21 June 2024 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia - The 9th Cambodia National Monsoon Forum was successfully convened in Phnom Penh, marking the revival of this critical seasonal forecast-based planning mechanism after a five-year break. Led by Her Excellency Dr. Seth Vannareth, the forum brought together 50 participants from various national agencies, international development partners, and relevant sectors.


Originally launched in January 2011, the Monsoon Forum aims to enhance resource and risk management in sectors such as agriculture, irrigation, health, and disaster management through the application of climate and weather forecasts. The 9th Forum was supported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) under the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) project, in collaboration with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM).


“As Cambodia's development progresses, climate change needs and anticipation of natural phenomena and natural disasters are essential for planning based on the context of climate change resilience,” said Dr. Vannareth as she opened the Forum. 


Her Excellency Dr. Seth Vannareth delivers the opening message during the 9th Cambodia National Monsoon Forum 
Her Excellency Dr. Seth Vannareth delivers the opening message during the 9th Cambodia National Monsoon Forum

The participants were composed of representatives from key national agencies including the Department of Meteorology (DOM), the Department of Hydrology and River Works (DHRW), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), as well as international partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision, Action Aid, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). 


The morning session featured presentations on weather and climate trends in Cambodia which highlighted the various meteorological and hydrological products and services offered by DOM and DHRW. The Forum also reviewed the 2023-2024 post-monsoon season wherein DOM and DHRW shared their insights into observed weather patterns and flood conditions, comparing them to the initial forecast; and an in-depth discussion on sector-specific impacts and strategies as the participants shared their experiences during the 2023 monsoon season. 


Looking forward, the activity tackled the seasonal climate outlook for June to August 2024 followed by a participative activity where participants developed a risk matrix to identify potential impacts based on the 2024 seasonal outlook. 


“By sharing successes and challenges, we aim to refine national hydromet services, ensuring forecasts are accurate, actionable, and accessible to all stakeholders. RIMES remains a steadfast partner in bridging the gap between scientific forecasting and practical application, enabling more effective responses to climate-related hazards,” expressed Peter Khalil Ferrer, RIMES Project Officer and Capacity Development Specialist.


Plans are underway for the next Monsoon Forum, scheduled for November 2024, to continue building on the discussions and strategies formulated during this event.


This revival of the National Monsoon Forum marks a significant step towards enhancing climate resilience and preparedness in Cambodia, ensuring that the nation is better equipped to manage the challenges posed by seasonal weather patterns. (30)