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Cambodia, a people raised from the ashes, calls for nation-building to save the one place we call home

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

In the face of armed conflicts the world over, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, speaks on behalf of a nation that has risen from the ashes of unspeakable strife: “Cambodia weeps for the multitudes who are suffering. We cannot choose war to end war. We must remain steadfast in our efforts to grow and to strive for a better future.”

“A better future dwells in a healthy environment. Climate change is at the heart of the only battle that must be fought and won,” says Say Samal, Minister of the Environment for Cambodia. Nation-building and the fight against global warming are arduous tasks and they must advance in tandem. “Cambodia has tilled a soil darkened with the blood of countless innocents to become an economic flag bearer in Southeast Asia. In peace we have found prosperity and in prosperity we have found the resolve to tackle climate change, the one foe that threatens us all.”

Cambodia reached “lower middle-income” status in 2015 and in spite of slowdowns brought about by the pandemic, the nation is on track to reach “middle-income” status in the coming decade. Average annual growth exceeded 7 percent between 1998 and 2019 and as economic recovery from the pandemic gets underway, Cambodia expects to soon regain its status as one of the more rapidly growing economies on the planet. The World Bank notes that “Cambodia has made considerable strides in improving maternal and child health, early childhood development, and primary education in rural areas.” These strides are built on peace and on sound economic planning – the foundations of sustainable growth.

The pandemic has reminded us of the need to be more resilient, and how increasingly fragile our environment is to become without stewardship. The global health challenge is immense, and it will continue to affect growth for some time, but few have been heard to say that it is insurmountable. “A vibrant and sustainable economy is the cornerstone upon which we will continue to build and to strive for a healthy environment” says Minister Samal. “More than 70 percent of main household earners in Cambodia have weathered the storm and have remained employed. This number will rise as we recover and as we pursue the nation-building that will contribute to our efforts to save the one place we call home.”

Cambodia has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent of business-as-usual levels by 2030, and to work to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. “A concerted campaign against the ravages of climate change has the potential to increase Cambodia’s GDP by nearly 3 percent annually and to create nearly half a million green jobs by the middle of the century” says Minister Samal. “Climate change is not an imaginary enemy. This is the one fight that must and will bring us together.”

Media Contact: Neth Pheaktra, Secretary of State and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Email:

SOURCE Ministry of Environment, Cambodia