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Second national round table discussion

Phnom Penh, 29 January 2003

Hosted by the Ministry of Environment and jointly organised with the IUCN


As a follow-up to the first national round table in October 2001, the inter-agency Cambodia PAD core group met on 29 January to discuss the final draft of the Cambodia national report. 15 group members from 9 government ministries participated in the full day round table meeting. Prior to the meeting the latest draft of the national report was distributed to the participants. The meeting adopted an agenda allowing each sector to provide detailed comments and revisions on the relevant chapters of the draft report followed by discussion and resolution of outstanding issues.

Objectives of the Cambodia National Report

  1. To identify and express in economic terms the development values of protected areas.
  2. To have the development benefits of protected areas better understood and reflected in sector policies, plans and budgets.
  3. To increase the level of investment in conserving the development services and products provided by protected areas.
  4. To identify the key areas where institutional strengthening and capacity building are needed so that protected areas are planned and managed as essential development assets in local and national economies.

The national report analyses the planning and management links between key development sectors and protected areas. It provides an initial set of strategies to enhance and maintain the development benefits flowing from protected areas to local and national economies by increased investment in conservation. However it is not a manual for conventional PA planning and management – it looks beyond PA boundaries across the development landscapes in which they are situated. As such it focuses on the role of every sector and on local communities in conserving protected areas. Some strategies can be implemented within government resources, while others will require well targeted international support to be carried out.

The draft report is based on


Summary of future directions recommended by the draft report by sector


Poverty alleviation and protected areas

Co-management of protected areas and buffer zones

  • Establish co-management arrangements within all protected areas
  • Ensure the new protected areas legislation provides for collaborative management
  • Establish co-management regimes in buffer zones
  • Explore community and non-government management of former concession areas
  • Build capacity in local communities to take on co-management responsibilities

Sustainable Livelihoods

  • Pilot nature based and pro poor tourism developments in priority regions
  • Allow managed harvesting of NTFPs in protected areas and adjoining forests
  • Provide economic incentives and market opportunities for NTFP enterprises of the poor
  • Recognise the role of transfer payments in the draft protected area legislation
  • Pilot the use of transfer payments and poverty reduction in one protected area cluster with major planned developments

Inter-Governmental Coordination and financing

  • Prepare a poverty alleviation strategy for each cluster of protected areas
  • Establish collaborative intersectoral forums covering clusters of protected areas
  • Promote the role of local entities such as village development committees, commune development committees, commune councils and provincial rural development committees
  • Pilot a conservation trust fund mechanisms for a cluster of protected areas including community development activities
Fisheries and protected areas

MAFF and MOE to prepare a national plan for protected areas and regimes of protection in the fisheries sector.

  • Establish protection zones within fishing lots and key fisheries habitats
  • Undertake a review of existing and potential protected areas in the fisheries sector
  • Establish protection zones in all fishing lots
  • Prepare management plans for existing sanctuaries and protected areas which benefit fisheries
  • Give high priority to establishing a regime of protection covering the floodplain.

Introduce protection strategies to safeguard the natural functions of the floodplain in fisheries.

  • Protect deep pools on the floodplain from environmentally adverse developments
  • Ensure that infrastructure works individually or cumulatively do not impede the functions of the floodplain
  • Set fish and shellfish catch limits for each locality and season

Introduce a system of financing protection based on the user pays principle.

  • Each lot operator in the fisheries sector should pay a fee for protection of the stocks and habitats
  • Pilot decentralised fisheries protection trust funds
  • Provide economic incentives for protection
Forestry and protected areas

Expand and adjust the national protected area system.

  • Review and revise the national classification and categories of protected area
  • Include areas of significant biodiversity values within the national protected areas system
  • Review existing protected areas to adjust and mark boundaries

Identify protection zones within forestry concessions.

  • Use forest concession management plans to define protection zones and practices
  • Identify protection zones within concessions to act as buffers when concessions border on protected areas

Apply the user pays principle to finance conservation within forestry concessions and protected areas.

  • Review the existing system of concession payments to make forest conservation central to concession management
  • Establish concession conservation trust funds

Control illegal logging within protected areas

  • Establish a special joint MAFF/MOE force in each protected area cluster to control illegal logging in protected areas
  • Promote community involvement in forest protection and management
Water resources and protected areas

MOE and MOWRAM to prepare a joint plan for protected areas and water management.

  • Set priorities for rehabilitation and maintenance of watersheds in and around protected areas
  • Undertake a collaborative program to assess economic values of the hydrological functions of protected areas
  • Pilot the user pays approach in priority protected area clusters (targeting beneficiaries of catchment services and water users)
Agriculture and protected areas

MAFF and MOE to prepare a national plan for the establishment and management of protected areas and regimes of protection in agricultural landscapes.

  • Establish networks of protected areas to conserve centres of origin of plant varieties
  • Establish protection zones and corridors to preserve native biodiversity
  • Work through Farmer Water User Groups/Communities and Village Development Committees to manage agricultural protection corridors and zones
  • Pilot water catchment committees
  • Provide incentives for farmers in buffer zones to adopt sustainable agro-forestry approaches
  • Expand protected areas to conserve productive wetland-agriculture associations in the floodplain and covering important wetlands
  • Introduce a system of financing protection based on the user pays principle (commercial operator fee for protection of critical ecosystem services and products)
Energy and protected areas

MOE and MIME to adopt a joint policy framework setting out standards and procedures relating to energy development affecting protected areas.

  • EIA of energy development proposals affecting protected areas (key principle: adequate biodiversity studies and environmental assessments must be undertaken)
  • A system of financing protection in the energy sector based on the user pays principle - each commercial operator in the energy sector should pay for protection of critical ecosystem services and products which they use

Fuel wood - Introduce special procedures and approaches for management of fuelwood use in and around protected areas.

