The Fifth Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Preparatory Office of China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center was held in a virtual form on January 16, 2023. More than ten representatives from Cambodia and China attended the meeting, including H.E. Sao Sopheap and H.E. Tin Ponlok, Secretaries of State, H.E Heng Nareth, Under-Secretary of State, and officials from various departments of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of Cambodia; Mr. Sun Xuefeng, Inspector of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of China, Mr. Li Yonghong, Deputy Director General of Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) under MEE, and Prof. Yang Min, Deputy Director General of the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The meeting was chaired by Zhou Jun, Director of the Division of Asian, African and Latin American Affairs, Department of International Cooperation, MEE.
Sao Sopheap, Sun Xuefeng, and Yang Min introduced the progress of their respective work in environmental cooperation between China and Cambodia after delivering speeches. Over the past five years, RCEES has constructed Mekong Water Quality Online Monitoring Station and Water and Environment Analysis Laboratory in cooperation with MOE, and the Drinking Water Quality Analysis Laboratory in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) of Cambodia, which has improved the overall water quality testing capacity of Cambodia. RCEES has also supported MEE to host the side event "Water Science and Technology Cooperation under Climate Change" at the China Pavilion of the 27th Session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties to Climate Change (COP27) on November 15, 2022, and shared the experience of water science and technology cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road including Cambodia.
Pak Sokharavuth, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Environmental Protection of MOE, made positive comments on the achievements of cooperation between China and Cambodia, and expressed his sincere gratitude to China for the long-term support and assistance to environmental protection of Cambodia. He pointed out that during the meeting in November 2022, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed the need to promote traditional friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and push the China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level. Given this, China and Cambodia are expected to break new grounds in environmental cooperation in 2023. Pak Sokharavuth hoped China could provide continuous assistance in water quality monitoring capacity, response to climate change, biodiversity conservation, low-carbon demonstration zones, and waste-free cities, and to ensure the effectiveness of the donated instruments and equipment through personnel training and provision of key consumables. Yang Min said that RCEES would cahhy out comprehensive cooperation with the Cambodian side in environmental standards, biodiversity conservation, and industrial park pollution control, and provide support in the maintenance of donated equipment, training of technical personnel, and construction of China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center in cooperation with MEE. Li Yonghong emphasized in the concluding speech that as the China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center will be officially put into operation in 2023, and the top priorities are to improve the operation mechanism, make the development plan, streamline the needs of cooperation, clarify priority areas of cooperation, establish a stable funding guarantee mechanism, and expand partners to ensure the sustainability of cooperation.
In March 2018, CAS Academician Bai Chunli, the then CAS President, and H.E. Say Samal, the Minister of MOE, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation. In July 2018, MEE Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin signed an MOU on the establishment of China-Cambodia Environment Cooperation Center. In September 2020, RCEES and FECO signed an agreement on all-round cooperation in the preparation of China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center. Since then, RCEES has been invited to the meetings of the Steering Committee of the Preparatory Office of China-Cambodia Environmental Cooperation Center. The year 2023 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia relations and the 5th anniversary of the signing of MOU at the institutional level. RCEES will take advantage of its own strengths to drive environmental cooperation between China and Cambodia to new levels, focusing on the priorities proposed by the Cambodian side.
Speech by Prof. Yang Min, Deputy Director General of RCEES, CAS
Address by Mr. Sun Xuefeng, Inspector of Department of International Cooperation, MEE, China (R2)
H.E. Sao Sopheap (L) , Secretary of State, and H.E Heng Nareth (R), Under-Secretary of State, MOE, Cambodia