Finance minister Keat Chhon yesterday identified reforming the management of natural resources as a priority in the government’s efforts to reduce poverty.
“It’s important to manage our natural resources in order to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development,” he told a UN conference at Phnom Penh’s Cambodiana hotel.
Keat Chhon also called on wealthier nations to help fund climate change-related projects in developing nations like Cambodia.
“The response to climate change cannot be effective if there’s no financial support,” he said at the launch of the United Nations Development Programme’s seventh Cambodia Human Development Report.
“We have tried to encourage other countries to support developing countries like Cambodia in addressing climate change,” he said.
We are trying to build the capacity of people to respond and adapt to climate change
Minister of Environment Mok Mareth said the Cambodian government was preparing for climate change with a policy of adaptation, mitigation and awareness.
“We are trying to build the capacity of people to respond and adapt to climate change,” he said. “At the same time, we are trying to mitigate its impact through forest conservation efforts and investment in renewable energy sources. And we are implementing a comprehensive awareness campaign so people better understand the issue.”
Mok Mareth pointed to the UNDP-funded Cambodia Climate Change Alliance, created last year, and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, created in 2009 and supported by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as tangible signs of the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and mitigating its effects.
UNDP Cambodia’s resident representative Douglas Broderick said he hoped the report would “help rural Cambodians to safeguard and improve their livelihoods to withstand the effects of climate change”.
“With the vast majority of Cambodia’s poor living in rural areas and depending on agriculture, understanding and responding to the root causes of rural poverty and vulnerability are essential to understanding the human development implications of climate change,” he said.