Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protected areas seen as way to help poor

Protected areas seen as way to help poor

Protected areas seen as way to help poor

Areport on protected areas in the Lower Mekong region has recommended the country

manage its protected areas under a single system and integrate them into the national

poverty reduction strategy (NPRS).

The report, which was sponsored by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), found that

protected areas are becoming increasingly important in the economic development of

sectors such as tourism, energy, water resource management and agriculture.

It recommended setting up conservation trust funds at the local and national level,

and implementing a user-pay principle to tax industries that benefit from natural

services.

It remains to be seen whether the government will adopt the proposal. The review,

which was finished in March, will be sent to ministries and project partners such

as the Asian Development Bank and Mekong River Commission this month. Similar reviews

are underway in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

The NPRS, which is a $1.5 billion effort to combat poverty, was approved by the National

Assembly earlier this year, but makes only general recommendations about how to meet

economic goals while offering ecological safeguards.

Russell Peterson, who heads NGO Forum, said the NPRS had room for revision.

"The government has said the NPRS is a rolling strategy," he said. "Any

new input such as the IUCN report should be able to be inserted into its poverty

plans."

IUCN's coordinator, Mao Kosal, said many of the initiatives envisioned in its report

were not detailed, but would be fleshed out over the coming months. At least nine

ministries ranging from industry to environment are engaged in discussions aimed

at protecting threatened areas.

Kosal said he had submitted the report to the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Ministry

of Economy and Finance, and was awaiting a reply.

The MoE said it had already adopted sustainable development and decentralization

programs - central elements of the IUCN plan - in its conservation strategy. Meng

Monyrak, the MoE's deputy head of national parks and wildlife sanctuary office, said

sustainable development methods were being tested.

The MoE has handed over ten protected sites this year as demonstration projects for

community management. Monyrak said the idea was to alleviate poverty while ensuring

local communities guarded their natural resources. If it proved successful, he said,

more reserves could be introduced.

"This is a policy of poverty reduction and giving power to the community,"

he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four