The Kingdom will strive to increase environmental sustainability and address climate change issues to build a “green ASEAN” and ensure a more resilient and inclusive future, according to Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea.

He made the remark via video link on February 9 during the 2nd Ministerial Conference of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Southeast Asia Regional Programme (SEARP) hosted in Seoul, South Korea, under the theme “Human-centred future: Partnership for a smarter, greener and more inclusive ASEAN”, a CDC statement noted.

Speaking during a session titled “Ensuring green recovery towards a more resilient ASEAN”, Chenda Sophea briefed the conference on efforts made by the bloc and OECD-Cambodia on this front.

He also mentioned some of the pertinent steps taken by the Kingdom, including a long-term development strategy with a carbon neutral vision and the “‘Strategic Framework and Programmes to Rehabilitate and Stimulate Cambodia’s Economic Growth in Living with Covid-19 in the New Normal for 2021-2023” based on three pillars dubbed the “3Rs” – recovery, reform and resilience.

The third pillar centres on building resilience, and to this end, the government will “strengthen its readiness to respond and ensure socio-economic development, by focusing on the development of human resources and small- and medium-sized enterprises, integration of climate change resilience, and promotion of green economic development”, he said.

He also highlighted the new Law on Investment that came into force on October 15, which he said provides incentives that concentrate on 19 sectors and investment categories of concern.

He listed some of these as environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, the circular economy, green energy, and technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The conference provided an opportunity for ministers and high-level representatives from Southeast Asian countries and other OECD members to examine digital, environmental and social challenges confronting the region in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and explore ways to turn them into opportunities, the CDC statement said.

The two main items on the event’s agenda were building a “smart” ASEAN for an inclusive future, and ensuring a “green recovery” for the bloc to become more resilient.

Speakers underscored ASEAN’s important role in the global supply chain, as well as commitments to deepen cooperation between the Southeast Asian bloc and OECD.

Speeches were delivered by South Korean foreign minister Chung Eui-yong, the Thai foreign minister’s special envoy Pornpimol Kanchanalak, and OECD secretary-general Mathias Cormann.

Vietnam and Australia have been nominated as co-chairs of the SEARP for the 2022-2025 period, replacing Thailand and South Korea, according to Vietnam News Agency.