Present public awareness and understanding regarding biodiversity and its values is low in Cambodia. Raising public awareness of biodiversity has been a consideration for the Royal Government of Cambodia and many non-government organizations for the past 15 years, however most activities have been ad-hoc. The awareness, behavior, communication, and mainstreaming strategy will use modern innovative approaches to education, such as those illustrated in health education, which are less focused on awareness and more focused on specific behavior change, using branding and social marketing. Although communications, awareness and education is supported integrally through various project activities and outputs (such as 1.1.1, 1.1.3, 2.1.1), it is receiving focused support through the development and implementation of a communications campaign under 1.3.1
CAMPAS seeks to work on biodiversity initiatives at a national (Outcome 1) and landscape level (Outcome 2) concurrently requiring participation with effective communication of messages, wide stakeholder engagement, cooperation and coordination on implementation. A vision for biodiversity will be used to promote key messages in support of stakeholder understanding, cooperation, and collaboration. This vision will be broadly promoted at a national level – and beyond the three principle conservation agencies, and more practical actions in-line with this vision will be implemented in the Eastern Plains Landscape.
A behavior, communications, and mainstreaming strategy may be coordinated/ facilitated by the Department of Environmental Education and Communication, with capacity and resources support, to design and implement a range of traditional and innovative tools with a range of partners. A full quantitative baseline awareness survey will be designed during inception and implemented at the start of the project to confirm the appropriate target groups, their specific values and best media means to approach them, as well as key communication messages. This will provide the necessary basis for an effective and measurable communications campaign, which would also include and full end of project impact assessment following the standards of a social marketing campaign. Furthermore, the project will conduct joint education and awareness raising activities including biodiversity branding and social marketing with existing projects in Cambodia and the region in order to stimulate curiosity about and understanding of the values of biodiversity and most importantly how their behaviors impact biodiversity management. Additionally, project lessons will be disseminated through knowledge management mechanisms, including a national website and international clearing house mechanism, which will reach a large audience both within Cambodia and globally.
The project design has relied extensively on stakeholder consultation and input, and it is seated within government institutional structures that will be working across ministries on a daily basis, and in collaboration between GDANCP, FA and FiA. The significant project co-financing will help to collect, communicate, and share information with relevant ongoing biodiversity activities in Cambodia, and to draw on lessons from relevant past projects / programs in the country. At a national policy level; the Biodiversity Steering Committee will coordinate policy and the Technical Working Group will deal with technical implementation of the policies, while at a landscape level a coordination working group will be established to coordinate efforts, share lessons, and avoid overlap. Further, the project includes in its design a national communications campaign to help improve national support for landscape-level conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (Output 1.3, deliverable 1.3.1), increasing the impact of information and policy initiative and their field implementation.
Environmental Education in Cambodia
A review of historical documents indicates that environmental education principles were first incorporated into government policies with the establishment of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) in 1993, which is responsible for promoting environmental protection and conservation of natural resources throughout the Kingdom. The Ministry has the role of motivating and supporting public participation in decision-making to resolve environmental and natural resource use issues. The Department of Environmental Education and Communication (DEEC), has been assigned to accomplish four main program areas: human resources development, environmental education and training, environmental information and dissemination, writing and research on environmental information.
In carrying out its mission, the ministry collaborates with other ministries of the Royal Government, other institutions, national and international non-government organizations, the private sector, and the people of Cambodia. A variety of civil society organizations conduct some environmental education but the organizations with an environmental education focus include: Mlup Baitong, Live & Learn, Save Cambodia’s Wildlife, SiPAR62. While significant smaller scale and ad-hoc environmental education activities are ongoing in Cambodia, the last time a large-scale national environmental education and awareness campaign was conducted was 2005 as part of the GEF supported Tonle Sap Environmental Management Project (TSEMP).
Limited finance, human resources, manpower, and equipment have reduced the department’s and other institutions and organization’s ability to conduct large-scale campaigns, and created a more ad-hoc approach to environmental education. Additionally, it lacks specific expertise and experience in proper social marketing campaigns. The project would support the department through technical assistance and campaign development. Even with limited resources DEEC and other institutions and organizations have been conducting a range of activities grouped as Formal Education and Informal or Non-formal Education. See also Appendix 18.