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by Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, Country Director, UNDP Cambodia
25th June 2014
His Excellency Pon Saroeun, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the development partners supporting the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance, it is my great privilege to welcome you to this Dissemination Workshop of the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan for 2014-2023.
All of us in this room have likely heard that Cambodia is consistently ranked by international indices as among the top ten countries vulnerable to climate change impacts. Recently another study by the United States’ credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, placed Cambodia on the top of its list of 116 countries most vulnerable to climate change due to its heavy reliance on agricultural productivity, share of population living below 5 meters to sea level and weak capacity to cope with the changing climate patterns and extreme weather events. These consistent results from international reports have amplified concern over the country’s ability to respond and call for immediate actions by all stakeholders.
I am therefore very pleased to learn that the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan, since its launch by the Prime Minister in November 2013, has been widely disseminated throughout the country. This is particularly relevant to planners and practitioners at the sub-national level who are directly involved in supporting vulnerable communities to cope with the effects of climate change.
The Strategic Plan being disseminated today is a significant step taken by the Royal Government of Cambodia in shaping its path towards becoming a resilient and low-carbon development nation. The Plan identifies priority strategies to promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and as well as required institutional strengthening in order to implement these strategies. It clearly is an ambitious plan for a country whose majority relies on the agriculture sector, which is very susceptible to climate conditions, and where around 20% of the population still lives below the poverty line. Such an ambitious plan requires strong commitment and coordination from all stakeholders at both national and sub-national levels to align their work in contribution to this vision.
Cambodia is at a critical stage where it must harness necessary human, technological and financial resources to scale-up its climate change response. Last week I was the Technical Working Group Network Retreat where the National Strategic Development Plan for 2014-2018 was shared with development partners. The five-year plan recognizes climate change as one of the key cross-cutting issues, and climate change-related indicators have been included in the Plan’s monitoring and evaluation framework. While this is another significant step taken by the government to prioritize climate change impacts in policy and planning, it is equally important that investment and capacities are specifically dedicated to the implementation and monitoring of these set targets.
More importantly, the emphasis on local actions to promote community resilience remains a high priority in a country where nearly half of the communes are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. As at the national level, coordinated efforts have been made to integrate climate change into key sectoral plans, but there remains a need to ensure local plans, capacities and investments are developed in consideration of potential climate risks that will affect communities.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
Together with our partners, the European Union and the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme is committed to continuing to provide both technical and financial support to the government to strengthen its capacity to implement the climate change strategies.
We look forward to working with all partners to support the Government in pursuing its vision towards toward a green, low-carbon, climate-resilient, equitable, sustainable and knowledge-based society.