Cambodia developing new climate-based disaster risk reduction strategy
Cambodia currently sits as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. To improve upon the countries resilience and preparedness, the government of Cambodia is developing new strategies with support from UNISDR.
Over the past decade, Cambodia have made strides in the right direction. Recent strong economic growth has led to a reduction in poverty from 48 per cent in 2007 to 17 per cent in 2014. However, this progress is under threat from the effects of climate change. The country now faces higher temperatures, longer droughts and more frequent tropical storms.
Dr. Nhim Vanda, Senior Minister in Charge and Permanent Vice President of National Committee for Disaster Management, said:
“Cambodia has made impressive development gains, and we need to protect these. The new DRR strategy requires the full engagement and commitment of all sectors in Cambodia to ensure our development goals are not delayed by disasters.”
These harsher weather conditions are likely to impact the most vulnerable communities. Approximately 80 per cent of the population rely on subsistence crop production. In 2016, Cambodia suffered through a drought described by Prime Minister Hun Sen as the country’s worst disaster in 100 year’s.
This year, Cambodia faces another drought, one that has already damaged 20,000 hectares of rice fields, according to Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management.
To build Cambodia’s resilience and protect its economic and social gains from climate-induced disasters, the country is upgrading its disaster risk management system and a key part of this effort is the development of the new Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 – 2023.
To mark the launch, line ministries, the UN system, NGOs and representatives of civil society were invited to attend a multi-sectoral workshop in Phnom Penh with technical support from UNDP and UNISDR.
Ms. Loretta Hieber Girardet, Head of UNISDR Asia-Pacific, said:
“Having a national strategy that is developed in cooperation with all relevant ministries is critical to mobilizing a whole-of-government response. It is equally important to engage with civil society and stakeholders representing vulnerable groups, such as the poor, women and persons with disability, through an active national platform for DRR.”
The inclusion of vulnerable groups in these early talks is essential in providing sufficient disaster risk reduction in order to meet their needs. Often, these groups are disproportionately impacted by natural disasters. By fully participating in the process of developing and implementing the DRR strategy, representatives of vulnerable groups can convey their needs and concerns to national authorities, and at the same time, serve as conduits for the dissemination of risk communication and guidance to hard-to-reach populations.
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Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade