Cambodia kicked off its first National Forum on Climate Change in Phnom Penh on Oct. 19, aiming to raise awareness on the issue, especially its effect on socio-economic development.

During the course of three days, participants are scheduled to discuss a range of major issues, including how to mitigate the impact of climate change, as well as experiences and solutions to cope with environmental pollution in Cambodia.

Opening the event, sponsored by the UN Development Programme and other international organisations, PM Hun Sen said the forum is a new turning point in Cambodia’s development strategy. It aims to share experience with other nations in formulating national policies in response to global climate change, he said.

The PM called on other nations to transfer “clean technology” to Cambodia and provide funding for sustainable development projects in his country.

Dr. Pham Manh Cuong, a representative from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and a technical advisor from the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD), presented a report regarding prospects and challenges in implementing REDD in Vietnam.

Cuong emphasised the importance of sustainable forest management and Vietnam’s national forestry development strategy in the 2006-2010 period with a vision through 2020.

Cambodia is one of the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change as 80 percent of the people are living in the countryside and directly depending on agriculture and on extraction of natural resources for a living./.