Thursday, December 18, 2008

Government Adopts Measures to Combat Climate Change

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prach Sun, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment (MoE), said his government has banded together with the wider international community to fight climate change and mitigate its impact.

“We know that climate change is a global environmental issue which has negative impact regionally and globally, particularly in developing countries like Cambodia, where many people rely on natural resources for their livelihoods,” he said.

The Secretary of State continued that his ministry, through the Cambodia Climate Change Office (CCCO) has been working closely with national and international partners to enforce protocol and to support the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The Ministry of Environment has been working with United Nations agencies and other organizations to carry out projects related to climate change in preparation for the initial national communication on Cambodia's greenhouse gas emissions.

The national projects have been designed to conform to CDM criteria as well as domestic considerations shaped to help Cambodia weather the worst of climate change. Another priority is the advancement of climate change awareness.

He said that the Government ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995, and signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 and has been an active participant in climate change forums and the like.

Last week, GERES Cambodia launched a collection of “Climate Change Songs”. At the same time, Cambodia signed up to the Carbon Solidarity Asia (CSA) movement. The event was held at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC), Phnom Penh.

Nop Polin, Climate Change Communication Officer of GERES Cambodia, said that the main purpose of the event was to raise climate change awareness for Cambodians through media organizations and other development partners.

“We know that younger Cambodians are fond of a good tune and we have combined this love with an opportunity to spread the message of climate change. Thus, these Climate Change Songs, along with their accompanying video clips fuse entertainment with education in an effort to get them to change their daily behavior,” Polin said.

He said the weather is experiencing violent extremes with brutal heat waves followed by prolonged spells of cold, blustery weather. Rainfall has also been affected with drought interrupted by sharp deluges. These phenomena are increasingly believed to be the product of climate change. The usual climate change suspects have been named, including factory pollution and the denaturing of the ecosystem produced by widespread chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Organizations such as hotels and restaurants have also received criticism for failure to adopt energy saving practices.

“I hope this will provide just one more weapon in the fight against these changes,” he told the Cambodia Weekly. He added, “I note that currently Cambodia is experiencing the effects of climate change and these changes are becoming more noticeable year after year.”

Minh Cuong Le Quan, Director of the Climate Change Unit of GERES Cambodia, said the world is waking up to the dangers posed by climate change. But resources to combat the extremes are not flowing as freely as they might. There is also a need for ethical investments in businesses.

The Director said that membership of CSA will help the billions of people most affected by the negative impacts of climate change. He added that simple technologies like improved cooking stoves are affordable and have the potential to reduce the production of large quantities of greenhouse gases whilst providing numerous benefits to the users.

He emphasized that CSA represents opportunity for institutions and businesses. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that engagement with environmental and social issues is a hugely important factor in developing brand awareness. Companies who buy credit from from CSA can claim to be socially responsible and aware of their commitments to the greater society.

Prach Sun has strongly supported GERES Cambodia in producing a series of measures to combat the climate change in Cambodia. He said that the launching the collection of songs would raise awareness and encourage a change in daily habits.

“Climate change is a multi skill and sector issue. Participation and facilitation among stakeholders is necessary to ensure the success of implementation of all mitigation measures in response to climate change. In this regard, the Ministry of Environment would like to request collaboration among all stakeholders toward addressing climate change effectively,” he said.

Nop Polin, said that to combat the Climate Change in Cambodia, GERES Cambodia has implemented seven projects in Cambodia.

He said that the seven projects included the production of “green” charcoal to restore the environment, turning waste into renewable energy and jobs, bio-energy production projects situated in rural areas to provide work, measures to save energy in the home, rescuing Small and Medium sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and institutions threatened by energy access/ costs, and improving habitats with the introduction of low-cost and clean solar passive architecture, and improving livelihoods, nurturing the environment and creating sustainable jobs.

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