With funding support from ADB, the Ministry of Environment is taking a lead with support from key government institution and NGO partners to register the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary which is called public state land to be private state land under management of Ministry of Environment. It is a pilot project to improve better management of protected areas.
WWF is facilitating and supporting the management of PPWS and SWS. The PPWS zoning was approved and signed by the sub-decree, while its Management Plan is in a final draft and will be submitted to Minister of MOE for approval. At the same time with funds from the DARWIN project, WWF supports SWS zoning and SWS Management Plan. Both zoning and Management plans are in final draft stages after the several consultations with key stakeholders.
Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Mondulkiri provincial government, WWF was instrumental in relocating a Social Land Concession (SLC) that was approved and to be located within Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) outside the Protected Area.
WWF also actively engaged the MoE to take action to address the impact of mining in both the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries and electricity powerline across PPWS. In SWS, the exploration of Angkor Gold Mining Company is under the strict control of the MoE, and WWF is concerned about plans to carry out deeper exploration because it would directly affect part of the SWS draft core zone. WWF is closely monitoring the situation.
An illegal marble mining activity in SWS was forced out of the area. However, the Chinese marble mining company has not given up the site and has tried to obtain a mining license from the government. WWF has organized a few meetings with the Minister of Environment to highlight the situation and has issued a call for an immediate cessation to the endorsement of any mining proposals in SWS.
On the downside, despite active advocacy by WWF, the MoE has approved an Environmental Impact Assessment with Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) in respect of the Okvao gold mine project in PPWS. WWF has mobilized others NGO partners raise collective concerns to the government, as well as to call for a stop to the de-zoning process in PPWS which would open the way for mining companies to extract gold in the current conservation zone: under the Protected Areas law, mining in such a zone is not allowed.