Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri villages to get REDD+ funds

Mondulkiri villages to get REDD+ funds

Villagers attend a ceremony after signing an agreement to receive funds to improve their community from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary’s REDD+ project. Photo supplied
Villagers attend a ceremony after signing an agreement to receive funds to improve their community from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary’s REDD+ project. Photo supplied

Mondulkiri villages to get REDD+ funds

Twenty villages in Mondulkiri province are set to receive at least $10,000 each as a result of the $2.6 million carbon credit purchase by the Walt Disney Company in 2016, under a scheme meant to protect the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, officials said yesterday.

This would be the first time money has made its way to communities for development purposes as a result of the wildlife sanctuary’s REDD+ project, a United Nations-backed program to combat deforestation.

Each community submitted its priorities for development, and on Monday villages signed agreements with the Ministry of Environment, said Ken Sereyrotha, country director for the international NGO Wildlife Conservation Society, which will oversee how the money is spent.

“Each village will receive at least $10,000 per year to develop their communities,” he said.

One indigenous community, Andoung Kralong, will use the money to improve access to clean water. The funding will be deposited in a bank account and will be managed by a committee in each village.

“With that fund, over 100 households will soon [have] access to clean water through a piped-water system at their households,” Sereyrotha said.

Sereyrotha said the reason why funding is just now reaching communities is because the process has required several steps, such as the opening of bank accounts, consultations to develop community work-plans, and securing approval.

At the time of the 2016 sale of the credits, Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap told The Post that 90 percent of the $2.6 million would go towards “ground” activities to stop deforestation and encourage sustainable practices.

Sopheap couldn’t be reached on Tuesday and Chuop Paris, also with the Ministry of Environment, referred questions about the funding allocation to WCS, which he said manages all funding from the carbon credit’ sales.

Yeang Donal, REDD+ technical adviser at the WCS, said up to 40 percent of the $2.6 million has already been spent on activities to help protect the forest by supporting law enforcement and forest patrolling.

Community funds are meant to incentivise further protection of the forests. Some of the 20 affected villages also help with forestry patrol, he said.

Nuth Nu, 43, chief of Chork Cha village, expressed excitement about the $11,660 fund his village will receive.

“My community started protecting the forest since 2007,” he said. “In 2010, we started working with NGO [WCS]. What we have done bears the fruit now.”

His village will use the money to make a well and install a drainage system to divert water from roads to a canal in three locations.

“The fund encourages us to put more effort in protecting the forest,” he added.

A second international company has purchased a “small amount” of carbon credits from the project, though Sereyrotha said he was not authorised to disclose the name of the firm or specific amount.

Donal said that this project has 9.2 million metric tonnes of carbon credits available for purchase.

Currently, no entity regulates Cambodia’s existing three REDD+ projects because they are each pilot projects, Paris said. However, the government recently approved a national strategy for REDD+ programs, which should be made public soon, under which a task force would manage and regulate future programs, he said.

The three existing pilots don’t include one that is widely deemed to have failed to protect forest in Oddar Meanchey, which recently prompted airline Virgin Atlantic to discontinue purchasing carbon credits from the program.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old