The Ministry of Environment signed an agreement with the NGO Wildlife Alliance on “Environmental Cooperation” for the REDD+ Samkos project at Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in order to support the sustainability of wildlife sanctuary management and improve the livelihoods of the communities living in that area.
REDD+ is a UN-backed framework aimed at curbing climate change by stopping the destruction of forests.
The signing ceremony was held in in Phnom Penh and presided over by ministry secretary of state Sao Sopheap and Wildlife Alliance country director John Willis.
Sopheap said that prior to the signing, Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary has not had any partners to cooperate with in protecting its natural resource and biodiversity.
“Today, we have Wildlife Alliance who have volunteered to partner with the environment ministry to jointly protect and conserve the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary through a REDD+ project based on voluntary carbon standards,” he said.
Sopheap said the main purpose of the REDD+ Samkos project was to contribute to the mitigation of global climate change by supporting the sustainability of wildlife sanctuary management and improving the livelihoods of communities living in and adjacent to the project area as this would help ensure the preservation of the forest there.
He said this work would be achieved through direct cooperation with communities to implement the conservation-friendly agricultural activities and create opportunities and options for the local community so they can avoid putting pressure on natural resources.
He noted that the cooperation has specific goals and objectives in accordance with the laws and regulations in force and the budget capacity to carry them out in the Kingdom. They will focus on core activities such as reducing illegal logging, hunting and trafficking of wildlife species in the protected areas through effective patrolling and law enforcement interventions.
According to Sopheap, this cooperation will create a new REDD+ project in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary that can create and register Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB) credits which can be sold to international buyers such as businesses as a means of offsetting their own emissions.
With this agreement, Wildlife Alliance will give advice about the technical support to the ministry in market promotion and the selling of carbon credits within the UN’s REDD+ framework.
This cooperation also ensures the livelihoods of local communities that depend on natural resources in protected areas through community-based natural resource management. This cooperation will be defined by land-use maps in and around protected areas and through land-use planning methods and it will contribute to the security of the boundaries of protected areas.
“I sincerely hope that today’s partnership will be as successful as the implementation of the REDD+ projects at the South Cardamom National Park and Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary,” Sopheap said.