UNICEF partners with China to pilot climate-resilient WASH technologies in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH/BEIJING, 29 August – Delegates from the People's Republic of China, UNICEF Cambodia and UNICEF China today started a three-day field visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia to conduct a feasibility study for piloting climate-resilient water and sanitation (WASH) technologies and solutions in Cambodia.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) in China, UNICEF is developing a comprehensive WASH technology programme featuring innovative China-based solutions that are climate-resilient and energy-saving. The feasibility study mission to Cambodia aims to leverage Chinese expertise on solar-powered water supplies, water purification and fecal sludge treatment in urban and rural areas to help identify gaps in technology and infrastructure.
“Climate change is a child rights crisis. The Children’s Climate Risk Index ranks Cambodia in the top third of nations facing high risks to the impacts of climate change. Children are highly exposed to water scarcity, riverine flooding, and vector-borne diseases, among other climate and environmental shocks and stresses,” said UNICEF Representative to Cambodia Dr Will Parks. “We are grateful to the People's Republic of China and UNICEF China for their support in implementing innovative, climate-resilient responses that build sustainable environments for the most vulnerable communities.”
In Cambodia, one in four people in rural areas still lack access to improved water sources and improved sanitation, presenting risks to public health, hindering development and resulting in water resource contamination risks. WASH services are extremely vulnerable to seasonal climate variations, with rural populations experiencing a 22 per cent decrease in accessing water from wet to dry season, compared to only 2 per cent in urban settings.
“UNICEF China is working closely with our partners to promote international cooperation on children’s rights and the Sustainable Development Goals,” Acting UNICEF Representative to China Nenad Radonjic said. “This collaboration between Cambodia and China is a good example of how we can act as a facilitator for knowledge exchange and technical cooperation in the sector of WASH, climate and the environment, to help address common and critical challenges facing children globally.”
It is estimated that over a quarter of the population of Cambodia is affected by challenging sanitation environments, living in areas affected by floods, high groundwater and face other barriers to effective sanitation, including proper management of fecal sludge.
The delegates from China will be joined by representatives from UNICEF Cambodia and Cambodian government counterparts from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation (MISTI), Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), and Cambodia National Mekong Committee (CNMC), for a consultation workshop in Phnom Penh followed by a visit to a ground solar power plant project and a UNICEF-supported small-scale decentralized wastewater treatment system in Takeo province and a fecal sludge treatment plant on the outskirts of the capital.
The next steps will involve mobilizing needed resources, expertise and partnerships to deliver and scale up the project. The Cambodia-China Climate-Resilient WASH Cooperation Project is part of the South-South Cooperation Programme between the two countries and UNICEF.
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