The Ministry of Environment presented a draft of its road map for so-called “green growth” at an inter-ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh on Monday.
The road map broadly outlined challenges faced by 13 different ministries, ranging from water quality to poverty to alternative energy, as well as a few possible solutions. Cambodia is working toward developing a green growth policy to achieve environmentally sustainable growth, as outlined by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific .
During an opening speech, UNESCAP representative Aneta Nikolova said that sustainable development is just as important for developing nations like Cambodia as it is for developed countries.
“This is the right time to start, while infrastructure is being built. Don’t be hesitant to do it,” she said.
In the draft road map, water quality is repeatedly mentioned as a challenge for Cambodia because of a lack of water treatment plants, a poorly developed sewage system and erosion caused by deforestation.
“Water supplies at present are provided inadequately and do not respond to consumer demands, especially the poor, and noticeably, only less than half of rural households in Cambodia have access to safe water,” according to the section of the draft addressing challenges of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.
The draft road map also lists possible tools to achieve green growth, including alternative energy sources, improved forest management, microfinance loans for women in rural areas and ecotourism.
Green growth, as defined by UNESCAP, comprises policies promoting sustainable consumption and production, green business, sustainable infrastructure and ecological indicator systems.
(Additional reporting by Bethany Lindsay)