ESCAP Helps Cambodia to Embrace Green Policies

1-4 October Seminar Part of a Series for Asia-Pacific Countries

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is holding a seminar to help Cambodia to adopt development policies which protect the environment without limiting economic growth.

The seminar, which takes place from 1 to 4 October in Sihanoukville, is attended by senior policymakers including Mok Mareth, Senior Minister of Environment, and Say Hak, Governor of Sihanoukville. Christer Holtsberg, Director of the Swedish Environment Secretariat for Asia (SENSA) of the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, is also attending.

The workshop provides tools and approaches for the government to introduce green tax and budget reforms which take into account environmental costs, develop sustainable infrastructure such as public transport, promote cleaner production and more sustainable consumption patterns, and develop eco-efficiency indicators.

All these policy measures are parts of the Green Growth approach promoted by UNESCAP. The rapid economic growth in Asia-Pacific has come at a high environmental price. The Green Growth approach points to the fact that economic growth and environmental protection need not be mutually exclusive; what is required is a paradigm shift, with governments moving away from the current “grow first, clean up later” mentality.

The seminar in Cambodia is the second in a series of five aimed at help countries in the Asia-Pacific region which have requested assistance in designing and implementing Green Growth policies. The first took place in Kazakhstan. These countries have acknowledged that the current focus on measuring development in terms of GDP growth is not enough, and there is a critical need to change the mindset and to embrace measures which take quality of life and well-being into consideration.