The Ministry of Environment is working with the World Bank to prepare a Sustainable Landscape and Eco-tourism project to improve the effectiveness of natural resources management, eco-tourism and the value chains of non-timber forest products in targeted provinces.

“The Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism project will be carried out under a World Bank concession loan. It aims to improve protected area management, promote ecotourism opportunities and non-timber forest products and value chains in seven targeted provinces in the Cardamom Mountains-Tonle Sap landscape,” the ministry’s announcement said.

The seven provinces are Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap.

The ministry said the project focused on improving the ability to outline plans and manage landscaped areas and protect natural resources.

It will strengthen opportunities for ecotourism and the value chains of non-timber forest products, increase and link infrastructure systems, and manage, coordinate and assess projects and risk responses.

“In the process of preparing the project, much thought had been given to managing social and environmental safety as this is important to ensure developmental sustainability,” the ministry said.

Four documents for managing social and environmental safety would be updated as part of this project.

They are the framework document on the process of managing social safety; political policy on solving social effects; outline plan for indigenous people; and framework document for managing social and environmental safety.

The framework documents had been examined and discussed twice, and the inputs from the Global Environmental Fund had been included.

The Ministry will make the four documents public so that additional comments may be obtained to ensure its comprehensive preparation to benefit social and environmental safety.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) country director Ken Serey Rotha welcomed the project, saying it would help rural economies where people’s livelihoods depended on forest products.

“Having such a project is the right decision, but we must think further on the mechanisms to prepare and implement it,” he said.