Community Management Committees (CMCs) are community groups that have been established to become the caretakers of Integrated Farming & Biodiversity Areas (BFCAs). Four committees have been formed, with six members in each committee, representing between one and three villages. The villages represented are villages that are considered main user villages of the BFCAs, with members elected from each of the villages in question.
The CMCs have several responsibilities. The CMCs work closely with the Executive Secretariat (essentially the IFBA project team, supported by WCS) who are currently involved in daily management of the BFCAs, and who report to a commission group composed of representatives from relevant government offices (currently at provincial level). In the future it is the hope that district level commissions can be set up and the CMCs will coordinate with them directly.
The CMCs monitor the situation in the BFCAs, work towards reducing illegal activities through collaboration with local authorities, conduct awareness-raising activities among their community, facilitate relations between the community and project and government stakeholders, and will soon be involved in preparing a management plan for the BFCAs.
We are also working towards making the CMCs financially sustainable. We have initiated an ecotourism initiative, together with the Sam Veasna Center (SVC), who are specialized in arranging birdwatching tours. Under this initiative, SVC uses members from the CMCs as local guides, so that they can generate income, both for themselves and for the CMC's operating budget. SVC pays a $10 contribution per tourist to a community fund whenever tourists see the Bengal Florican during their visits to the BFCAs.