By Chhay Daroth
Fifteen students from the University of Cambodia (UC) attended the launch ceremony of the Cambodia Human Development Report 2011 (CHDR), “Building Resilience: The Future of Rural Livelihoods in the Face of Climate Change,” on August 30. The event was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment (MoE). The ceremony was presided over by H.E. Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, H.E. Dr. Mok Mareth, Senior Minister and Minister of Environment, and Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator.
During his opening remarks, H.E. Keat Chhon said that the report is valuable in that it provides detailed information about climate change and its adverse impact on Cambodia to government institutions, development partners, and public and private sector institutions. These institutions can then utilize the information in the report to prepare appropriate strategies for adapting and responding to climate change issues, he said.
“Climate change for Cambodia is fundamentally a development challenge. Cambodia is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. This vulnerability does not necessarily come from high exposure, but rather from low adapting and coping capacities,” said Douglas Broderick. “These capacities can and should be strengthened, not only as part of a broader national response to the manifestations of climate change, but also to enhance the country’s ability to respond to all natural disasters and to lessen their impacts on the poor and the near poor.”
After the ceremony, the UC students said they found the launch ceremony to be very informative and it helped them to think about ways to mitigate the effects of climate change and build resilient communities.
“The event was like a flash alert to help us know more about the effects of global climate change in the upcoming years,” said Sokkhea Gechcheng, a UC Student Senate officer. “The program also. . .[provided recommendations]. . .on how to build resilience so we can balance the threat of climate change and our development activities.”
Another student, Pech Sophealeak, a UC Speech and Debate Society officer, also attended the event and said that she believes it was really important because it provides people with critical information.
She added, “Not many Cambodian people know about climate change and its effects, so it is good to educate them on the issue of climate change, for this issue really affects their daily livelihood.”
Source: UC Bulletin September 2011, Page 33