Representatives from the ministries of Environment; Education, Youth and Sport; Information, and Tourism joined USAID on Tuesday in launching the “Prey Lang Forest Protection Social and Behaviour Change” programme to protect forests and wild animals in Cambodia.
A USAID press release said recognising the importance of forest landscapes, the biodiversity they contain and the livelihoods they sustain, it and key government officials agreed to work together to enhance public involvement in forest and wildlife protection.
USAID Cambodia mission director Veena Reddy said the launch underscored its continued commitment to Cambodia’s biodiversity.
“We hope increased awareness will encourage even more people to protect their natural heritage,” she said.
USAID said the campaign is a joint effort between USAID Cambodia Green Future and USAID Greening Prey Lang (GPL) to preserve Prey Lang’s extended landscape.
“The campaign is meant to raise awareness among the public throughout the Kingdom about the critical function of the ecosystem service provided by the Prey Lang forest and its unique biodiversity.
“We also wish to promote a positive change in behaviour and action that strengthens biodiversity conservation and forest protection,” the press release said.
Ministry of Environment secretary of state Sao Sopheap who presided over the launch said the ministry believes the programme complements the government’s commitment to sustainably manage forests and biodiversity as required under the Constitution and the Law on Environment Protection and Natural Resources Management.
“We see the Prey Lang Forest Protection Social and Behavior Change Communication campaign as augmenting our efforts to achieve a meaningful change in attitudes and promote positive action towards forest protection and biodiversity conservation in the country.
“I strongly hope and believe that this project will help inform, educate and engage Cambodians about Prey Lang, and what we must all do to protect our beautiful environment,” he said.
Sopheap said the government issued a sub-decree in 2015 to give the mandate of managing conservation areas to the ministry.
As a result, the ministry has included 66 protected areas, covering 7.25 million hectares, equivalent to 40 per cent of the country’s land area as of May 20.