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CAMBODIA: Campaigners demand world leaders to keep promises on global climate fund

Phnom Penh—Over three hundred campaigners gathered in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, to call on world leaders to put money on the table, as international climate talks opened today in Cancun, Mexico. Climate finance is a priority for developing countries in the global negotiations because it is vital to their capacity to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and embark on a low-carbon development pathway.

At Copenhagen last year, there was limited progress made on the scale of long-term finance. Rich country governments pledged to deliver $30 billion by 2012 to help developing countries adapt to climate change and curb their emissions. But the pace of delivering the money is very slow. Leaked EU documents, for example, show that Europe will in fact fail to meet its overall pledges by €200 million in 2010 and €357 million over the whole period 2010-2012.

―In Cancun, rich countries must be honest about this money, said Boonny Tep, representative of the National Climate Change Network, a group of 52 civil societies that organized the event. ―They must not massage numbers in order to wriggle out of their commitments. They must deliver their past pledges and commit new and additional money.

It is clear that a significant amount of the $30 billion promised is not new and additional to existing targets for development aid. But a UN report released in November shows that $100 billion can be reached without imposing higher taxes on people or raiding funds already promised for development finance.

As world leaders are negotiating a global deal, climate change is already devastating people’s lives, wiping out crops and making it harder for the poorest people, especially women, to provide food for their families. Women farmers who joined today’s event have many stories to share with Heads of State who are deciding the future of their planet.

Phallin Ry, a farmer from central Cambodia, who joined hundreds of campaigners in the event, said she grows rice and vegetables just to feed her families. Last year her rice, the most important food crop, was completely devastated by floods brought by a Typhoon she had never experienced. ―After Typhoon Ketsana destroyed my crops last year, I started growing potatoes, she said. ―I grew them four times, but they kept dying. The soil was so dry after the big flood and the temperature was oddly hot.

People throughout the developing world are struggling to fight climate change. Some managed to take innovative, life-saving measures – like growing drought-resistant crops. These people need adequate resources and world leaders must deliver what they’ve promised – a new global climate fund. If set up properly, the climate fund – a vital way of delivering cash to help poor communities avoid the worst effects of climate change – could deliver billions to those who need it most, such as Phallin.

For more information, contact:
Soleak Seang, Communications Officer, Oxfam in Cambodia, (+855) 12 356 389 or sseang@oxfamamerica.org

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