PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, June 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment announces the adoption of the Environment and Natural Resources Code (ENRC), a pioneering legislation that propels the country into a leadership position in regional environmental protection and climate action. This milestone embodies Cambodia’s remarkable journey from a war-torn nation to a beacon of environmental progress, amplified by its rapid economic growth. Similar to cornerstones of international laws such as the US’s National Environmental Policy Act and Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the ENRC heralds a promising era of sustainability for the Kingdom.
The ENRC reflects Cambodia’s commitment to building a future grounded in ecological diversity, health, and prosperity. It addresses a wide range of environmental issues, including environmental impact assessments, pollution control, protected areas, forest and biodiversity conservation, land use planning and management, hazardous waste management, water resources management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. In terms of managing and protecting protected areas, it highlights key subject matters such as cultural heritage, sustainable water resources management, forestry and fishery management, and mines and energy management.
Through education, dissemination, and training, the ENRC promotes environmental awareness and research. This fosters a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities in preserving Cambodia’s environment and natural resources.
Prime Minister Hun Sen stated, ‘Once known for war and genocide, today’s Cambodia pioneers environmental protection and climate resilience. The ENRC and our initiative with the ASEAN Green Deal are living testaments to our profound transformation. We’ve overcome our troubled past and led the path toward a sustainable future today. This is our commitment to our people, our region, and indeed, to the entire world. We are no longer an agriculture-based economy, but a diversified economy with a growing middle class. This is thanks to peace and stability, which have provided the foundation for economic growth and development. The SEA Games that occurred last month testify to our development and the increase in our economic stability.’
Minister of Environment Say Sam Al added, ‘The enactment of the ENRC marks a pivotal turn in our journey from a challenging past to a promising, prosperous future. This milestone highlights our steadfast commitment to preserving Cambodia’s exceptional natural resources and confronting the challenge of climate change. Born out of comprehensive collaboration, the ENRC represents more than just a policy – it embodies a collective call to action. Alongside our rapid economic growth, we are united in our quest for a greener and more sustainable future. Together, we are turning over a new leaf, ushering in a fresh era of environmental responsibility for Cambodia.’
During its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022, Cambodia introduced the ASEAN Green Deal, a regional framework aimed at achieving a carbon-neutral ASEAN by 2050 that promotes renewable energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, protects biodiversity, and promotes sustainable agriculture and forestry practices. With the adoption of the ENRC, Cambodia reinforces its leadership role within ASEAN and supports its implementation. The ENRC also bolsters Cambodia’s commitment to its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, highlighting the nation’s dedication to battling climate change.
Cambodia is a shining example of how economic development and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand. The country has successfully transitioned from an agriculture-based economy to a diversified economy, leading to a rise in the middle class. Cambodia’s example inspires countries worldwide to integrate progress with environmental sustainability, forging a peaceful, more inclusive, resilient, and prosperous future for all.
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