The Environment Ministry in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) yesterday launched a $5 million, five-year plan to mitigate the effects of climate change on rural communities in four Cambodian provinces.
The Life and Nature project will see $5.2 million pumped into watershed management projects designed to achieve food security in the provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear and Ratanakkiri.
The projects are intended to cover 60,000 hectares of land and assist more than 10,000 people.
FAO chief technical adviser Dr Stacy Crevello yesterday said Cambodia is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with food security problems likely to worsen in the future.
“Climate change will reduce agricultural products and cause negative effects to the livelihoods of vulnerable groups.
Most women in rural areas depend on crop collection for food in the household, and nominal wages for living,” she said.
According to Environment Ministry deputy director general Kim Nong, the scheme is intended to cater to the needs of impoverished people better than previous unsuccessful initiatives, such as a multimillion dollar attempt to address poverty among people living around Tonle Sap lake.
“After that project ended, poor communities remained poor, clearly showing that the project did not respond to the requests or needs among those communities,” he said.
The executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, Tek Vannara, echoed Nong’s expectation that the new project would be superior to those of the past.
“Previous projects have only been implemented on the national level, with no direct training for local communities,” Vannara said.