The Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Alliance have reaffirmed their commitment to intensify collaborations, working towards bolstering environmental protection through the implementation of a circular strategy.

The declaration followed a meeting on September 26 between environment minister Eang Sophalleth and Wildlife Alliance founder and CEO Suwanna Gauntlett, where they discussed ongoing and future projects.

According to a social media post by the ministry, the meeting focused on the implementation of a circular strategy aimed at ecological conservation, reducing plastic use in schools and factories and distributing over one million trees for public planting. This initiative also seeks to enhance community livelihoods by encouraging regional investment companies to facilitate income generation for the locals.

During the meeting, Sophalleth expressed gratitude towards Wildlife Alliance for their cooperation and partnership with the government. He highlighted the progress made in the initial phase of the policy to advance environmental protection in Cambodia.

“The ministry has been encouraging people to plant fruit crops, rice and cash crops to deter reliance on forest by-products and improve subsistence and livelihoods,” he stated.

In response, Gauntlett expressed her pride in the success achieved thus far stating, “We will continue our partnership with the ministry and participate in supporting this strategy to enhance eco-preservation.”

To further strengthen conservation efforts, Gauntlett highlighted the challenges faced by her organisation and urged the minister to continue to aid in coordinating and campaigning for the enforcement of laws on protected areas.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director at rights group LICADHO, stressed the significance of environmental advocacy in the Kingdom.

“The issues are gaining global attention with a growing focus on climate change. Hence, fostering opportunities for relevant stakeholders to engage in dialogues on [these] matters and collaboratively address issues is essential,” he said.

In its pursuit to effectively safeguard the ecosystem, the ministry noted that it has been progressively modernising institutions, refining administrative systems, enhancing financial management and delegating responsibilities to sub-national administrations. They remain optimistic that these measures will position the country to achieve upper-middle-income status by 2030 and high-income status by 2050.