Cambodian Climate Change Summit 2022 (CCCS22) hosted a range of presentations and discussions on key talking points surrounding the challenge of mitigating climate change, which included government officials, ambassadors and leading public and private sector actors.
Discussions, which were organized by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) in partnership with the Mekong Future Initiative (MFI), were delivered across two break-out rooms of the event’s venue, Borei Angkor Hotel, in Siem Reap.
To read more about the CCCS22 Day 1 discussions click here.
Room one held talks organized by USAID, the British Embassy, the Australian Embassy, Oxfam and the USAID-funded Green Invest Asia (USAID GIA), with room two hosting BritCham, iDe Global, YEAC and another second talk by USAID GIA.
Net zero pathways for Cambodia
The first USAID session of the day was centered around Zero Net Pathways, with experts including Mr. Barry Flaming, Senior Agriculture, Forestry, & Other Land Use (AFOLU) Advisor Pact, Inc. / USAID Green Invest Asia, Rithiny Teng, National Strategic Initiatives Manager at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Jens Peterson, Director, Investments at New Forests.
Jens Peterson said that a big issue is the inability of developing countries to develop in the same way that other countries did previously.
“Developing countries face the issue that they are not being allowed the same space and opportunity to expand in the way developed countries have because of climate change. It is difficult because rich countries have been allowed to pollute and become rich from it, but now with the urgency of climate change mitigation developing countries’ Damage payments will be on the agenda and that will be difficult,” Jens Peterson said.
“However, therein lies the opportunity for Cambodia. They don’t need to follow the mistakes of developing countries, or they can at least learn from them. Moving forward, if they focus on building green and sustainable economies, they could leapfrog those which rely on fossil fuels,” he added.
He also commented that the upcoming COP27 will be based on implementation, meaning lots of action will need to be taken on pledges made. Adding, we should be able to help developing countries to develop green economies by helping them develop. Which will then be better by sheer way of their sustainability.
Following on was a talk on Cambodia’s Clean Energy Transition, which was organized by the Australian Embassy, and included guest speakers Bridget Macintosh, Co-founder of EnergyLab, Australian Ambassador Pablo Kang, H.E. Keo Rottanak, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Managing Director Electricité du Cambodge, Ms. Mola Tin.
To read more about the EV transition in Cambodia click here.
Mr. Kang said that globally, solar and wind are now the cheapest power source, which has been more pronounced as a result of the war In Ukraine.
“The latest renewable energy report said that between 2020 and 2026, renewables will increase 60% and be producing some 4800 gigawatts. This means that by 2050 it will be on track to account for over 50% of global supply.”
The grid in Cambodia now reaches 99% of all villages in Cambodia. Domestic and import fossil fuels are on track to reach 70% of the power supply.
H.E. Keo Rottanak said, “We are proud of where we are at currently in Cambodia. Renewables stand at 61% of our power supply. Cambodia’s footprint is infinitely tiny, yet we are still making progress, especially through our international commitments, such as those made at COP26.”
At COP26, Cambodia pledged to build no more coal power plants, no more hydropower on the Mekong mainstream and focus on the development of renewable energy.
To read more about Cambodia’s commitments at COP26 click here.
“At the ASEAN 10, the committee committed itself to 35% renewable power. Cambodia is at 61%. We will maintain at any given time more than 60%, by combining different renewables and importing some from neighbors such as Laos, that have advantages in terms of wind,” H.E. Keo Rottanak said.
Technical capabilities remain a barrier for Cambodia
Bridget Macintosh added that Cambodia is very well on its way to the transition to renewable.
“In 2016 there was no solar energy in Cambodia and now it represents over 6% of its power. There is some 45 gigawatts of solar potential in the country, 10 times more than the current entire power consumption. It also has huge potential from hydropower. Furthermore, they both complement each other because during the wet season the sun’s power drops so it can be made up with hydro,” she said.
“Despite Cambodia signing deals for coal-fired power plants in 2019, China’s recent commitment to not financing or building any plants abroad could mean the building of these does no go through. This represents a huge opportunity for Cambodia to completely transition and continue leading the way on renewable energy,” she added.
