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Coalition of Cambodian NGOs calls for help with climate change

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A girl walks through floodwaters in Niroth commune in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district earlier this year. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

As the latest UN climate change conference begins today in Doha, Qatar, a coalition of Cambodian NGOs is joining calls for developed countries to bear more of the burden of combating climate change.

Cambodia and other poor countries are unprepared to deal with rapid climate change on their own and should not have to do so, because developed countries are largely responsible for the problem, argues a position paper released yesterday by the Cambodia Climate Change Network and the NGO Forum of Cambodia.

“Cambodia contributes a negligible amount to global greenhouse gas emissions, emitting only 0.29 tons of carbon dioxide per capita per year” but will “disproportionately suffer the consequences of emissions from more developed nations”, the statement reads.

According to the statement from the group, the effects of climate change are already apparent in the Kingdom, evidenced in natural disasters like the flooding of 2011 – the worst in more than a decade – which killed 250 people and affected more than 10 per cent of the nation’s crops.

“Because the majority of Cambodian people depend upon natural resources for their livelihoods, the country is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as unpredictable flooding and drought.”

The Cambodian groups’ statement goes on to call on more developed nations to further efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by signing onto the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period expires at the end of this year.

The statement also asks that developed nations help provide better funding mechanisms for carbon financing, as Cambodia has been struggling to find markets for its carbon credits, and for funding, technological support and training to help Cambodians prepare for and adapt to climate change.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justine Drennan at justine.drennan@phnompenhpost.com

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