Outcomes of CAMPAS’ demonstration component are expected to provide significant and tangible benefits for other protected areas and forests in Cambodia, likely to replicate initiatives given similar circumstances. The project is piloted in the Eastern Plains Landscape, holding several protected areas in need of forest connectivity within the greater landscape, and offering opportunities for exemplifying conservation and development models that include biodiversity conservation and monitoring, law enforcement, sustainable forestry, local community participation, and carbon stock retainment within the landscape. There is considerable potential for replication in other Cambodian landscapes, with the planning, conservation, and monitoring systems developed and lessons learned applicable at a wider scale than within the limits of the project.
The project has been designed to harness GEF resources and matching funds from other donors to define and set up conservation management approaches that will lead towards sustainability of the national protected area network in terms of conservation, institutional management, financial sustainability, and stakeholder support.
Conservation of biodiversity and protected areas is the cornerstone of the GEF financed project in that a more effective protected area management system will be established in Cambodia, by enhancing protected area management effectiveness, increasing forest carbon stock sequestration, and strengthening inter-sectoral collaboration. Within its landscape approach, the project will incorporate additional habitats, wildlife migration areas, and ecological processes which are essential to the long-term sustainability of the biodiversity. Successful approaches developed and tested by the project can be replicated to other protected areas of Cambodia.
Institutional management will be improved by the project in that it supports, among other, three key aspects of protected area management: (i) Definition of implementation needs and a strategy for a national protected area system management plan, (ii) Identification of sustainable financing opportunities, resource coordination needs, and implementation needs for the protected area system management plan, and the (iii) Strengthening of protected area system governance and management zoning guidelines.
Community conservation and social sustainability will be improved through mechanisms to involve local communities as key partners in protected area management, in particular ‘community protected areas’ (CPAs) and ‘community forests’ (CFs). Establishment of site-based consultation fora at each protected area will involve local traditional and government leaders in protected area management and decision-making. Design of programs to optimize community benefits from protected area management programs will be proactively pursued, and pilot programs designed to promote sustainable forest management on community lands in the buffer zones of protected areas will be designed. A broad awareness campaign at local, state, and national levels will help develop understanding and constituencies for conservation and protected area management.
Financial sustainability will be strengthened through the preparation of business plans for protected areas. A key element to secure financial sustainability will be to work to secure adequate annual Government funding allocated for the delivery of results rather than ad hoc attribution to cost items and to identify additional sources of funding to scale-up protected area management activities over the medium and long-term. Such additional sources of funding could come from a variety of financing mechanisms such as trust funds, carbon credits, tourism, biodiversity conservation offsets61, and payment for environmental services.
Aspects of the project of possible replication are within Outcome 2, given outputs from Outcome 1 are all national and pretty much non-replicable, except for perhaps in outer countries in the region such as Vietnam, which has a pretty much disparate national protected area system mostly governed by provincial governments through a decentralized system, and following conflicting policies of two separate ministries. Replicable CAMPAS initiatives and lessons learned could apply to Vietnam, in particular for the establishment of a national biodiversity steering committee to support protected area leadership dialogue and inter-sectoral coordination (CAMPAS Output 1.1). The country’s protected areas are rather small, and mostly within landscapes of production forests and otherwise disparate land-uses, experiences from Cambodia would help mainstream biodiversity conservation within these landscapes, and help in the integrated planning between conservation and development agencies. A second most important item of possible replication would relate to CAMPAS Output 1.2, regarding the establishment of a transparent and harmonized national protected area system, and the institutionalization of a protected are enforcement monitoring system. Vietnam lacks of a comprehensive system to monitor its conservation efforts in protected areas, and connections between protected areas and the policy center at Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are weak, except for eight protected areas run directly from the ministry. Further to the above, a third most important possibility for replication of CAMPAS outcomes is from its field experiences in implementation of Output 1.3 related to a nation-wide environmental education and communications campaign, which would aim to support the country’s biodiversity conservation efforts through its extensive, yet small and poorly managed protected area system, and within development landscapes holding potential forest connectivity and conservation potential.
Replicable project items within Cambodia would include those from CAMPAS Output 2.1 on promoting stakeholder consultation, conflict management, and participatory planning in support of biodiversity conservation and corridor initiatives at a landscape level; Design of strategic plans for conservation landscapes holding a mosaic of protected areas, protected forests, and economic lands (ie holding agriculture, forestry, and industry) in support of biodiversity conservation; and establishing reference emission levels for conservation landscapes, carrying out remote sensing-based spatial analysis of land-cover, deforestation rates, and carbon stocks and producing an action plan and strategy to adopt monitoring reporting and verification working areas in line with REDD+. One particular item that would be subject to replication within Cambodia, but possible in neighboring Vietnam and Laos PDR would be that of protected area management plans and regional economic development plans harmonized. Under CAMPAS Deliverable 2.3.2, the project will develop a minimum of two pilot protected area management and business plans that (a) integrate biodiversity and forest conservation into development goals, (b) harmonize economic development processes to support biodiversity conservation in the landscape, and (c) putting into operation standing conservation legislation. Further, items under CAMPAS Output 2.4 of possible replication at other protected areas and protected forests in Cambodia include activities on community-based forest management and rehabilitation, which aim to restore connective forest habitats between protected areas in the landscape, and to deliver increased livelihood economic security.
Through collaboration with other related initiatives in Cambodia, as indicated elsewhere in this document, the knowledge, approaches, and results of the CAMPAS will be shared within and beyond Cambodia. This will enable a generation of synergies to enhance the cost effectiveness of the project and its results, notably by having a coalition of partners advocating for sound management and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem within greater landscapes. To facilitate the effective replication of project activities, the project will disseminate its lessons through three knowledge management platforms, namely the platform developed as part of institutionalizing inter-sectoral dialogue on landscape-based natural resources management (CAMPAS 1.1.1), as part of CAMPAS 2.1.2 workings to promote common understanding, consultation, and conflict resolution for biodiversity conservation in economic development zones within the Eastern Plains Landscape. Further, local-level stakeholders will be capacitated and involved in the implementation of project activities and, provided the activities deliver tangible benefits, thus they will be likely to replicate such activities in additional sites, as part of CAMPAS 2.4 to enhance forest cover with community resource management and livelihood securities.