The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Programme Asia (NTFP-EP), held a training workshop in Siem Reap province on February 28.

The workshop focused on "gender mainstreaming" for community forestry and provincial Forestry Administration (FA) officials.

The aim was to highlight the crucial role women play in community development and sustainable natural resource conservation. The training covered women's involvement in enterprise management and broader community development, alongside their participation in conservation efforts.

An update posted to the ministry's social media page on February 29 mentioned presentations addressed the situation and obstacles faced by women in local communities across the region. These challenges often involve the use of rudimentary tools and necessitate strong livelihood management skills.

Ministry secretary of state Ngin Lina noted the importance of women's roles in environmental education and conservation.

She stated that women are key figures in teaching children to love and protect natural resources from a young age.  She believes that women's commitment is vital in addressing issues related to gender equality, wildfire resilience and sustainable community livelihoods.

"Gender mainstreaming is crucial in all areas, particularly natural resource management. It's vital to recognise the importance of balancing power between men and women to address gender inequalities in decision-making and resource management processes,” she said.

Miks Guia Padilla, chairperson of NTFP-EP, explained that the conference aimed to highlight women's vital role in social, labour and community development. It also sought to address gender issues prevalent in Cambodia and the wider region.

"This training enabled participants to share experiences, improve coordination with partners and ultimately enhance gender practices within their forestry communities," she said.

Phloek Phyrom, coordinator of the Indigenous People Network in Mondulkiri province, voiced support the training sessions, noting their value in educating community forestry stakeholders. She also underscored the role women play as a driving force for natural resource protection.

"Women's involvement in community forestry conservation is crucial for sustainability. The ministry should prioritise the inclusion and support of women, especially indigenous women, in these efforts," she said.

The ministry reported in 2020 that 44 female rangers were actively involved in protecting wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and other protected areas across Cambodia. 

These rangers are instrumental in combating land encroachment and wildlife hunting. 

Additionally, three women have been appointed as community leaders within the 193 protected area communities, and there are 299 women serving as members of protected area community committees.

Their roles entail managing natural resources sustainably and safeguarding cultural heritage within these protected areas.