First steps:

  • Undertake surveys of each protected area and identify appropriate areas for co-management with local communities, and
  • Establish co-management arrangements including the conditions for harvesting, use and monitoring of fuel wood, taking into account alternative sources in nearby forest concessions.


  • Prepare MOE/MIME protected area and hydropower development guidelines
  • Introduce a system of fees for hydropower schemes benefiting from protected areas
  • Undertake a pilot of the user pays approach; including a Trust Fund and a system of sector payments for an effective environmental mitigation program and on going PA management at the affected site
Tourism and protected areas

A national tourism and protected area plan and demonstration project.

  • MOE and MOT need to complete and implement the National Plan for Tourism Development associated with protected areas:
  • MOE and MOT should plan and implement a tourism development plan for a specific cluster of protected areas with tourism potential as a pilot and demonstration including:
    • a collaborative framework with NGOs and the private sector
    • community management structures to facilitate local involvement in tourism development
    • a cluster trust fund which supports and is fed by tourism activities

Financing and managing tourism investments in protected areas.

  • Review the current arrangement for charges and other economic measures associated with protected areas and tourism
  • Introduce national guidelines for tourism charges and concession arrangements
Protected areas planning and management

PA planning and management activities aiming to integrate PAs within the surrounding development landscapes and to better safeguard the natural services and products they provide.

  • Introduce the framework PA legislation and associated regulations
  • Introduce a system of management guidelines for high priority clusters of PAs using rapid appraisal and planning methods
  • Pilot a cluster wide PA fund and planning approach in the SW group of national parks
  • Building on and learning from the conflict resolution committees, establish a sector advisory committee for each high priority PA cluster
  • For each PA, work with the sector and community committees define management zones beginning with the core zones
  • For each PA, establish a community management committee and define rights and management arrangements for PA zones
EIA and protected areas

The EIA system is the essential screening mechanism for safeguarding the national PA estate from unwise use and degradation.

The EIA legislative framework should be strengthened:

  • To clarify the EIA procedures and penalties for non-compliance
  • To set minimum standards for public participation in the EIA process
  • To define the role of MOE in the EIA review, recommendation and monitoring process vis-a-via all other concerned ministries.
  • To establish an inter-ministerial committee or task force for each major project to help address EIA issues as they arise
  • To promote memoranda of understanding between every sector and MOE on detailed EIA arrangements, procedures and respective responsibilities
  • To ensure that international organisations firmly support the EIA Department when they fund or implement projects that trigger the EIA process
Capacity building and protected areas

A three year program of short term in-country training for PA staff and their sectoral counterparts at central, local and field level, as well as local communities - the theme: linking protected areas to sector and community development.

Examples of training components:

  • Tourism management for protected area managers, tour guides and local community leaders.
  • Collaborative management capacity in PA managers, local government and communities
  • Applying the user pays principle in protected area financing


Key conclusions from the meeting:

Links with existing government policies
The report is concerned with the contribution of protected areas in implementing Cambodia's national strategies for socio-economic development, poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation.

One national protected area system
The group agreed on the need to promote the notion of one national PA system covering all categories of protected area in which local communities, government sectors and other stakeholder all contribute to management and conservation.

Sector plans related to protected areas
There is growing interaction and interdependence between protected areas and development sectors, including, for example, tourism, energy, water resource management, fisheries, forestry and agriculture. It was agreed that MOE and MAFF need to work with the relevant agencies to prepare policies, guidelines and plans for the use and maintenance of protected areas to be reflected in sector budgets and programs.

Cluster wide poverty reduction strategies
Similarly, the PAD review field studies found that protected areas are contributing significantly to poverty reduction and subsistence livelihoods. Poverty reduction strategies for clusters of protected areas within a shared development landscape are needed to optimise these benefits while promoting increased local responsibility for sustainable use.

There was intensive debate over the use and meaning of the term co-management. It was stressed that areas for co-management and levels of resource use must be well defined and respect the overall management plan for the protected areas concerned. The need for technical support to communities in
all aspects of management was identified, especially in setting sustainable use levels and arrangements for monitoring and control.

Local trust funds
Local trust funds covering clusters of protected areas are a useful transitional arrangement for facilitating the government's decentralisation policy, for building capacity in collaborative planning and priority setting and in fund management, and to address poverty concerns affecting the use of resources. Transparency and accountability are important issues in the operation of local funds and guidelines are needed for their management and delivery.

National Conservation Fund
A national conservation fund was discussed as an important part of the PAD strategy to consolidate the national protected area system and its contribution to national development.

The report should set priorities
The report sets out many actions to be taken within each sector, some within existing government resources, other requiring external support. Priorities must include - a national PAD demonstration project covering the SW cluster of protected areas, continued work on PA valuation, and exploration
of a national conservation fund.

Next steps in finalising the national report
The report will be finalised in both Khmer and English and submitted formally to the concerned ministries for signature by end March. This will be a national government report widely distributed at national and local level. The need for a short and simplified version for broader circulation was identified - additional funding will be needed for the purpose.

Follow up PAD program in Cambodia:
Discussions were held on implementation of the report and the ingredients of a PAD program in Cambodia to complement important existing activities by a range of international and national agencies. The next Cambodia national PAD network bulletin will provide more details of what is planned, arrangements for distribution of the PAD report package, and on the World Parks Congress.


Welcoming speech: His Excellency Khieu Muth, Director General, Ministry of Environment

Closing remarks. Mr Chay Samith, Director Department of Nature Conservation and Protection, Ministry of Environment