The Environment Ministry is planning to create an alliance of civil and governmental bodies to step up the country’s management of natural resources and encourage conservation in local communities.
During a forum yesterday in Mondolkiri province, the Environment Ministry discussed the possibility of a new national alliance, the Alliance of Natural Resource Conservation Communities, to facilitate the protection and conservation of natural resources.
About 250 ministry, community and civil society officials attended the forum.
Khieu Borin, director-general of the Environment Ministry’s Local Community Department, said that the establishment of the alliance would strengthen management of natural resources, especially by promoting protected areas where communities participate in conservation.
“Committee members of the Alliance of Natural Resource Conservation Communities will have a total of 75 commissions across all protected areas in the country,” Mr Borin said.
He added that in order to ensure a smooth process in the establishment and execution of conservation planning, the ministry has also held discussions with other key local and national stakeholders.
Local communities must cooperate with relevant authorities in order to accomplish the alliance’s conservation goals, he said.
So Khan Rithykun, an undersecretary of state with the Environment Ministry, said that local communities in protected areas must coordinate with the alliance.
“The establishment of local communities in the network has a common purpose to jointly strengthen the protection and conservation of natural resources,” Mr Rithykun said.
Hoeun Sopheap, a Prey Lang Community Network member who attended the forum, said that he would support the alliance’s initiatives.
However, he said that relevant ministers and institutions must continue to actively monitor the actions of those living in protected areas.
“If the alliance is created but they don’t pay attention to the work, I think it’ll be ineffective because community members don’t have the authority to work in accordance with legal procedures,” he said. “It means that if there’s a crime, only government officials have the authority to enforce the law.”