Prime Minister Hun Sen said although Cambodia has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to many other nations at the global level, the country remains highly committed to addressing the climate issue while working within the limits of its resources and capacities.
Hun Sen made the remarks as he addressed the international summit on “Commitments to Climate Change” via video conference on December 12.
The prime minister said he would appeal to all countries to work together to fulfil the promised obligations in past strategic plans, mechanisms and agreements.
He went on to say that many countries have already been impacted directly by climate change, including Cambodia, which just recently experienced flooding that may have been made unusually severe in intensity by climate change.
He added that Cambodia is ready to submit a report on the current status of its participation in tackling climate change to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the end of this year.
Cambodia has incorporated new and specific targets for 2030 aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by 38.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or achieving its equivalent through sectors such as forestry, waste management and agriculture. This would amount to an 18 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.
The new targets also include the goal of obtaining 25 per cent of Cambodia’s electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 2030.
“Climate change is a shared challenge that can only be solved if every country takes concerted action and fulfills the obligations agreed to in the existing strategic action plans, mechanisms and agreements. As a responsible country seeking to minimise the impacts of climate change, Cambodia is committed to formulating a long-term strategy in 2021 to achieve carbon neutrality,” he said.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on December 13 that in the short-term, the government plans to reduce emissions by about 38.9 million tonnes by 2030.
He also said that Cambodia’s long-term plans past 2030 are being formulated now and will be ready in 2021, with the environment ministry coordinating with other relevant institutions and ministries.
“Cambodia is not a country that is primarily causing climate change, but rather a country that is being increasingly affected by global climate change. At the same time, there is praise from international institutions for Cambodia’s measures in regard to doing our part in solving this problem,” he said.
Hok Menghoin, the environment and agriculture programme manager at the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said on December 13 that the government has an important role to play in reducing the emissions that drive climate change and also in protecting the Cambodian people and the economy to mitigate climate change’s negative effects.
He said that in Cambodia, adaptation to climate change is a priority, including providing drought-resistant seeds to farmers, helping people to rebuild their homes and rehabilitate their families after climate disasters like floods, and improving weather forecasting and early warning systems to keep people safe whenever catastrophic weather events might occur.
“If Cambodia does not make greater efforts to respond to climate change, Cambodia’s vision of becoming a high-middle-income country, and its goal of eradicating poverty, are both at great risk. The efforts being made to address climate change presently are unlikely to be enough,” said Menghoin.