An environmentally-friendly community project sponsored by Japan and implemented by UN-Habitat has contributed significantly to reducing electricity costs and improving people’s livelihoods in the more remote parts of Preah Sihanouk province.

The project, “Green building initiative through support measures for vulnerable communities”, has helped alleviate poverty and enabled people to live happily and safely, said provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche.

“The project offers clean energy options, especially energy-efficient stoves, that reduce the risk of respiratory infections,” he told The Post on December 13.

According to Dimanche, the provincial administration agreed to allow UN-Habitat to implement the project in two poor communities, the Tonop Rolok area of village 1 and village 3 in commune 1 of Sihanoukville, through a July 28 letter.

“The project contributes to alternative energy options for lighting and energy saving, which directly contributes to reducing the living costs of poor households in vulnerable communities,” he said.

UN-Habitat has so far completed two phases of the project.

In the first phase on November 4, the project provided 372 set of eco-friendly stoves to 186 poor household, with each receiving two stoves.

In the second phase, on December 12, the project provided one solar fan and two solar lamps to each of the families. The project also provided 141 solar street lights, with village 1 receiving 31 lights, and village 3 110.

Dimanche said UN-Habitat has been assisting the province since 2011. The organisation has also provided technical support for various other projects, including a climate change adaptation project, environmental education and the Smart City project.

Neth Pheaktra, secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, told The Post on December 13 that this was an excellent project, which aligned with the government’s promotion of the use of clean energy. It also made a significant contribution to the government’s long-term plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“The use of solar energy systems, eco-friendly stoves and renewable energy is an excellent example of clean energy, which will contribute to carbon neutrality. We encourage their use as best practice towards a better Cambodian environment,” he said.

He added that the environment ministry has set a specific law that would stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants.