UNDP, GEF Launch Sustainable Forest Management Project in Cambodia
30 May 2011: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) launched a sustainable forest management project in Cambodia, which aims to promote forest conservation, benefit the rural poor, and contribute to climate change mitigation.
Currently, Cambodian forests face a number of threats, including logging, clearance for agriculture, weak forest governance, and a lack of alternative energy sources. It is estimated that non-timber forest products contribute over 30% of total household livelihood of the rural people living near the forests. Although Cambodia's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are low, the country is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its low capacity to adapt.
The project will be implemented in four provinces – Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang – which have significant biodiversity and are major carbon reserves. It will be implemented by Cambodia's Forestry Administration, and is funded by grants of US$2,363,635 from the GEF and US$1,500,000 from UNDP.
The project will promote community forestry activities, nature conservation and the creation of markets for sustainable bioenergy technologies through decentralized forest management. As part of the project, the Government is committing to establish two million hectares of community forestry sites across the country by 2029.
Sophie Barane, UNDP Cambodia's Deputy Country Director for Progamme, noted that "amid the increasing impact of climate change and the loss of biodiversity, the UN General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable forest management." [UNDP Cambodia Press Release]