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Climate change plan sparse on particulars

The Ministry of Environment yesterday shared its vision for a greener, less-carbon-emitting, climate-resilient Cambodia, but presented few detailed steps towards getting there, and even fewer financial particulars.

“Cambodia is consistently classified as one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change.… We must reduce our vulnerability, improve food, health and water security, and turn to green growth,” Sum Thy, director of the ministry’s climate change department, said during a dissemination workshop in the capital yesterday.

He added that it will be “necessary to mobilise more resources to implement our strategies”, without explaining how it could be accomplished.

The 10-year strategic initiative did not offer any further financial guidance. Though it identifies eight priority areas and lays out ministries’ responsibilities, it stipulates no budget requirements.

“We don’t have an estimated total budget yet because it’s a new document, but we expect it will be a lot,” Thy said.

The deputy director of the climate change office, Tin Ponlock, said Cambodia has used a cumulative total of $250 million to battle climate change, “mostly for donor’s pilot projects”.

Ponlock has previously blamed a lack of dedicated capital for impeding the Kingdom’s climate change efforts, a problem that the ministry yesterday laid at the feet of wealthier nations.

“We don’t have adequate support from developed countries, which have a responsibility to give funding to [least-developed countries] for mitigating climate change,” Thy said.

Climate change has already taken a toll on Cambodia, where the rainy season has been delayed by more than a month and the average temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius. The effects are expected to further amplify challenges like poverty, drought and disease, and to drastically affect nearly half of the country’s communes.

Earlier this month, US credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s ranked Cambodia as the country most vulnerable to climate change due to overreliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture.

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