On 19 September 2019, Korea Environment Institute (KEI), Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) jointly organized a Workshop on “Cambodia’s Environmental Challenges and the SDGs” at Phnom Penh Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The objectives and expected outcomes of the workshop are:
- To discuss current trends and perspectives for the implementation of the CSDGs with environmental sustainability focus;
- To discuss emerging issues, review Cambodia’s progress for environmental sustainability and identify synergies to engage actively and contribute to sustainable development in Cambodia;
- To identify how the SDGs in environment dimension are interconnected with the others and what challenges should be addressed to offset trade-offs and boost synergies; and
- To share lessons learned and best practices how key development partners in Cambodia can better cooperate amongst existing partnerships and activate implementation of the CSDGs.
The workshop started with opening remarks by Dr. Kin Phea, Director General of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia followed by introductory remarks by Dr. Young Han Kwon, Honorary Research Fellow, KEI. The workshop brought together 21 national and international experts from KEI, UNDP, KOICA, GGGI, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Ministry of Environment, RAC and NCSD with three presentations (1). Current trends of Cambodia’s CSDGs implementation by H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok, Secretary General, National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), (2). Cambodia’s environmental issues and challenges by Dr. Venkatachalam Anbumozhi from Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia), and (3). Analysis of environmental SDGs interlinkages in Cambodia by Dr. Xin Zhou from Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, followed by a roundtable discussion.
There are 7 experts in the roundtable discussion including H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok, Secretary General, Cambodia’s National Council for Sustainable Development, Mr. Heng Virith, Director of Secretariat of Council of Academicians of RAC, Mr. Leif Holmberg, Climate Change and Environmental Policy Specialist, Policy and Innovation Unit, UNDP, Cambodia, Ms. Karolien Casaer-Diez, Country Representative in Cambodia, GGGI, Mr. Hwang Wook Kang Deputy Director of Cambodia Office, KOICA, Dr. Venkatachalam Anbumozhi (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia), Dr. Xin Zhou (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies).
The following points were covered in roundtable discussion:
- Major environmental issues and needs for cooperation (focusing on environmental sustainability, climate change, water and sanitation)
- Current efforts and progress for environmental cooperation in Cambodia (focusing on environmental sustainability, climate change, water and sanitation)
- Existing challenges/limitations and innovative solutions to address the environmental issues in Cambodia
It is noted that with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international society is actively working towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with five critical dimensions, also known as 5Ps (people, prosperity, planet, partnership and peace). About half of the SDGs are directly linked to the environment dimension of the 17 goals or address the sustainability of natural resources: poverty, health, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, human settlements, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, oceans, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Cambodia has been working towards the integration and contextualization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into its national agenda; notably the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2014-2018, which was a proactive, challenging but fruitful process for the Royal Government of Cambodia. The alignment between the NSDP and the SDGs targets and indicators were reviewed and existing gaps and challenges were identified through a series of consultation processes amongst civil society, government ministries and development partners in Cambodia. This process concluded that of the 169 SDG targets, 109 targets were identified to be applicable and relevant in the Cambodia context. It also confirmed that the SDGs are reflected in Cambodia’s sectoral strategies and next NSDP 2019-2023.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has submitted the Voluntary National Review (VNR) for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2019 signaling the strong commitments to support the SDGs and its ambition to maintain rapid development by carting through necessary reforms.