Prime Minister Hun Sen said addressing the challenges posed by climate change by focusing on socio-economic policy priorities was an important strategy as it ensures sustainability and promotes long-term developmental inclusiveness.
Hun Sen made the remarks as he joined 60 other heads of state and representatives from international organisations in a virtual summit – originally planned to be held in Seoul, South Korea – sponsored by the organisations Partnering for Green Growth (P4G) and Global Goals 2030 on May 31.
P4G aims to accelerate climate change solutions within five main sectors – food, water, energy, cities and the circular economy. It provides a global platform for key players to facilitate the collective action needed to address worsening climate change
The summit was organised under the theme "promoting inclusive green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic".
In his remarks for the summit, Hun Sen said all countries currently had a pressing need to divert from their established climate change policy targets and dedicate resources to continue combating Covid-19.
He noted that they must do this while also supporting affected people’s livelihoods and shoring up health and social protection systems in addition to helping maintain the viability of affected businesses in order to promote a fast economic recovery post-pandemic.
He noted that in Cambodia it was also necessary to continue to promote the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises and connect them to production chains that serve large industries in order to promote socio-economic modernisation.
On the effects of climate change, the prime minister noted that over these last few years, natural disasters have occurred in Southeast Asia and throughout the world such as tsunamis, floods, storms and severe heat waves. These natural disasters were a serious threat to the economies and societies of many nations, in addition to having security implications for many regions.
Based on this trend, he said climate change-related issues were expected to be the source of large-scale crises in the future along with once unthinkable clashes between nations, all of which could cause a crippling effect on socio-economic development.
“In this context, promoting a green recovery is the basis of sustaining our long-term socio-economic development. On the one hand, it helps enhance efficiency and promote environmentally-friendly practices and production, as well as helping to increase economic productivity by ensuring environmental sustainability and strengthening climate resilience,” he said.
Hun Sen also shared his own views on the need for continued support for the principles of globalisation through openness in international trade in order to enhance trade and economic growth. He also affirmed Cambodia’s commitment to adhering to multilateral diplomatic frameworks in addressing issues in all areas of concern, especially related to climate change.
Addressing the P4G summit, South Korean ambassador to Cambodia Park Heung-kyeong said Cambodia is endowed with a rich natural resource base which was integral to its food security and supporting the livelihoods of its people – but it was under threat due to changing climate conditions.
“In particular, the changing climate conditions present an ongoing threat to sustainable development in the country, which depends heavily on the Mekong River and Tonle Sap basins,” he said.
Separately on May 31, the Least Developed Countries Group (LDC) released a joint statement regarding the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to be held in November in Glasgow, UK, to advance work on addressing climate change. Cambodia has been a member of the LDC since 1991.
LDC chair Sonam P Wangdi said: “Our people are among the worst affected by the climate crisis despite doing the least to cause it. We’re ready to advance fair and ambitious global climate action to protect our communities and ensure a safe future for our people and the planet.”