Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - USAID to consult public before next round of Prey Lang funding



USAID to consult public before next round of Prey Lang funding

Members of Prey Lang forest patrol inspect illegally felled lumber in Kampong Thom province in 2014.
Members of Prey Lang forest patrol inspect illegally felled lumber in Kampong Thom province in 2014. Heng Chivoan

USAID to consult public before next round of Prey Lang funding

The next round of USAID funding for protection of the Prey Lang forest will be preceded by a consultation process that environmentalists and experts studying the area are calling crucial.

In a statement released last week, USAID said it is “seeking public comments” before pumping $10 million to $25 million into projects to promote the responsible land management and sustainable development of the protected area.

The largest lowland evergreen forest in Southeast Asia, the area has been long plagued by illegal logging and disputes between villagers and agro-industrial firms.

For some working in the area, USAID money has played an invaluable role in their fight to preserve Prey Lang. But others argue that USAID-funded projects failed to take the needs of local communities into account.

“In the past, the aid didn’t meet the demands of local people,” said Hoeun Sopheap, a representative of the grassroots Prey Lang Community Network. “The community asked for forest management in one area, but USAID-funded groups only work in small community forests protected by the government.”

Instead, the activists say that USAID should bypass NGOs and provide resources directly to the local communities that best know the area and its needs.

Although USAID is under no obligation to modify its plans in accordance with the suggestions submitted, some experts say the call for public comment could lead to important improvements.

“I think it’s great that USAID is soliciting public comments,” said Courtney Work, a researcher focusing on climate change and land use in Cambodia. “There’s no question that some programs they’ve pushed through have had negative side effects. Perhaps these can be avoided with more public participation.”

USAID representatives declined to comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through