Conservation International (CI) in Cambodia says 23 out of 24 target villages in three provinces of the Cardamom Mountain range have agreed to participate in the REDD + project. Several organisations and government institutions have educated them and provided training about the project.

Yeang Donald, CI community conservation and security system manager, told The Post that there was only one target village remaining, and that a working group was in discussions with the residents to make them see the benefits of joining the project.

“The 24 target villages are located in three provinces: 10 are in Pursat province, 3 in Kampong Speu and 11 are in Koh Kong. It is only with the consent of the community that we are able to register the project to international standards. We have been working for two years to reach this stage,” he said.

He said that since the REDD + project was still in the development stage, CI’s working group had been cooperating with officials at the Ministry of Environment and provincial departments to promote the project and the benefits from selling carbon credits.

“Our organisation’s livelihood working group has consulted with local communities to develop strategies for improving their livelihoods with their active participation. Together, we have identified needs, such as the sustainable use of natural resources, value chains of non-timber forest products and important agricultural crops. After the plan is finished, intervention on community livelihoods will be implemented soon,” he said.

The Central Cardamom REDD+ project was launched in 2021 and will last for 30 years. It covers the three provinces of Koh Kong, Kampong Speu and Pursat. The project aims to conserve natural resources by enforcing the law, patrolling the forests and helping the livelihoods of the community through the income from selling Carbon credit of the REDD+ project, according to Chhoeng Soviriya, CI officer in charge of coordinating community participation and security of the project.

“The REDD + project is possible only with the consent of 50 per cent or more in each target commune. Without the consent from people, we cannot implement the project,” he said.

According to CI Cambodia, the steps involved in developing the REDD + project under the Common Carbon Credit Standards, the Coal Verification Standards, the Climate Coalition, the Community and Biodiversity go through several stages.

They must develop greenhouse gas emission calculation methods and approvals, then prepare project documents related to carbon calculation, community work and biodiversity assessment.

It must pass through the validation process, which involves reviewing draft project documents, as well as information collection in the field by private parties.

It is only then that the project can be registered. Following registration, reports are checks and fresh field data is collected. Finally, a carbon credit registration account can be opened, and the amount of credit released onto the market determined.

From July to September, the REDD+ Central Cardamom Mountains and officials of the Pursat provincial environment department installed 13 mailboxes in O’Som, Pramuoy and Samrong communes.

These boxes can be used by the community to convey concerns or problems that they may have with any activity related to the REDD + project.

CI announced that more complaint boxes will be installed in villages in Koh Kong, Kampong Speu and Pursat province to ensure the residents’ full participation in the Central Cardamom Mountain Landscape Project.