Several NGOs, including Plan International, have urged the government to pay more attention to climate change issues in the country, noting that Cambodia is more susceptible to it than most Asian countries.
Jeanne Everett, team leader of a climate change project with Plan International, said during a workshop on climate change yesterday that she is working with the Environment Ministry on climate change adaptation strategies.
Ms Everett said that her project aims to keep communities focused on the mainstream issues and help victims of climate change by providing clean water, and also aiding them in the increase of agricultural production.
She said that through climate change adaptation measures in communities, her organisation has found that villagers face most challenges during the change of seasons as the rainy seasons kicks in. She added that villagers still do not get immediate help during difficult times.
“However, we see the government has implemented good policies and mechanisms to respond to climate change and adapt,” Ms Everett said. “But the capacity of the community to implement the policies and strategic plans, including budgeting, are still very limited. We would like to request the government to work on these issues more.”
Financed by the Asian Development Bank and managed by the Environment Ministry and Plan International, the project was carried out by 20 civil society organisations from June 2016 to February this year, aiding 57,000 people across 17 provinces.
Ancha Srinivasan, a climate change specialist with ADB, said that Cambodia and the Philippines are the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate change.
He said that these two countries were selected for the implementation of the Climate Change Adaptation Project from the Climate Investment Fund, for which Cambodia received more funding than any other country.
“Though this package is only $2 million, it is an initiative to help the Cambodian government and NGOs strengthen the capacity of communities to be resilient during climate change,” he said. “Those communities are the most affected by it and they need to find ways to make a living.”
Sabo Ojano, a secretary of state at the Environment Ministry, said that the government will continue to work with NGOs, the private sector and development partners to protect the environment, conserve natural resources and address climate change challenges.
“The government will continue to work to help improve living conditions and reduce poverty,” he said.