According to some local experts, Cambodia’s climate resilience adaptation is considered insufficient, necessitating additional support to address its vulnerability to climate change.

This assessment was shared on September 18 at the First Media Technical Capacity Building and Journalists’ Workshop on Climate Change, held in Phnom Penh and attended by approximately 30 individuals, predominantly journalists representing various media organisations.

During the presentation, Norng Monin, a researcher at the Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), presented findings indicating that Cambodia had been susceptible to climate change from 2000 to 2019.

He emphasised that the nation’s ability to adapt to climate change remains inadequate, highlighting the need for further enhancement to mitigate its impacts.

“If we compare Cambodia’s vulnerability to disasters in countries like Japan, where earthquakes are common, the question arises: Why is Cambodia considered highly vulnerable? This vulnerability is linked to limited capacity for adaptation. Why do we consider ourselves weak in this regard? It’s tied to factors such as knowledge, access to climate change information and the strategies required to mitigate the impacts,” he explained.

Climate change poses a worldwide challenge impacting nearly every sector, notably food and water security, public health and socio-economy.

Furthermore, global warming and weather occurrences such as floods, droughts, rising sea levels and heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent.

Pheav Sovuthy, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, emphasised the need for proactive readiness to address these emerging weather events.

To attain climate adaptation and resilience objectives, Sovuthy asserts that communities must possess a comprehensive understanding of mechanisms, strategies and national plans to counteract the effects of climate change.

“Cambodia is susceptible to the impacts of climate change, but the country has consistently prioritised strategic planning, adaptation and response to climate change. It also actively promotes the dissemination of these strategies on a broader scale,” he said.

“However, the country faces challenges in terms of human, financial and technological resources for addressing climate change. Therefore, we call for the support and collaboration of all stakeholders and development partners,” he underscored.

In this context, Sovuthy also urged the media and journalists throughout the country to actively engage in the dissemination of information and the promotion of awareness within communities.

This includes the task of drafting and interpreting information, scientific and physical data pertaining to climate change, aligning with national policies, strategies, target groups, vulnerable communities, and national-international institutions, taking into account Cambodia’s specific circumstances.

Penh Pheng, a reporter at VAYO Radio, acknowledged that the widespread dissemination of climate change information to local communities remains limited, particularly in terms of depth and comprehensiveness.

With the ongoing impacts of climate change, he stressed the need for timely outreach to the general population and vulnerable groups. This outreach is essential to facilitate citizen adaptation to climate change and engage in preventive measures effectively.

“In fact, there’s a growing need for people to develop an understanding of the consequences of climate change. It’s important for people to adapt in order to avert risks that could disrupt their daily lives and wellbeing,” he remarked.

According to a recent study released by the environment ministry, climate change has the potential to decrease gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.5 per cent by the year 2030, and this figure could escalate to as much as 9.8 per cent by 2050, primarily attributable to a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius.