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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Delegates ‘concerned’ about climate treaty

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A man walks past the chimney of a factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district earlier this month. The government has expressed concern over the draft text for COP 21. Pha Lina

Delegates ‘concerned’ about climate treaty

Cambodia’s government and civil society yesterday expressed worry over the lack of progress on finalising the draft text for an international climate change treaty set to be adopted at UN climate talks in Paris (COP 21) after the final round of negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany, last week.

Uy Kamal, deputy director of the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Department, said in an interview yesterday that he is “very concerned about parties’ confidence in the draft text, and whether it will be adopted at the COP”.

The draft text will be the basis for the legally binding agreement that is expected from COP 21, where it will be subject to changes during higher-level negotiations.

This poses an additional concern “that something unexpected may happen in Paris when it’s reviewed at the ministerial level”, Kamal said.

Having represented the Kingdom in Bonn, Kamal identified the lack of a final agreement for financing climate change mitigation and adaptation in the draft text as a serious concern.

What’s more, REDD+, a proposed carbon trading scheme that would allow Cambodia to monetise the protection of forests as “carbon offsets”, was also not included in the draft, according to Kamal.

Both REDD+ and the promise made at COP 15 in 2009 for a global pool of $100 billion in annual climate financing to be used by developing countries such as Cambodia are central to meeting the government’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target published by the ministry earlier this month.

Meanwhile, ACT Alliance, a coalition of Christian NGOs funding several of Cambodia’s civil society COP delegates, released a statement on Saturday calling out the lack of progress made at Bonn.

Nop Polin, a member of Cambodia’s civil society delegation to the Paris talks, speaking yesterday by phone said, “Cambodia is not the one that caused climate change, but we are the most vulnerable”, emphasising the need for financing while cautioning that the Kingdom cannot “rely solely on external funds”.

Cambodia has been ranked by multiple bodies as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its low adaptive capacity.

ACT’s statement further criticised emissions targets submitted by other countries for “lacking ambition”.

As for the Kingdom’s pledge of a 27 per cent reduction in emissions from the projected levels for 2030, Polin said “it is hard to say whether it is enough”, characterising the goal as comparable to those of other countries.

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