Through Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC), Cambodia has implemented 55 projects worth $21 million, six of which were through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, according to agriculture minister Veng Sakhon.
In a recent Facebook post, the ministry said it had acquired the projects worth more than $2.6 million to solve problems of deteriorating soil quality and raising the living standards of local communities.
Sakhon said the projects included forest restoration and promoting sustainable forest use in Asia, combatting illegal fisheries along the Mekong River and contributing to sustainable forest management in the Mekong-Lancang region.
“The main activities of these projects are the preparation of regional-level meetings, training and exchanges between member countries. But the Covid-19 crisis has hindered some of the projects,” he said.
As for project implementation this year, he said there was a special fund in 2020 for a project on capacity building of member countries along the Mekong River to protect dolphins and biodiversity with more than $400,000 for 2021 to 2022 for further development.
“This project aims to improve member countries’ capabilities to manage and conserve dolphins and biodiversity in a freshwater environment. The project builds the capability of officials and strengthens cooperation on sharing knowledge, experiences and information on conservation implementation,” Sakhon said.
Prum Somany, director of the agriculture ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, told The Post on July 25 that during the pandemic, some projects had been delayed. However, he said the ministry has planned to re-implement some projects pending funds from the Chinese side through Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“Funds have not been released ... due to Covid-19. We cannot do anything yet. But while our side waits for funds, the working group can still work on certain projects, such as the project to conserve freshwater dolphins,” he said.
Prum Somany added that cooperation in the Mekong-Lancan framework has contributed to socio-economic development in member countries – China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.