Cambodia, U.S. sign emissions reduction agreement

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Cambodia and the United States on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on low emissions and climate resilient development in Cambodia, according to a press statement from the U.S. Embassy to Phnom Penh.

The deal was inked between Cambodian Minister of Environment Mok Mareth and Rebecca Black, Mission Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to Cambodia.

The agreement outlined specific areas for cooperation in the agriculture and forestry sectors and strengthening support for a greenhouse gas inventory, climate change capacity building, international coordination for green growth, and integrating climate change adaptation into green growth strategies, the statement said.

Cambodia was the 19th country to sign such deal with the United States, it said. Both countries developed this agreement as a product of President Obama's Global Climate Change Initiative. Other Asian countries partnering with the United States on such agreement included Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.

"We are very excited about forging a new partnership with Cambodia's National Climate Change Committee to promote economic growth activities that minimize greenhouse gas emissions," said Black at the signing ceremony. "Climate change will continue to affect economic growth opportunities in Cambodia and around the world, and this new deal opens the door to identify and support the best practices for green growth."

Mok Mareth expressed his appreciation for the number of U.S. climate change initiatives in Cambodia and urged close cooperation in implementing concrete actions under the agreement, which is effective until Sept. 30, 2018.

Cambodia is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, according to the statement. Over the past 10 years, the country has made significant progress in addressing climate change challenges.

These included important policy and development activities such as the 2013-2030 National Policy and Strategic Development Plan on Green Development, which the Cambodian government launched in March.

"Due to the limited institutional, technical, and financial capacity to adequately address climate change in Cambodia, many challenges remain," it said. "The agreement reaffirms the pivotal role that climate change plays in economic development and lays the framework for future U.S. government programming in the environment sector."

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