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Confront Climate Change or Lose Development, Expert Says

Since Monday some 13 provinces are facing flooding problems.
Since Monday some 13 provinces are facing flooding problems.

Climate change is likely behind much of the flooding, drought, rising temperatures, and cyclones that Cambodia has experienced in the past, with major impacts on crops and other agriculture, a World Bank expert says.

“Climate change is the fundamental threat to development in our lifetime and in the lifetime of our children and the generation to come,” Mafalda Duarte, the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds program manager, said at the Voice of America on Friday. “If we don’t confront it, we won’t end poverty and we will not promote prosperity for those we care about the most.”

The average temperature in Cambodia has increased by 1 degree Celsius over the last 40 years, and the government is now preparing action plans to cope with the new trend.

“We also know that the longer we delay tackling climate change, the higher the cost,” Duarte said.

Eight separate ministries and government agencies have prepared plans to deal with climate change, according to the Environment Ministry.

Duarte said such plans should include input from the private sector, civil society and the vulnerable to decide which areas may be worst affected by climate change.

Cambodia has received World Bank support for a pilot program of Climate Investment Funds. These are helping countries test different approaches, “to see which ones work and then we would scale them up over time,” she said.