Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have launched “Cambodia Clean Energy Week 2023”, with calls for coordinated action on the clean energy transition, in response to climate change.

The official launch ceremony was presided over by Peou Maly, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and Kan Pharidh, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 

In attendance at the event were foreign ambassadors to Cambodia, as well as representatives from partner organisations and other groups working in the clean energy sector. 

This year’s event is themed “Energy Security and Cambodia’s Clean Energy Future”. Various activities are scheduled in Phnom Penh from November 16-23, according to a joint press release.

They will include dialogues, workshops, exhibitions, and community events which will showcase the innovations, successes and inclusive benefits of clean energy, while fostering collaboration between private and public sector stakeholders and increasing awareness among the public.

In the press release, Australian ambassador Justin Whyatt explained that Cambodia’s clean energy transition was an opportunity to respond to climate change and support inclusive and sustainable economic growth. 

“Australia is committed to supporting this transition, including by sharing its experience in variable renewable energy grid integration to help Cambodia achieve positive outcomes,” he said.

“Through our flagship economic development programme, Cambodia Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development (CAPRED), Australia is working with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Electricity Authority of Cambodia and other stakeholders on integrating variable renewable energy. CAPRED is also helping connect remote Cambodians to off-grid solar and supporting energy efficiency through an ESCO market,” he added.

UNDP resident representative Alissar Chaker said that embracing clean energy was not an ideological position; it was more of an economic opportunity for Cambodia to increase energy security, create trade dividends and employment, access to finance, and increase its resilience and inclusion.

“UNDP Cambodia is working to promote and support just energy transition in the Kingdom through partnership with the government of Cambodia, development partners, NGOs, academia and private entities,” she added.

“We are committed to advancing this agenda through an integrated approach focused on policy, joint implementation for the deployment of innovative solutions and clean technology, capacity development and innovative finance,” she continued.

She provided examples, noting that over the past three years, the UNDP supported key regulations such as the rooftop solar and energy efficiency guidelines in buildings.

“We also electrified 21 off-grid villages with solar-powered mini-grids, giving access to remote and marginalised communities as well as isolated indigenous villages,” she added.

New Zealand first secretary to Cambodia Matthew Allen suggested that events like Clean Energy Week provide an opportunity to seed positive change and share innovative solutions to addressing one of the most pressing issues facing the world today.

Energy Lab Cambodia Country Director Natharoun Ngo Son agreed with the sentiment.

“We hope Clean Energy Week 2023 will amplify one of energy minister Keo Rattanak’s goals: to bank more on variable renewable energy and solar to increase Cambodia’s energy security,” he said.