Local authorities alerted to realities of climate change

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A climate change workshop held in Stung Treng province no November 21. STUNG TRENG ADMINISTRATION

A recent training seminar on climate change in Stung Treng province informed attendees that climate change has caused an uptick in the occurrence of natural disasters that adversely affect the economy, society and the environment in many parts of the world. The worst affected are women and children, the elderly and poor people living in developing countries.

Na Osa, a member of the Koh Sneng commune council in Stung Treng province’s Borey O’Svay Sen Chey district who attended the training, told The Post that it was important for local authorities to assist them with preparing an action plan to prevent and respond promptly to disasters caused by climate change, which can vary in their effect on each local community.

The training seminar was organised by the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) in collaboration with OXFAM Cambodia, and featured keynote speakers and lecturers over two consecutive days.

Osa said the takeaway for him was that illegal logging, burning and clearing of forest cover released greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and destroyed an important resource for storing carbon, which caused severe natural disasters such as storms, heat waves, droughts and floods.

“In the event of a disaster, women, children and the elderly face the most serious challenges that require the utmost attention from all stakeholders to gaurantee their safety and wellbeing,” she said.

The training is scheduled to last for five days from November 21-25 with the participation of local community authorities from three target provinces – Kratie, Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri – along with technical, material and financial coordination from OXFAM Cambodia.

The second day of the training focused on data collection about disaster risk types and the mapping of specific geographical areas with catastrophic risks for preparing prevention strategies and planning for reducing risk of disaster and responding to victims on time.

“Based on what we learned from the lesson today, my Koh Sneng commune is facing a major risk of floods and storms due to this location being in the rainy area of the Mekong River Basin,” she said.

Similarly, another participant, Sambor commune chief Chum Savon of Kratie province, told The Post that every year now his commune is always faced with floods damaging many hectares of farmers’ crops.

“Despite agricultural modernisation, farmers in our commune still face significant damage to crops and livestock products due to climate changes, which cause bigger floods, longer droughts, more pests and diseases,” he said.

Citing speakers at the seminar, he said wealthy nations need to compensate poor and developing countries to plan for the recovery and reduce the risks caused by climate change.

A significant step towards the realisation of such a plan was achieved at the recent 27th UN climate change conference (COP27) in Egypt, with the outline of such a programme between developed and developing countries taking shape but its implementation still some time away.