Cambodia Should Prepare for Climate Change

Cambodia is one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change because the majority of its population is engaged in agriculture and there is a lack of infrastructure to combat floods and other effects, the 3rd National Forum on Climate Change was told Tuesday.

About 80 percent of Cambo­dians living in rural areas will be affected if the government does not factor climate change’s effects into their national development plans, as the majority of those people work in the agriculture sector, said Claire Van der Vaeren, U.N. resident coordinator in Cambodia.

“Cambodia is consistently ranked among the top 10 countries with the highest vulnerability to climate change impacts,” Ms. Van der Vaeren said, adding that nearly half of the country’s communes have been categorized as either vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to climate variability.

“People who subsist below the poverty line and other groups—such as women-headed households, children, the elderly, the disabled and the indigenous communities—are particularly vulnerable,” she said.

As temperatures are expected to rise in the region, this would also affect the economy as the high heat levels would make it difficult for workers to work, said Hans Guttman, Mekong River Commission’s CEO.

“Areas such as agricultural and disaster risk reduction need to be en­hanced and the capacity to deal with these events need to be improved,” he said, adding that having the finances or technology to deal with these future issues is not enough.

“It’s also about the political will that ensures that these plans will roll down,” he said.

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