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Draft climate position issued

091022_02
Activists link hands around the Wat Phnom clock Wednesday to raise awareness of global warming.

CAMBODIA will invest in measures that counter greenhouse gas emissions, but it needs the financial backing of the developed world to succeed, according to its draft position on climate change announced Wednesday.

The position, made public on the final day of the National Forum on Climate Change, represents the country’s move to cement its bargaining stance ahead of key global climate change talks this December in Copenhagen – discussions that could determine how prepared Cambodia will be in confronting environmental threats.

“Developing countries should make their utmost efforts to participate in greenhouse gas emission reductions, including appropriate mitigation actions,” said Sat Samy, vice chairman of the National Committee on Climate Change, who unveiled the position on behalf of the Cambodian government.

“However, the effort should be conditional on financial support and required technology from developed countries.”

Cambodia will also look for a significant percentage of funds to come from no-strings grants to so-called least developed countries (LDC) as part of a climate deal.

“Assistance for LDCs should be unconditional and should not lead to the increase of debts for these countries,” said Sat Samy, who is also a secretary of state with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy. In effect, the position revolves around one central point: The polluter pays.

“We are the victims because of the problem created by other people,” Environment Minister Mok Mareth told delegates. “Cambodia is part of the solution to this problem.”

In Copenhagen, world leaders will be under pressure to reach an agreement taking global climate change policy beyond 2012.

As part of any potential agreement, Cambodia plans to support the adoption of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), a carbon-finance mechanism that would see developed countries paying developing ones to conserve forest land, according to Wednesday’s draft position.

It will also ask for aid in the form of technology and knowledge transfers from companies in developed countries.

NGO officials praised Cambodia’s position Wednesday, saying the developing nation was sending a message to richer countries ahead of Copenhagen.

“What Cambodia has done is position itself as a leader in some of that messaging,” said Brian Lund, regional drirector for Oxfam America.
“The weather is not bound by the borders of the country, nor is climate change bound by the borders of any one country.”

Although previous climate-change treaties have historically placed much of the financial burden with developed countries, Cambodia must hold up its end of the bargain as well, said Jo Scheuer, country director for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Cambodia.

“Cambodia itself did not contribute to the situation we have today,” he said. “It’s also true that Cambodia is now a net emitter and does not have the luxury to follow the path which many countries have taken already.”

The draft position will now be submitted to the government, which must finalise its stance before Copenhagen.

Cambodia lies near the epicentre of what climate scientists say could be one of the regions in the world most impacted by climate change.

The Kingdom is seen as particularly vulnerable because of its limited resources to cope with climate change, according to the conservation
group WWF.

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