Cambodia engaged in climate change adaptation



Posted on 04 April 2013  | 
In early March, a climate change adaptation workshop organized by WWF and hosted in Phnom Penh attracted massive participation from nearly 80 people, including representatives from the Cambodian government, non-government organizations, civil society and universities. The purpose was to improve general knowledge of climate change and to deepen the understanding of the effects of climate change on current and future, conservation and development goals.

The workshop was facilitated by Mr Shaun Martin, Climate Change Adaptation Senior Director with WWF-US, who has conducted similar trainings around the globe. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and group exercises, the 3-day training aimed to answer fundamental questions about climate change adaptation, such as: What is the difference between climate and weather? Why do conservation planners and practitioners need to consider climate change? Why are integrated approaches to climate change adaptation necessary?

Climate change adaptation is a priority concern in Cambodia because the nation has been identified as highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. To prepare for these impacts, Cambodia has developed a National Adaptation Programme of Action to Climate Change and requested the UNDP to focus its 2011 Cambodia Human Development Report on building climate change resilience.

Mr. Va Vuthy, a presenter at the conference and Climate Change Policy Officer for Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA), discussed how the ranking of Cambodia as one of the most climate vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia, has led the Royal Government of Cambodia to take into consideration the implications of climate change and in particular the negative economic impact that will result from increased extreme weather events, e.g. flood, droughts, epidemics and storms, associated with global warming.

“With the support of CCCA and involvement of 9 key ministries, a national Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is now in progress of development, and is prioritized in the National Strategic Development Plan,” he said.

Participants carried-out group exercises affording time for participants to discuss and consolidate understanding of the concepts presented. Based on workshop evaluations, many participants noted that the training and in particular, the interactive discussions and activities, were very valuable.

“This is not the first time I have participated in climate change training, but even so this training is very useful for me,” said Mr. Son Bora, WWF’s Community Extension Team Project Officer and Counterpart with the Ministry of Environment. He noted that the training’s practical discussions gave him additional information and understanding about climate change, which will be very beneficial for his work and daily life.

Participants also noted that they gained more knowledge about key concepts of climate variability, vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation and that the training improved their ability to communicate these concepts effectively, along with giving them a better understanding of how adaptation differs and relates to aspects of their current work.

Mr. Hang Sereyvuth, WWF’s Project Field Coordinator and Counterpart with Fisheries Administration, said that he would use knowledge and information he gained from this workshop to support his community outreach work along the Mekong River and educate the local villagers about the issue and advise them on climate change adaptation.

Dr. Geoffrey Blate, Senior Climate Change Technical Advisor with WWF Greater Mekong Programme and one of the workshop facilitators, said that the training provided related organizations and government officials with a greater understanding of climate change adaptation and created a platform for future cooperation, which will benefit the nation.

“We hope that knowledge and understanding about climate change adaptation that this workshop has given will assist WWF and its Cambodian government partner in achieving goals in the current 5-year strategic plan.

This training was made possible with the support of the MacArthur Foundation and the Education for Nature Program of WWF-US. 
Mr Moul Phath, WWF's EPL government liaison, interacts with members of a group exercise
© WWF-Greater Mekong / Mengey Eng Enlarge
Mr Shaun Martin explains the workshop about concepts of climate change adaptation.
© WWF-Greater Mekong / Mengey Eng Enlarge

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