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Observers see climate forum as a step in the right direction

Observers see climate forum as a step in the right direction

THE start of this week’s inaugural government-led forum on climate change is being met with cautious optimism by government officials and development partners.

Scheduled to begin today with an address by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the inaugural National Forum on Climate Change is to bring together officials, environment experts and economists.

“There is an increasing understanding within the government that climate change is an important issue,” said Tin Ponlok, project coordinator at the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Office.

For Lay Khim, team leader of the environment and energy unit of the UN Development Programme in Cambodia, the forum signifies the government’s “growing interest” in climate change.

“I hope there will be a better understanding, especially among government decision makers, about what are the climate-change issues and what should be done to address them,” he said.

Ultimately, however, only the government’s actions after the forum will determine whether it was a success, said Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia.

“[Staging the forum] is a good sign, but we won’t know what actions the government will take on climate change after,” he said.

On Wednesday, the forum’s final day, officials are expected to present Cambodia’s draft position ahead of key climate change talks in Copenhagen in December. It is expected that Cambodia will urge industrialised nations to take more drastic measures to fight climate change.

Research suggests that climate change will hit developing countries the hardest, particularly low-lying nations like Cambodia.

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