Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UNDP: Kingdom’s development balances growth, conservation

UNDP: Kingdom’s development balances growth, conservation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Managing environmental impact is a pillar of the government development strategy. Forestry Administration

UNDP: Kingdom’s development balances growth, conservation

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) issued its Human Development Report 2020 on December 16, suggesting that Cambodia could become a model country to demonstrate a sustainable balance between the parallel processes of development and conservation.

The 400-page report described most countries as currently reaching a critical tipping point where they must redesign their pathways to progress in order to ease the dangerous pressures humans put on the planet.

“Cambodia could be an example of how human development can go hand in hand with environmental sustainability. With new technologies, promoting investment in the green economy, including expansion of environment-related infrastructure such as renewable energy, green transportation, climate-smart agriculture and community forest expansion – all of these offer opportunities for Cambodia to achieve higher levels of human development with inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Cambodia resident representative.

The UNDP presented experimental new metrics for calculating human progress which take into account a countrys carbon dioxide emissions and materials-consumption footprints, in addition to measurements of health, education and standards of living.

By adjusting the Human Development Index (HDI) to reflect humanity’s impact on the environment, the report shows how the global development landscape changes when both the well being of both the people and the planet are central to defining humanity’s progress.

Under the resulting Planetary-Pressures Adjusted HDI – or PHDI – more than 50 countries dropped out of the ‘very high human development’ group, reflecting their dependence on fossil fuels and large material footprints.

UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said: “As this report shows, no country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet. But we could be the first generation to right this wrong. That is the next frontier for human development.”

Despite the inclusion of the new data, Cambodia moved upwards in the PHDI ranking and now needs to build on this momentum, according to the UNDP. Nature-based human development offers the nation an opportunity to make great strides in progress with innovation, efficiency and equity, it said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on December 17 that human development was previously measured using only economic, health and education indicators, but now Cambodia is integrating environmental impact into its strategies and statistics.

“Although this work needs to be discussed further by the relevant ministries and institutions, we understand that these two additional criteria are very important for a comprehensive view of our progress,” he said.

Managing environmental impact, especially by reducing emissions, is a pillar of the government’s Rectangular Strategy Phase IV focusing on growth, employment, equity and efficiency, Pheaktra said.

The government and private sector have made efforts to develop natural resource management and environmental protection through measures such as participation in REDD+, an international strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and new provisions for waste management, taxation and investment laws.

“The government is committed to promoting the use of renewable energy [25 per cent target by 2030] and achieving carbon neutrality,” Pheaktra said.


  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Num banh chok pizza a new fusion hit

    Num banh chok is a traditional fish curry with fermented rice noodles, prahok fish paste, kroeung paste, flowering plants and seasonal vegetables that is arguably a strong contender for “national dish” status in Cambodia and typically served for breakfast or eaten as an afternoon snack.

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Higher education leaders tour US

    With support from the US Department of State, 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education participated in the 10-day International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) in three US states from June 19 to July 1. They included nine university rectors and directors of higher education institutions who are members of