By Mengey Eng
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| March 12, 2018
Mondulkiri (March 13, 2018) – The Ministry of Environment (MoE), Provincial Authorities and WCS provided local communities from 20 villages with Community Development Agreements under Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary’s (KSWS) REDD+ project (Reduced Emissions from avoided Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This agreement will provide them with a large share of the revenue from KSWS’s carbon credit sales for use in implementing their prioritized village development plans, with typical activities including improving access to clean water and providing community meeting buildings.
KSWS, under the international REDD+ approach, is projected to avoid the emission of more than 14 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents over the first 10-year period between 2010-and 2019. In 2016, the Royal Government of Cambodia through the MoE, in partnership with WCS, sold KSWS’s first carbon credits to an American company.
“Now we can use revenue from KSWS’s carbon credit sale to develop our village. We will use it properly based on the agreement,” said Not Nu, Chief of Chak Cha Indigenous Community. “We receive the financial advantages from KSWS’s forests and wildlife protection. Our community members will work harder to safeguard KSWS’s natural resources because it will benefit livelihoods of our next generation if we can secure KSWS’s natural resources.”
KSWS, formerly known as the Seima Protection Forest, is home to more than 60 species of animal and plants on the global Red List that are threatened with extinction, according to the criteria of IUCN, the World Conservation Union. The area is of international importance for the conservation of primates (including the world’s largest known populations of black-shanked douc and globally important populations of southern yellow-cheeked crested gibbons), wild cats, Asian elephants, wild cattle and several rare species of bird, including Cambodia’s national bird, the giant ibis. KSWS is one of many big results that the Royal Government of Cambodia has achieved through partnership with conservation NGOs and other stakeholders to protect Cambodia’s natural resources.
“Local communities have played a very important role in safeguarding KSWS’s forests and biodiversity for many generations. They have sacrificed time and risk lives with MoE’s rangers to combat against illegal logging and poaching activities,” said Ken Sereyrotha, WCS Cambodia’s Country Program Director.
“Participation of local communities and support from government agencies at all levels, especially MoE and provincial authorities as well as donors are very important factor and needed for KSWS’s forests and wildlife resources management. With an active role in conserving forests and wildlife in KSWS, those local communities deserve credit. Carbon credit sales are among the important actions undertaken by MoE and WCS, and create a sustainable financial mechanism to conserve natural resources and improve livelihoods of local communities in KSWS,” he added.
The credits being sold are traded on the voluntary carbon market, which enables companies, organizations and individuals to pay for a range of actions that reduce carbon emissions. In Keo Seima, the number and quality of the credits is being verified against two leading audit systems - the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBA).
“This agreement is to boost KSWS’s forests and wildlife protection as well as improving the livelihoods of local communities living around KSWS. Now they can use funds from carbon credit sales to develop their villages, such as developing infrastructure, digging wells or running community enterprises. The MoE and WCS are working closely with them to ensure the protection of KSWS’s forests and wildlife in alignment with REDD+ goals and strategy as well as the Royal Government’s policy and strategy in their fifth term,” said H.E. So Khornrithykun, MoE’s Under Secretary of State.