Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 10 November 2016
Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment gathered a network of government and civil society representatives on Tuesday to begin planning the creation of a biodiversity conservation corridor that would make it easier for wildlife to thrive.
Biodiversity corridors connect isolated conservation areas with strips of vegetation to allow wild animals to travel from one protected area to the next. Conservationists say the corridors are instrumental in allowing animal populations to grow.
“We want to connect the protected areas to make ecosystems function better than they do now,” said ministry official Sao Sopheap. “We want to link the Eastern Plains and the northern part of the Tonle Sap lake with the southern part, and also the coastal marine areas.”
Courtney Work, a researcher focusing on environmental policy in Cambodia, said the ministry is homing in on strategies that could have a big impact. “They are talking and thinking in ways that could make a difference in enhancing biodiversity,” Work said.
But the project is still in its initial phases, and some have expressed concern that the ministry lacks the funding to transform its ambitions into reality. “There is a concern about resources and capacity. The Ministry of Environment still has limited resources, even if they have good intentions,” said Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s Sopheap said numerous consultations must be held before the plans are finalised, adding that illegal logging, encroachment, and land clearance also need to be addressed in the protected areas.