Cambodia to phase out HFC use

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Plumes of black smoke rise from two chimney stacks in Roka Korng commune of Kandal province’s Mok Kampoul district. Heng Chivoan

Back on April 8, Cambodia ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

The Montreal Protocol is a well-established multilateral environmental agreement that is successfully preventing massive damage to human health and the environment from excessive ultraviolet radiation from the sun by phasing out the production and consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer.

The Kigali Amendment is a binding international agreement, or treaty, which is intended to create rights and obligations in international law.

Once the Amendment enters into force for a nation through ratification – which gives it the same standing as the other laws there – that nation then assumes legal obligations under the Amendment.

According to a document seen by The Post on June 9, ratifying the Kigali Amendment will enhance the international reputation of the Kingdom of Cambodia by increasing its participation in the fight against climate change through reducing and phasing-out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and HFCs-based equipment.

The document said that Cambodia will also get financial and technical support – including support aimed at strengthening institutions, import and export licensing and quotas for effective implementation of the Kigali Amendment.

“Ratifying the Kigali Amendment will not affect to the economy of [Cambodia], but it will give many benefits including an improvement in reputation at the international level and the provision of financial and technical support for the implementation of Kigali Amendment related activities,” read the document.

Cambodia will have flexibility to prioritize HFCs, define sectors, select technologies and alternatives and elaborate and implement its strategies to meet agreed HFC obligations, based on their specific needs and national circumstances, following a country-driven approach, it said.

Cambodia will get support fund for the investment program to retrofit any equipment that currently uses HFCs to using alternative refrigerants that do not destroy the ozone layer and will contribute to global warming, the document noted.

In Cambodia, HFCs are used in vehicle air conditioners, refrigerators and large air conditioning systems for buildings like hotels, shopping malls or office towers.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post: “Cambodia reaffirms that we stand ready to work with the world community for effective implementation of the Kigali Amendment to address the adverse impacts of climate change from [cooling technologies] while simultaneously responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Advocacy Officer at the forest defenders project at Cambodia Youth Network, San Mala, told The Post on June 9 that he applauded Cambodia’s ratification of the Kigali Amendment as the correct and responsible policy approach for the country.

“In addition to participating in other international protocols or mechanisms, the government should further strengthen its internal affairs related to natural resource governance,” he said.

Mala said the government should ensure that any development related to natural resources allocation is carried out responsibly, sustainably and without corruption.