Cambodia will host the 33rd ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Environment in October to discuss action plans on ecological issues in general and climate change in particular.

The meeting is to be attended by ASEAN member state environmental leaders, as well as those from China, Japan, South Korea, the US and EU.

Tin Ponlok, secretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, said climate change requires concerted resilience efforts.

“Climate change is a major global problem, while Covid-19 has affected the livelihoods of people and the economic development of Cambodia and the rest of the world.

“The combination of the pandemic and severe weather events requires resilience development plans that mitigate the effects of these problems.

“Although Cambodia contributes little to greenhouse gas emissions, it is actively contributing to reducing global emissions and reducing climate change in line with its resources and capabilities,” Ponlok said.

Heng Kimhong, Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) programme and advocacy manager, said the leaders of ASEAN member states should fast-track resolutions and increase consideration of climate change.

The ASEAN region, and the lives of its people, could be adversely affected by natural disasters and environmental impacts resulting from rising temperatures, such as wildfires, flooding and other climate change-related issues, he said.

He called on ASEAN leaders to speed up the adoption of carbon neutrality policies and reduce coal-fired power generation by instead using solar energy, which would “help reduce global warming and climate change”.

With the Joint Statement of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Cambodia on August 3, the ASEAN head of mission welcomed the ratification of the Climate Agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow.

It also reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In 2020, Cambodia, among 72 countries, submitted an updated National Determined Contributions (NDC) report on the implementation of the UNFCCC to the treaty’s secretariat ahead of schedule.

The Kingdom in 2021 also submitted its Long Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality (LTS4CN) with the goal of zero emissions by 2050.