The European Union will be funding conservation efforts in Mondulkiri’s Srepok and Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuaries to the tune of $3.3 million over the next five years, according to a press release yesterday.
The project, Advancing CSOs Capacity to Ensure Sustainability Solutions (ACCESS), will be implemented from 2018 to 2022 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and a consortium of other groups. By working with 2,000 households spread across 34 villages within the two adjoining wildlife sanctuaries, the aim of the project is to strengthen so-called Community Protected Areas (CPAs).
A four-year EU-funded project targeting conservation of the same areas came to a close last month with stakeholders, including the WWF, lamenting the total impunity with which forestry crimes occur within protected areas.
Currently, 18 CPAs have been established within Phnom Prich and Srepok, and act as administrative structures by which forest-dwelling villagers can “sustainably manage” the forest. However, the release notes that CPAs “still require official recognition . . . at national level”. The new project aims in part to rectify this.
In an email, WWF-Cambodia Communications Manager Un Chakrey said that funding for each CPA would also be allocated based on performance.
Directors of the provincial Environment Department and both wildlife sanctuaries could not be reached yesterday. The EU did not respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Kong Meta