H.E. Keo Rottanak finished that Cambodia is not lacking imagination and foresight but in finance and technology.
“We are finding it hard to mobilize our resources to meet our COP26 pledges, so we encourage foreign investment to help us achieve these goals,” H.E. Keo Rottanak said.
The next event was Energy Efficiency & Market Opportunities, organized by the British Embassy, with guest speakers including:
- Ms Eloise Burnett, Senior Asia Manager of The Carbon Trust
- Mr. Richard Scotney, Director of USAID Sustainable Economic Growth Office USAID
- Ms. Daniella Chehade, Energy Consultant at Sevea Consulting
- Mr. Rogier Van Mansvelt Project Lead Switch-Garment at the Global Green Growth Institute
Eloise Burnett said the Carbon Trust is a mission to move the world to net zero emissions.
“The goal of our organization is to get maximum efficiency from every unit of energy. The way we use energy is extremely important to cost-effective solutions,” Eloise Burnett said.
According to Eloise Burnett currently the barriers that Cambodia faces in energy efficiency (EE) are technical capabilities, low awareness and demand, access to capital for EE investments, and the correct rules and regulations that allow that to happen.
“There is some fantastic foresight from the Cambodian government and some great plans to drive progress, but there will be to be the issues addressed first before they can be realized,” she said.
“Energy efficiency is different in every cultural context, in Cambodia is very much about saving money. So, it is about making sure that we are reaching the right touchpoints within the Kingdom. Risk sharing, market development and capital raising are key parts of our push towards making energy efficiency important in the region,” she added.
Community driven approaches
The talks delivered by Oxfam were concerning Joint Efforts to Safeguarding the Mekong’s Aquatic Resources and Ecosystems, with guest speakers including:
- Mrs. Phean Sophoan, the National Director of Oxfam in Cambodia
- Dr. Digby James Wren, Senior Special Advisor on International Relations Institute of Cambodia, Royal Academy of Cambodia,
- H.E. Mr. Kol Vathana, Deputy Secretary General of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee (CNMC)
- Mr. Hong Chamnan, Director at the MoE Wetlands Conservation Department
- Mr. Seng Teak, Country Director at WWF Cambodia
- Dr. Heng Kong, Director of Inland Research and Development Institute (IFReDI) with Oxfam
Dr. Digby James Wren said that Oxfam clearly no one is against protecting wetlands, but it’s about making the connection between people and their actions and the impact that has on the river.
“Communities support protecting the environment, especially the river, which they rely on for their livelihoods. However, people then go to charge their phones and use electricity and are unaware that this is creating the demand which is putting the Mekong in danger of being exploited for the production of electricity. This would in turn damage the people’s livelihoods,” he said.
“We need more collaboration between those involved to address the protection issue. From the community level to high-level actors and all the governments who oversee the Mekong,” he added.
The sessions in room one finished with a talk on Community Driven Approaches for Climate Resilience organized by USAID Cambodia, with guest speakers including:
- Mr. Menglim Kim, Mission Environmental Officer at USAID Cambodia
- Mrs. Doung Chantrea, Deputy Chief at Aphivat Thmey Beong Char Agriculture Cooperative
- Ms. Meth Malen, Chief at Phnom Chroap Trey Ksan Community Protected Area
- Mrs. Thorng SreyOun, Council Member at Chhean MukCommune, Preah Vihear
- Mr. Keo Socheat, Executive Director, Samson Mlup Prey (SMP)
Other talks saw BritCham deliver a talk on eco-tourism, iDE Global discuss climate-resilient horticulture technologies and practices, and a short talk was then held about the future of electric vehicles.
USAID – Green Invest Asia talked about what it takes to access climate finance, with YEAC finishing breakroom activities with a green business forum discussion, in what was an action-packed day.
The day finished with a Gala Networking Dinner, where guests heard Closing Remarks from the Director of the Mekong Future Initiative, Mr. Allen Dodgson Tan.
The official sponsor and partner of CCCS22 is USAID, with further sponsorship support coming from Forte Insurance, Heineken, Oxfam Cambodia & Smart Axiata.
Other contributing partners include the American Embassy, the Australian Embassy, the British Embassy, BritCham, YEAC, and iDE Globe.