Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia lagging on energy, water, says UN

Cambodia lagging on energy, water, says UN

Children operate a water pump for drinking water in Kampong Cham province late last year.
Children operate a water pump for drinking water in Kampong Cham province late last year. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia lagging on energy, water, says UN

A United Nations study released on Friday shows that Cambodia has the highest rates – among 11 Asian countries surveyed – of people lacking access to electricity, clean water and sanitation.

The 2014 UN World Water Development report, titled Facing the Challenges, ranks Cambodia below countries including Myanmar, Indonesia and Bangladesh in access to the essential services. The study uses data collected in 2011.

“This report points out the existing problems,” Engin Koncagul, a UN World Water Assessment program officer, said on Friday. “Water and energy is very critical for sustainable development … from all [population] segments.”

Of Cambodia’s 2011 population of 14.3 million, the report says, 66 per cent had no access to electricity, 32 per cent lacked access to “improved water” and 66.9 per cent did not have access to “improved sanitation”.

Cambodia’s population is smaller than all other Asian countries surveyed in these categories, except for Mongolia, the study says.

The numbers show a large disparity between Cambodia’s access to the essential services and the global averages, which the study reports as 18.1 per cent lacking access to electricity, 11.1 per cent without access to improved water and 35.9 per cent having no access to improved sanitation.

Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Chheang Vun said the country has endured a tumultuous recent past, from which it is still recovering.

“Our country is not stable like [the other 10 surveyed], because we experienced a military coup and war, and had to start all over in 1979,” Vun said. “We began from zero then, which is why we are so far behind other countries.”

Most of those without electricity access live in rural areas, Vun said, adding that the government is working towards offering electrical access to all Cambodians by 2030.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,