The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on March 15 announced that it will hold the 10th Annual NBC Macroeconomic Conference early in November, to be centred on climate risks and the green-economy transition, as well as local initiatives to mitigate climate change and safeguard the environment.

Extreme weather events associated with climate change are occurring more frequently, posing major socio-economic risks, and putting the global phenomenon at the top of national and international agendas, the central bank noted in a statement.

Natural disasters caused global economic losses of around $313 billion last year, representing about 0.3 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), it shared, using an estimate provided by multinational financial services firm Aon Plc.

The Kingdom has been “actively” involved in environmental protection and climate change mitigation, it said, offering as an example the implementation of the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-2023 (CCCSP) and green-economy vision.

Similarly, the NBC has invested a portion of its reserves in green bonds and has became a member of the Bank for International Settlements- (BIS) managed Asian Green Bond Fund, it added.

The Kingdom’s green-economy objectives are shaped by socio-economic trends in the context of environmental sustainability, and are designed to ignite and strengthen economic growth, maintain social welfare, and raise living standards, according to the statement.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath explained that the NBC would gather input from the conference, especially on macroeconomics and environmental linkages as well as sustainable development in a green economy, to build practical models and forecasts.

“If Cambodia takes good care of the environment and the resulting effects on macroeconomic performance are favourable, green bonds will command high market value,” he surmised.

For reference, Golden Tree Co Ltd (GT) on January 19 listed the first “green bond” on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), raising 6.07 billion riel ($1.5 million) in what has been hailed as a milestone in the development of the local bourse. ACLEDA Bank Plc and other companies are also looking to offer similar debt securities.

The NBC also invited proposals for relevant research topics to be submitted to its Economic Research and International Cooperation Department, vowing to provide support and advice in the research process in the run-up to the conference.

Experts and researchers are also invited to attend the event, which the NBC believes will promote research as well as networking among researchers, the statement indicated, adding that conductors of selected studies will be allowed to present their findings.

These presenters will receive awards, and their research will be published by the NBC, it added.