Cambodia Gets Eco-Friendly

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Cambodia’s future looks green after a conference to tackle environmental issues and sustainability in the Kingdom was hosted in the capital.

More than 160 people gathered at the Sofitel Phnom Penh for the EuroCham hosted the first Cambodian Green Business Forum – Vision2030. The aim was to look at the sustainability and green growth issues that are becoming increasingly important across the globe.

Friday’s day-long event, which saw a series of speakers take to the stage to talk about issues such as renewable energy, transforming waste into energy, tourism, construction, vocational training and carbon credits, comes at a time when Cambodia is experiencing high levels of growth and development.

By working together, it is hoped the business world can help lead the way in a sustainability and green awareness culture. The seminars placed emphasis on the importance that this is met as soon as possible to lay the foundations for long-term economic growth without degrading the environment and resources of the country.

Guest speakers representing a diverse range of multilateral and private sector organisations, such as the Ministry of Environment, Nexus, Hong Kong Land, WWF, the European Union and Comin Khmer, hosted a series of sessions where they shared their expertise in an area that is rapidly growing in Cambodia and the rest of the region.

Issues discussed included green growth and energy efficiency, human resources and meeting international criteria, renewable energies and sustainable trade in forest products and services.

Giving an overview of how the country’s main industries can work to become more energy efficient, Loraine Gatlabayan, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said UNEP is working to develop a series of partnerships within the region. Cambodia is currently a partner and has taken the necessary steps, including establishing the National Council on Green Growth.

However, she said more investment is essential and additional efforts need to be made to increase green technology and awareness, as well as promoting sustainable production. “We have seen Cambodia has been very active,” she added.

UNEP is targeting areas such as sustainable tourism, buildings and construction, which it believes are all key players in the green market. To achieve a more eco-friendly future, sustainable building policies and the promotion of energy efficiency in buildings are essential.

The transport sector also poses a series of challenges, Gatlabayan added, with a shift to less harmful modes of transport and the introduction of cleaner transport technology and policy solutions being the way forward.

In terms of tourism, Gatlabayan says more ecotourism programmes, minimising food buying and promoting responsible purchasing will help to paint a greener future. Other strategies such as strengthening links between industries, such as tourism and agriculture or transport, have also proved beneficial both financially and environmentally.

The event is the first of a series of green-related events hosted by EuroCham. For more information on upcoming events, visit www.eurocham-cambodia.org

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