Cambodia Asbestos Ban by 2025!
Last week in Phnom Penh, officials from the Cambodian Government confirmed plans to end asbestos use by 2025 at a high-profile workshop organized by the Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) and Australias Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA). Participating in the meeting were representatives of 11 Ministries, employer organizations, trade unions and civil society groups. International as well as Cambodian speakers explored the need for mandatory protocols to protect workers and members of the public from potentially deadly exposures to toxic products such as asbestos-cement roofing material which has been widely used throughout the country.
Kicking off the agenda Dr Huy Hansong, Secretary of State of the MOLVT, highlighted the need for a coordinated platform providing clear guidelines to deal with the multi-faceted and complex challenges posed by historic asbestos use in Cambodia. If we do not have regulations, Hansong warned, we cannot do anything. Support from government and commercial stakeholders was essential not only in designing effective safeguards but also in ensuring that the regulations implemented were followed. The asbestos ban was, the speaker concluded, a major step in protecting workers from avoidable and deadly hazards.
Australian Deputy Ambassador Andreas Zurbrugg, International Labor Organization Occupational Health and Safety Expert Ariga Yasuo and Justine Ross, CEO of Australias Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency also made presentations and contributed to the discussions which followed.1
Participants in the Workshop from Ministry of Labour and other Ministries, the Australian Embassy, the Australian Governments Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, and Union Aid Abroad APHEDA. Picture provided courtesy of APHEDA.
From the tripartite discussion on the countrys asbestos roadmap which took place during the workshop, it was clear that there was a consensus that the future for Cambodia was asbestos-free.
November 7, 2023
1 Kongnov, T. Workshop stresses need to ban asbestos by 2025. November 2, 2023.