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Institute of Technology of Cambodia and the Ministry of Environment jointly hosted a dissemination workshop titled “The Impact of Heat Stress on Human Productivity and Economy in Cambodia”

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) convened a dissemination workshop titled “The Impact of Heat Stress on Human Productivity and Economy in Cambodia” at the Sun & Moon Riverside Hotel in Phnom Penh. Representatives from six key ministries – Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), Economy and Finance (MEF), Industrial Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT), and Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) – alongside NGOs and private sector participants, gathered to learn about the research findings and engage in the discussion.

Funded by the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance Phase 3 (CCCA3), the 3.5-year project, led by ITC and MoE in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), and MoEYS’s curriculum development department, focused on heat stress in the education, garment, and construction sectors. The HSC project has consistently disseminated knowledge through two annual workshops, conferences, and events, with research findings published in academic journals and two master’s students graduating under its research topic.

Heat exposure during working hours significantly impaired work productivity and capacity in Cambodia, causing a total economy-wide output loss of US$2,638 million in 2018. By 2035, this loss is estimated to increase by US$634 million, a 24% rise compared to 2018 (Natalia Borzinoad et al., 2023).

Enhancing resilience against heat stress requires building-centric measures. This includes promoting heat acclimatization, providing information and training on adapting to changing seasons’ heat impacts, and ensuring thermometer availability for monitoring indoor and outdoor temperatures. In indoor settings, access to cool drinking water, appropriate uniforms for better ventilation, and official break times are crucial. Outdoors, similar measures apply, with portable shading during breaks and scheduled official breaks (5-15 minutes) every 45-90 minutes. These simple yet effective strategies contribute to individual well-being, mitigating the adverse effects of heat stress in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Recognizing climate change as a significant threat to economic stability, the project emphasizes its role in exacerbating the negative impact and severity of heat stress. Economic losses will be felt at multiple levels, affecting individual workers, their families, businesses, and entire communities.

In conclusion, the HSC project paves the way for continued research on heat stress in Cambodia, while ITC stands ready to collaborate with relevant ministries to prevent economic losses resulting from the adverse heat impact due to climate change. Future research efforts hold promising potential for mitigating these challenges and promoting a more resilient Cambodia.

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