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Tiny bump enough for Environment Ministry: Say Samal

A view of the dried up Sisophon River near Sisophon, the capital of Banteay Meanchey, earlier this year prior to the wet season.
A view of the dried up Sisophon River near Sisophon, the capital of Banteay Meanchey, earlier this year prior to the wet season. Hong Menea

Tiny bump enough for Environment Ministry: Say Samal

Environment Minister Say Samal said yesterday that he was pleased with the funding allocations under next year’s draft budget, even though his ministry only secured a 3 percent year-on-year increase amid a 15 percent increase to the total budget.

Speaking from Marrakesh at the COP22 conference, Samal told the Post he was satisfied by bumps to other ministries that deal with environmental concerns, such as the Ministry for Water Resources, which received a 32 percent raise to $251.9 million.

“I am happy with the budget increase,” Samal said before declining to comment further.

The Agriculture Ministry stands to receive a 27 percent jump to $109 million, even as the Environment Ministry itself will only see the increase of 3 percent to just $19.7 million next year.

Conservation International’s Seng Bunra said while he welcomed the “good news” for water resources, the ministry itself needed a greater share of the budget to take the lead on mitigating environmental issues in the country. “I work with this ministry and I think they need more money, especially for climate change adaptation and mitigation,” Bunra said.

However, National Council for Sustainable Development secretary general Tin Ponlok said the focus on water resources was “logical” after a year of drought, and that developed nations should do more to fund climate change mitigation.

“The government’s priority on water resources is crucial,” Ponlok said. “We are trying to allocate our own budget to respond to climate change . . . [but] wealthier countries have developed their economies at the expense of the global wellbeing. They have a historical responsibility.”

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