesting to see how different organizations have worked on the project and passed the baton all with one objective, and that is, to combat climate change through environmentally responsible solutions,” said Lara Arjan, ADB Urban Development Specialist in charge of CDIA, during the PPS kickoff. “Each of your expertise is crucial, and we are counting on your support. We will do our best to make this [PPS] a success.”

CDIA is an ADB-managed trust fund supported by the governments of Austria, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and Switzerland. This PPS is funded by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea.

 

Photos during the PPS kickoff meeting:

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