March 15, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Cambodia has now formally implemented a new National Cooling Action Plan, with a UN official describing the plan as an important step in developing a framework that will respond to the Kingdom’s growing energy needs in a sustainable manner.
The plan was launched on March 9 with support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The action plan seeks to reduce cooling demand, strengthen the access to cooling services like cold storage for food and medicine, improve the energy efficiency of appliances and encourage the use of low global warming potential refrigerants.
Alissar Chaker, resident representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said the launch is crucial if the Kingdom is to match its needs for cooling with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Access to cooling is important for human health and productivity. With a tropical climate, increasing temperatures and population – and also with a rise in other energy demands – Cambodia must place sustainable cooling at the heart of its development and climate agenda,” she said.
Chaker emphasised that it is important for Cambodia to look at managing its energy needs by optimising the efficiency of air-conditioned spaces and refrigerators while also incorporating passive design strategies for buildings and urban landscapes. The action plan is an important way to mitigate the climate and economic impacts of increased demand for cooling.
“The UN in Cambodia will continue to work with the Cambodian government, the private sector and other stakeholders to ensure that the national cooling action plan is implemented, sustainable and at the centre of the Kingdom’s development and climate agenda,” she said.
Dechen Tsering, UNEP regional director and representative for Asia and the Pacific, said that until all people paid attention to reversing current weather trends, they cannot go about cooling the planet with the usual business approach.
“As Cambodia’s demand for cooling grows, it provides an important opportunity to adopt a new pathway on cooling, showing the possibilities and potential of a system-wide approach to cooling that is equitable, efficient, and climate-friendly,” he added.
Pak Sokharavuth, secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment, said on March 10 that the plan reflects the Kingdom’s vulnerability to climate change.
“Cambodia is committed to becoming a leading country in taking action to fight climate change,” he said.
He explained that the action plan was prepared in line with current reports on the Kingdom’s implementation of the updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
“This demonstrates the Kingdom’s commitment to sustainable development and to achieving the vision of a low-carbon society which is resilient to climate change,” he said.
“Temperature increases are one of the major effects of climate change. UN agencies consider Cambodia to be one of the most vulnerable countries to rising temperatures, and we know it will have a negative impact on the health and productivity of the people,” he said.
“The detrimental impacts of climate change on the Kingdom’s economic wellbeing mean the action plan is crucial to the further development of Cambodia,” he added.