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Japan, World Bank to Support Community Forestry and Participation in Cambodia

Press Release No:2009/74/EAP

Contacts:

In Washington: Al-Arief, Mohamad (202) 458 - 5964

malarief@worldbank.org


PHNOM PENH, September 11, 2006 – The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the World Bank and the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) today signed a Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) grant agreement for Capacity Building for Sustainable Forest and Land Management in five rural provinces of Cambodia. The $1.76 million grant, provided by the Government of Japan through the World Bank, will finance a new project to help build capacity of forest dependent villages as they explore new partnerships with government and non-governmental partners and develop innovative approaches to forest stewardship and participatory monitoring of forests and land resources.

 

“The Japan Special Development Fund project contributes to forest protection and improvement of forest-based livelihoods,” said H.E. Takahashi Fumiaki, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, at the signing ceremony. “Community resources are properly managed through activities under the field project, and local people eventually realize the importance of their own community resources including forests. In addition, the project can greatly contribute not only to capacity building at the community level, but also the promotion of effective utilization of forest resources in the whole country.”

 

The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) was established by the Government of Japan and the World Bank in June 2000 as an untied mechanism for providing direct assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in eligible member countries of the World Bank Group, and to build capacity, participation, and empowerment of civil society, local communities, and NGOs. As of May 31, 2006, the Government of Japan had provided over US$250 million to the JSDF and almost 200 grants, amounting to more than US$238 million, had been approved to support a broad range of initiatives including fisheries, livelihood development, education, health, and basic services for poor communities.

 

H.E Keat Chhon, Sr. Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance said: “I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Japanese Government and the World Bank for this grant assistance and on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia I would like to ensure that it is our responsibility to utilize this grant in an efficient and transparent manner to reach its objectives and I hope that RECOFTC, as the implementing agency for this grant, will carry out its obligations set forth in the Letter Agreement to implement the project with successful achievement for the sake of Cambodians.”

 

He added: “I strongly believe that the successful implementation of this technical assistance will provide Cambodia more opportunity to attract more assistance from the World Bank as well as other development partners for this sector.”

 

This four-year project is focused on specific cantonments of five provinces – Ratanakiri, Kompong Thom, Kratie, Kampot and Pursat.  Capacity building activities supported by the grant will include the following:

 

          Community Forestry Field Training Program – Training on community forestry legal framework and implementation including community organizing, discussion facilitation, community mapping and boundary demarcation, participatory land use planning, forest management plan development and community forestry agreement processing;

 

          Piloting Community Forestry Partnerships -   This component supports experiential learning for newly appointed government staff, NGO and local government partners who will be sharing responsibility for implementation of the Community Forestry Sub-decree at both local and national levels; and

 

          Participatory Monitoring, Evaluation, and Dissemination – Building a strong and participatory program to help share insights among communities and implementation partners, support communities efforts to develop forest and land management and monitoring networks, and support to the Community Forestry Unit of the Forest Administration to work with local networks engaged in field data collection and analysis, communications and dissemination.

 

Mr. Ian Porter, World Bank Country Director for Cambodia, noted that the project “is fully in line with one of the key aims of the Bank’s engagement in Cambodia—to support institutional reforms that help the rural poor have more say, and gain more benefits, from the sustainable management of natural resources.”  

 

Mr. Porter added, “if successfully implemented, this project will help strengthen capacity of government, NGOs and communities to manage forest resources in a transparent, equitable and effective way".

 

RECOFTC, a Bangkok-based international NGO, will work in partnership with Forest Administration (FA) of the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries, to implement the project over the next three years.  RECOFTC Executive Director Dr.Yam Malla noted that “rural people need forest resources to maintain and improve their living standards and to meet their cultural needs.  Community forestry represents a huge opportunity to mitigate poverty and social inequity. 

 

 

For more information about World Bank activities in Cambodia, please see our website at http://www.worldbank.org/kh




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