Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Debate Session “What Can ASEAN Do about Climate Change”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The British Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and The University of Cambodia (UC) have organized the Debate Session on Climate Change Topic “What Can ASEAN Do About Climate Change”, aiming to raise awareness on climate issue for young generation especially students in Cambodia on March 16th at the UC office.

Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, Personal Advisor to Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the debate session is very important because it will provide the chance for students to share and learn about climate change issue in Cambodia as well as in region or in the world.

“Climate Change is the issue of concerns for our next generations, and it is also a global concern for people in the world, therefore many conventions, treaties and protocols to protect the environment were adopted and signed by many states,” he said during opening remarks during the debate session at The University of Cambodia (UC) on March 16th.

Dr. Kao, who is also the President of The University of Cambodia continued to say that Climate change has been an agenda of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and all ASEAN’s member countries and are very concerned about it. They are now working hard to combat and reduce climate change issues in region and in the world.

To combat the climate change, ASEAN has important role and influences in implementing and encouraging all countries which have adopted and signed conventions, treaties or protocols to implement it and to cooperate and work hard in reducing their pollution and other electronic products that lead to the climate change, he said.

He added that there must also be the national and international level meetings, ASEAN Meeting and other regional or global events in order to share ideas and raise awareness about climate change or finding solutions or actions in combating climate change issues in the future.

H.E. Andrew Mace, British Ambassador to Cambodia, said that Cambodia is one of the first countries to confirm associations with the Accord on January 1st, 2010. He said that to raise awareness among youths and students in Cambodia, the British Embassy to Cambodia is in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and have organized debates on Climate Change in three universities: the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), The University of Cambodia (UC), and the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE).

Mace stated that debates included: what was the outcome from UNFCCC in Copenhagen in December 2009. What is the Copenhagen Accord?; How can Cambodia benefit from the outcome?, what are the next steps?; and How can Cambodia work for an improved agreement in the future?

He added that the main purpose of this debate is to help the students and teaching staff, government officials, the development in the community, and the public more widely to understand climate change and the Copenhagen Accord.

According to a GEERES’s report, Phnom Penh is the third vulnerable city in Asia in terms of natural disaster. From 1987-2007, there were 12 floods, 1125 deaths and 5 droughts which have cost the government more than US$ 300 million. If the sea level increased one meter higher, 56 percent of Koh Kong town’s territory would be covered by water. ////

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