The Ministry of Environment yesterday warned that climate change is seriously affecting the lives of Cambodians through increasing natural disasters like floods, which impact the economy, society and security.
Minister of Environment Say Samal said at a meeting to summarise the results of environmental work in 2020 and work directions in 2021 that he recognises that a strong international coalition based on science is needed to reverse the dangerous trend of climate change.
Samal also said natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and landslides have become more frequent and more severe worldwide.
The resulting loss of life, property and infrastructure negatively affects the livelihoods of many people and hinders the achievement of sustainable development goals, he said.
“In the face of such a dangerous situation, some industrialised nations, which are the biggest sources of pollution, have neglected and withdrawn from global efforts to respond to climate change, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement,” said Samal.
“For Cambodia, despite being a small and resource-poor country, we have done our best to fulfil our obligations by identifying the fight against climate change as an important component of our national development policy,” he said.
He said that Cambodia must establish legal, institutional and technical frameworks for emissions reduction (REDD +) programmes.
Although Cambodia emits fewer greenhouse gases, it is committed to tackle climate change based on available capacity and resources, Samal said.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Environment Neth Pheaktra said that for the past five years, the ministry has received $260 million in funding from partner organisations to develop projects to prevent and combat climate change in Cambodia.
“We are conducting direct studies on how climate change has affected the world, including Cambodia,” he said. “Most of climate change comes from burning coal to generate electricity, burning forests to clear for plantations, burning plastic rubbish and using old vehicles.”
The ministry said it is working with other relevant ministries, such as Water Resources and Meteorology, Rural Development, and Agriculture to find climate solutions, Pheaktra said.
Climate change prevention studied by the Ministry of Environment includes scientifically exploring ways to transform coal-fired power plants to hydropower, the use of solar panels and reduction of petrol-powered engines.
The General Department of Environmental Protection issued a report for the first 10 months of this year, which said efforts to ensure a clean and green environment included inspections of 130 pollution sources and the destruction of 16,871 kilogrammes of 12 gold-mining chemicals in Mondulkiri.
In addition, 4,672.66 hectares were added to Peam Krosap Wildlife Sanctuary and 19,554.26 hectares to Phnom Prech Wildlife Sanctuary as protected areas registered by the General Department of Administration for the Protection and Conservation and Protection of Natural Resources (GDANCP).
The GDANCP is also working to prevent and crack down on crimes such as illegal logging, hunting and trapping wildlife, and illegal encroachment on protected areas. It reported that so far this year it conducted 18,750 patrols, resulting in the removal of 29,426 traps and confiscation of 3,492 chainsaws, 85 tractors, 148 cars, 697 hand tractors, 429 motorcycles and 633 handmade guns.