Cambodia Faces Global Climate Change

Friday, 03 October 2014

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) –Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namhong dwelled up on the causes and impacts of climate change in his address Monday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He urged the international community to fully implement climate change policies based on the UN’s principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.
Cambodia is supportive of the Conference of Parties on Climate Change.
It is expected that concrete results will be achieved by the next conference in December 2015 in Paris, following several failed attempts in previous conferences.
At the regional level, ASEAN has adopted an ASEAN Climate Change Initiative.
The initiative was seen as a consultative platform to enhance regional cooperation and capacity in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It outlines and promotes cooperation on policy formulation, information sharing, capacity building and technology transfer.
Why does it matter?
As a small developing country heavily reliant on agriculture, Cambodia is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.
According the United Nations Development Program, long-term risks caused by climate change for rural Cambodians include food insecurity, water insecurity, waterborne diseases, natural disasters, sea level increases salt water, flooding of coastal regions, particularly in Koh Kong province, and the disruption of critical ecosystems.
Without preventive measures, the National Council on Green Growth estimates climate change will cost Cambodia around 1% of annual GDP by 2030, and 3.5% by 2050.
Losses mainly derive from climate-sensitive diseases, water scarcity, extreme weather events and impacts on infrastructure, energy sector and farming productivity.
Climate change can provoke population migration. Extreme weather events, especially floods and droughts, could force rural people to move to cities or seek work outside Cambodia.
What to do next?
Decision makers need to take actions urgently.
At the global level, developed and developing countries need to work collectively to cut carbon dioxide emissions and to support developing countries to mitigate climate change.
Legally binding national commitments with regards to emissions reduction are the only way out. Next year’s conference in Paris must deliver that. There is no time left.  Climate negotiation has to go beyond the narrowly defined national interests and take on global responsibility.
ASEAN needs to invest more in building regional institutions that can effectively respond to climate change. More support is needed for less developed member states: Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
On the national level, Cambodia’s government needs to work with development partners, civil society groups, businesses, and local communities to educate, build appropriate infrastructure, strengthen capacities of farmers and develop resilient communities.

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