Cambodian environmental officials, experts from countries in the region and stakeholders are discussing how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet the Paris Agreement (PA) requirements on climate change.

Creating a coherent approach to achieving the SDGs and fulfilling the PA on climate change through the adoption of a circular economy is a key topic of discussion at the 11th “Regional 3R [reduce, reuse, recycle] and Circular Economy Forum in Asia and the Pacific” in Siem Reap by environmental experts from all over the region and the Ministry of Environment.

A circular economy is one in which the materials used in the production of goods are somehow recycled or prevented from becoming waste by recirculation for other uses.

Environment ministry secretary of state Neth Pheaktra said that the technical experts from various countries and partner organisations were actively discussing the problems encountered and proposing solutions.

He added that speakers from the Cambodian environment ministry, experts from Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines and UNIDO all did presentations on some key topics including sustainable bio-economics and climate change, opportunities on the path to carbon neutrality, the role of the circular economy, actions for small and medium enterprises that will lead to low-carbon transformation.

Cambodia’s long-term development strategy and its roadmap for sustainable use and productivity were also presented.

“All parties agree that the transition to a circular economy is necessary to achieve both the sustainable development goals and the climate change goals agreed upon by the international community and to help build a stronger, greener and better global economy.

“Cambodia has developed a circular economic strategy to help improve many aspects of the economy and society and also to achieve environmental sustainability by promoting more efficient use of energy and material resources while reducing the impact of the overuse of resources and waste generation,” he said.

Pheaktra also stated that Cambodia was in a strong position to achieve sustainable development through a circular economy, building on strong economic growth and the increase in youth consumer population, but the introduction of the circular economy method requires overcoming various obstacles.

Soeng Srey Nich, a researcher and experimenter at Villageworks, a private company, who participated in the forum said that because plastics were not biodegradable and affected the environment, her company tried to find non-plastic packaging to contribute to environmental protection and stop climate change.

“Because our company focuses on the reduction of plastics and the recycling of plastics, we want to have products to replace all plastic products, so our company makes non-plastic food packaging and dishes. We use banana leaves or banana plants to make dishes which are biodegradable,” she said.