Cambodian Minister of Environment interacts with local people from the Community Protected Areas as part of his visit in the Eastern Plains Landscape | WWF

Cambodian Minister of Environment interacts with local people from the Community Protected Areas as part of his visit in the Eastern Plains Landscape

Posted on
23 January 2020

His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment, commits government support to promote community development and help local people realise their plans for development at the local level, contributing to their livelihood improvements.
Koh Nhek district, Mondulkiri Province: On 21 January 2020, His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment, visited Trapeang Thmier outpost situated within the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, and about 100 kilometres from Sen Monorom town, where he met with a total of 300 people including villagers from 18 Community Protected Areas (CPAs) within the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries, members of the provincial governor office and provincial department of environment, rangers with the Ministry of Environment, WWF staff, representatives of donors and community-based project partners. At the meeting, H.E. Samal had the opportunity to hear updates and discuss initiatives involving community-based natural resources management.
“The Royal Government of Cambodia aims to promote better income generation for the local community in addition to the traditional dependence on non-timber forest products through promotion and creation of new livelihoods opportunities especially in sustainable ecotourism and agricultural practices. For example, the community people can be trained to raise and manage husbandry production for supply to local market,” His Excellency Samal said.
His Excellency Svay Sam Eang, Governor of Mondulkiri province, told the meeting that all relevant provincial and local authorities have been actively engaged in partnerships with relevant key stakeholders including local community people, iNGOs, private sector to support community development in Mondulkiri province, including development involving community-based natural resources management. “Mondulkiri province has very high potential for wildlife-watching ecotourism as it is home to many globally endangered species such as banteng, leopard, Asian elephant, gaur, eld’s deer, green peafowl and giant ibis. Therefore, we need to join hands to protect these invaluable natural resources heritage to promote Mondulkiri as global tourist destination, and communities are at the heart of this joint effort.” He said.
In this context, the Ministry of Environment and authorities of Mondulkiri officially provided legal rights of access and management to a total of 14,929 community members (41% are women) for managing 16 CPAs covering 53,114 ha of forest areas, in the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries, for a period of 15 years.
WWF has been supporting and working closely with the Ministry of Environment, provincial authorities, Mondulkiri Provincial Department of Environment and NGO partners in setting-up and empowering the CPAs since 2006 with the objective to effectively reinforce and improve the management of the forests, biodiversity and wildlife conservation in the CPAs, contributing to sustainable community development.
“The communities can develop and implement plans for natural resources management in their communities, and they can also sustainably harvest and process non-timber forest products (NTFPs) as well as initiating wildlife ecotourism involving, for example, community homestay hospitality and guiding tourist to see wildlife in their community areas, to support their livelihoods,” said Mr Seng Teak, WWF Country Director.
With funding support from USAID, European Union and BMZ, WWF works with Community Leal Education Centre (CLEC), My Village Organization (MVi), Oxfam, Cambodia Rural Development Team (CRDT), Cambodia Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD) and Viamo to provide skills building, livelihoods improvement and environmental education, contributing to effective management of CPAs.
Mr Vil Bunthea,​ Chief of Community Network for Nature Resources Conservation, Eastern Region Mekong River, described the engagement of local villagers from CPAs in livelihoods enhancement, which involved environmental education, skills training for sustainable agricultural practices and techniques, for example in producing rice, pepper, vegetables to achieve higher productivity, as well as sustainable techniques for harvesting and processing NTFPs such as honey and bamboo without compromising sustainable access to and management of natural resources in the community areas.
Besides livelihoods activities, CPA members also regularly patrol in cooperation with MoE law enforcement team and local authorities in their respective Community Protected Area. They combat forest crimes and remove snares from the forests in the protected areas. Mr Breoy Khverk, Chief of Trapaing Khaerm CPA, said: “regular patrol inside CPA is important because natural resources are our ‘rice pots’ for all community members, both current and future generations.”
According to Mr Clemens Beckers, Attaché Natural Resources Management – Climate Change with the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Cambodia, the participation of local people, including indigenous communities, in sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation within the protected areas represent an important element of inclusive development, promoting good local governance. “Local communities play an important role as one of the driving forces in protecting forest resources because they live in and adjacent to the CPAs and directly depend on natural resources for their long-term livelihoods,” he said.
At the meeting, His Excellency Samal also recognised and appreciated all of the good results achieved in the past five years by WWF, the donors (BMZ, EU and USAID), and all community-based project partners. The Minister also encouraged all provincial authorities to closely cooperate with the Ministry of Environment, development partners and relevant stakeholders to support members of the local community in realising community development projects and protecting biodiversity and natural resources in the Eastern Plains.
For further information, please contact:
Mr TEP Asnarith
Head of communications, advocacy, knowledge management
WWF in Cambodia
Notes to the Editor:
  • WWF works with the Ministry of Environment, provincial and local authorities in Mondulkiri and forest-dependent communities to support protected areas management of the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries totalling a forest landscape of 600,000 ha. With funding support from WWF-Belgium, WWF-US, USAID, WWF-Sweden, WWF-Germany, BMZ, EU through WWF International as well as in cooperation with CAMPAS project, the work involves wildlife protection and research, law enforcement including enhanced capacity of authorities in law enforcement within and outside protected areas, strengthening capacity of the communities in sustainable natural resources management within the protected landscape, as well as contributing to improved environmental awareness and natural resources governance in Mondulkiri province.
  • Since 2006, WWF has been working with the government and NGO partners to set-up and empower the CPAs by facilitating the development of CPAs structure and criteria; supporting the assessment of natural resources in the CPAs and their demarcations; supporting the development of natural resource management plans; providing necessary capacity building and tools for effective natural resource management including taking part in combatting natural resource-related crimes; providing livelihoods development support including agricultural and NTFPs productions; and giving small grant to each CPA for implementing their natural resource management plans. WWF has also been implementing a series of environmental education, livelihoods and community enterprise projects in partnership with Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), My Village Organization (MVi), and Oxfam, and the ACCESS project.