Call for Sustainable Solutions to Combat Climate Change

During a dialogue on climate change, civil organizations made an urgent call for all sectors of society to unite to find solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to more renewable energies
Boats carrying sand seen in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Boats carrying sand seen in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Society groups have called on the government to bring much-needed resources to find solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by funding renewable power, such as wind and solar.

Speaking at a dialogue on climate change in Phnom Penh on Friday, Sophoan Phean, Oxfam National Director, said it is encouraging to see Cambodia develop solar energy and reduce electricity costs by two-thirds, while jumpstarting a transformation away from longstanding dependence on coal and hydroelectric power.

Sophoan added that climate change requires sustainable solutions, and this is possible when all actors – the state, private sector players, development partners and citizens – join hands to bring the necessary resources to invest in solutions that help the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions by funding renewable powers and helping communities adapt to climate change.

Sophoan Phean, Oxfam National Director
Sophoan Phean, Oxfam National Director

“We are calling for not just political commitments, but the allocation of budget to financing adaptation and mitigation efforts, and collaborations among actors,” Sophoan said.

The dialogue was organized by Oxfam and Fair Finance Cambodia Coalition members, with a youth debate on climate change, climate finance and green finance. The debate focused on climate change as a global crisis. Therefore, it is not only the government who needs to take action.

Ngel Sambath, a moderator of the debate, said that children and youths are growing up bearing the brunt of climate change, they are the long-term victims of climate change impacts, and also key actors. Therefore, Sambath said they should be engaged to provide their own perspective and be part of the long-term solution to climate actions.

And the time is now, Sambath said, calling for urgent climate actions from CSOs, the private sector, financial institutions, policymakers, and the government to solve climate change-related problems.

“Youth activists continue to voice all their concerns via social media. After this workshop, send messages that we all need to care about climate change. The government should enact new laws that limit carbon emissions and require polluters to pay for the emissions that they produce,” Sambath said.

Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said that the government, development partners and the private sector, should increase their climate finance budget as much as possible, down to implementation at the sub-national level, to ensure victimized farmers and those who face being victimized by climate change are protected.

The groups said that Cambodia will be one of the countries most affected by climate change. In ranking countries' vulnerability to climate change impacts and their readiness to improve climate resilience, Cambodia ranks 151st out of 181, based on 2020 ND-GAIN Index, the coalition said.

The coalition cited Climate Risk Country Profile Cambodia of World Bank and Asian Development Bank, saying that the country is highly vulnerable to climate change because of its economic growth and the livelihoods of much of its population depend on climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism.

Agriculture and fisheries alone provide 25 percent of Cambodia’s GDP and employ 49 percent of the country’s labor force.