Country Director’s remarks at the Consultation Workshop on the Cambodia Climate Change Financing Framework

28 Jan 2014

Remarks for the Consultation Workshop on the Cambodia Climate Change Financing Framework

by Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme Cambodia

on Tuesday, 28 January 2014

at InterContinental Hotel, Phnom Penh

Your Excellency Sabo Ojano,

Excellencies;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Introduction

I would like to welcome you all to today’s consultation on a Climate Change Financing Framework for Cambodia.

Just last week, in an editorial in the Washington Post, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called climate change “the biggest challenge of our time”, and asked for more decisive actions and commitments from the international community towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This morning I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what this means for Cambodia, and how we can use our time together today to improve our collective impact in addressing the challenge of climate change.

The need for prompt action in the area of climate change is no secret; all of us here in this room are very aware of its potential impact on Cambodia’s economy and society. Cambodia is consistently ranked among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. Increased frequency and severity of floods and droughts, temperature changes and shifts in rainfall patterns, as well as sea level rise, could have dramatic effects on a wide range of sectors and social issues, including food security, agricultural exports, energy supply, human health and transport infrastructures, to name only a few. Ultimately, economic growth and social development in Cambodia will be seriously impacted if we do not start acting now to adapt to these challenges, and contribute to global mitigation efforts.

In the next few minutes I will provide a brief overview of what has been achieved so far, touch on some remaining challenges, and then offer a shared-vision for the future.

Achievements

What has been achieved so far to respond to these trends?

Most recently, the Royal Government of Cambodia prioritized climate change in the Rectangular Strategy III, and highlighted it as a key cross-cutting issue in the new National Strategic Development Plan (2014-18). The Government’s commitment to the fight against climate change was further affirmed with the launch of the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan (CCCSP) in November last year, following extensive consultations with a wide range of national stakeholders.

Along with partners here today, the UNDP has been involved in supporting the development of Cambodia’s Climate Change Strategic Plan. The Plan provides the blueprint needed to build the country’s resilience to climate-induced natural disasters, and promote low-carbon development in the future. The Climate Change Strategic Plan is the government’s vision for climate-resilient development and green growth for the next 10 years. Such an ambitious plan however, is faced with distinct and complex challenges.

Challenges

Coordination, for instance, which will and continue to be crucial to the fight against climate change in Cambodia, needs improvement. There remain deep disconnects and inefficiencies that cripple us in this race to implement effective and sustainable solutions that address real needs on the ground. While the project-orientation of climate change work in Cambodia reflects the broad array of actors ready to commit resources and expertise, it also creates significant coordination challenges.

Secondly, having reliable resources to ensure an impactful and sustainable response to climate change remains key challenge. We are now at a critical stage in which Cambodia is preparing to scale-up its climate change response and implement the vision of the CCCSP. In addition to requiring financing, the plan will need strong strategic management of this financing to ensure it has the intended catalytic effect. The projects, institutional reforms and capacity-building envisioned and already underway in the field will require different institutional mechanisms and modalities, and approaches to cooperation to ensure effective mobilization of climate finance and its integration into broader development processes.

Vision for the Future

All of us here today share the vision of a climate resilient society in Cambodia. We recognize the need for strong institutional mechanisms to deliver climate finance in such a way that much larger flows of public and private investments can be leveraged and oriented toward climate-smart, people-centered solutions. The impacts of these investments must be evident to those they are intended to benefit: Cambodian citizens.

Climate change must become a standard criterion in the way investments are planned and budgeted in Cambodia. This will require appropriate modalities to effectively “blend” climate finance with other sources of financing, both domestic and external, so that the cross-cutting and broad nature of the climate change challenge is also in the responses we offer.

The work on a Climate Change Financing Framework (CCFF) that is being presented today is innovative, and with our collective effort will hopefully provide decision-makers with the information they need to put in place the institutional and financial mechanisms that will help deliver an effective national climate change response.

As you prepare to implement this ambitious plan, the UNDP remains strongly committed to helping strengthen national mechanisms and capacities required to make it a reality. A first estimation of climate change finance scenarios for Cambodia in the next 5 to 10 years has been prepared to help guide this planning exercise with realistic assumptions on the volume of resources that may be available.

I would like to congratulate the National Climate Change Committee and the Climate Change Department for leading this effort. I would also like to acknowledge the work undertaken by the members of the sub-working group on climate finance. I would also like to thank our CCCA partners, EU, Danida and Sweden, for their financial support for this important exercise.

I look forward to the feedback you will provide on this initial analysis and recommendations. Your views will be critical to help shape effective national and sub-national mechanisms for the management of climate change finance, and to ensure the integration of climate change and sustainability issues into public investment and fiscal strategies in Cambodia.

I wish you a very fruitful workshop.

Thank you.

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