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Regional grants target biodiversity

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The Srepok River flows through northeastern Cambodia.

Cambodia to receive eight grants to help preserve river ecosystems and endangered fauna.

CAMBODIAN groups are among several organisations around the region slated to receive more than US$2 million in grants aimed at conserving threatened biodiversity.

The money will come from the Indochina-based section of the internationally funded Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which calls the region one of the most threatened biodiversity hot spots in the world.

“Freshwater habitats are particularly threatened in Indochina, so we’re very happy to have already funded local organisations,” John Pilgrim, a manager with NGO Birdlife International, said in a press release. The NGO is responsible for implementing CEPF grants in the region.

The fund approved 19 grants out of 166 applications received from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Of these, Cambodia received eight.

One of the grants, worth just under $20,000, will go to the local 3S Rivers Protection Network, which will use the funds to raise local awareness about the potential impact of dams on the Srepok, Sesan and Sekong rivers in northeastern Cambodia.

Other Cambodian grants are aimed at conserving threatened species in the country.

According to CEPF, only 5 percent of the region’s natural habitats remain in “relatively pristine condition”. The group sees poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation as closely linked, as a large portion of the rural population is dependent on natural resources.

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