WWF & Mondulkiri provincial government reflect on past conservation outputs
As a supporting partner of the Cambodian Government, WWF works closely with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on twin strategies of 1) improving law enforcement in order to reduce threats to wildlife and natural habitats, and 2) enhancing livelihoods through promoting sustainable economic activity that benefits local communities around Protected Areas of national status. In the EPL, this consists of the Mondulkiri Protected Forest and the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Annual Reflection Workshop provided an important platform and opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders, to explore issues and challenges faced in the conservation of protected areas and in land-use planning, and to address them through candid discussion.
"Participants came to the workshop, presented transparently, and engaged in constructive dialogue. There is a clear will to address issue basis systematically and openly, and certainly WWF will support this process. Our challenge in this regard is the building of new habits and capacities at community and district levels to engage effectively in dialogue. That means being informed, being articulate, and being open to compromise," said Robert Solar, Manager of the Eastern Plains Landscape, WWF-Cambodia.
Besides WWF, MoE and MAFF, stakeholders on the ground extend to various local government departments within Mondulkiri Province, such as the offices of the Provincial Governor, the Provincial Police Office, the Mondulkiri Military Police, the Department of Public Works and Transport, the Department of Industry, Mine and Energy, and the Department of Land Management (PDLMUPC/LT).
Through the workshop, participants from WWF and national and provincial government departments were engaged in teamwork to collectively review past conservation outputs and put together an agreed 'Action Plan' on enhancing cooperation and harmonising each stakeholder's plans and practices.
One of the outcomes of the joint Action Plan would be to form a multi-stakeholder committee that is expected to facilitate consultation and coordination on sector development within the Mondulkiri Protected Forest, such as in agriculture, infrastructure development and mining projects. Other critical tasks that would require joint effort to tackle are addressing ecological risks associated with extraction and mining of minerals, large-scale infrastructure development that can threaten the protected area's integrity such as road construction, and improving boundary demarcation within the core zones of protected areas to prevent and deter encroachment of illegal human activities.