The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on June 16 announced the launch of the USAID Morodok Baitang – a new five-year, $24 million project at four conservation areas of Keo Seima, Lumphat, Siem Pang and the Cardamom Mountains to fight against climate change.
USAID has been supporting the livelihoods of Cambodians living near protected areas for more than a decade. The new project, implemented by Tetra Tech ARD, will use a market-systems approach to support conservation and sustainable development in the four areas.
US Chargé d’affaires Benjamin Wohlauer said the US is committed to tackling the global climate crisis with its Cambodian partners. USAID will work closely with local communities, the private sector and development partners to create job opportunities and climate-smart business models that promote conservation and sustainable economic growth.
He added the project will aim to expand carbon credit sales in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cardamoms while increasing revenues for forest-dependent communities. In this way, it will support the sustainability of Cambodia’s green forest heritage.
“USAID Morodok Baitang will work with local communities, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector to help Cambodians adapt to climate change,” he said.
Keo Socheat, executive director of Sansom Mlup Prey (SMP) – a local NGO founded in 2009 by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with a focus on developing sustainable, organic, and wildlife-friendly agricultural systems in rural communities – said the livelihood initiatives and Ibis Rice activities provide direct benefits to local communities.
“It is critical that we continue to preserve and protect the natural resources that these communities rely on so heavily,” he said.
Prohm Vibol Rattanak, director of the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, told The Post on June 16 that he had not yet received details of the project. However, if the project focuses on the conservation of natural resources, it should also include the development of people’s livelihoods, he added.
He welcomed all projects implemented in Cambodia to support conservation work and support the livelihoods of local communities, provided the projects reach the implementation stage.