Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rural poor in Cambodia at risk from climate change

IRIN: Building local resilience will prove key to better addressing the effects of climate change in Cambodia, this year's Cambodia Human Development Report (CHDR) states. "Local action and local solutions are what is needed most," Tin Ponlok, deputy director-general of climate change for the Cambodian Ministry of Environment, told IRIN. "This is where we can make the most difference."

Released on 30 August, the report, Building Resilience: The Future for Rural Livelihoods in the Face of Climate Change, identifies climate change as a threat to human development gains and a source of increasing vulnerability for Cambodia's poor. About 80 percent of Cambodia's 14 million people live in rural areas, where the vast majority depend on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood.

According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), shorter and more intense rainy seasons, combined with longer and drier seasons, are expected to significantly alter the country's agricultural landscape. Predicted rises in temperature could have devastating effects on the rice crops on which many rural livelihoods rely. Studies in the region suggest rice production, a staple part of the Cambodian diet, could decline significantly with a one degree Celsius rise in temperature, making rice farming unviable for many, the CHDR report says.

"Seasonal practices are now changing and the growing cycle for rice is changing more and more," said Richard Friend, co-author of the report, noting the potential impact this could have on Cambodia's overall rice output....

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