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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Concerns raised over climate change funds

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US President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords at the White House in Washington, DC last week. Saul Loeb/AFP

Concerns raised over climate change funds

A top Cambodian climate official expressed concern yesterday that the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement signals potential cuts to the funding of environmental projects in the Kingdom.

“We are definitely disappointed,” Tin Ponlork, head of the National Council for Sustainable Development, said in a phone interview yesterday. “It is a step back for the entire global community.”

“We don’t know the amount they will reduce [in aid to Cambodia], but it is clear they will make cuts.”

Curtis Hundley of Winrock International said his project supporting forests and biodiversity in Mondulkiri has guaranteed funding until its completion, but future projects may not be approved.

“It would not affect this project, but it may affect future projects,” Hundley added.

Conservationist Marcus Hardtke, however, said potential cuts could be a “blessing in disguise”.

“Many of these climate-related projects are ineffective . . . They just feed the scene and its consultants,” Hardtke said.

David Josar, a spokesman at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, cautioned against making budgetary predictions.

“It would be premature to discuss any possible changes in funding as the US budget for fiscal year 2018 still must be passed by Congress and signed by the President,” he said.

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