AFoCO Hosts Signboard Ceremony to Celebrate Mekong REDD+ Project Phase I in Cambodia

Stung Treng Province, Cambodia | June 10-14, 2024

The Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) recently celebrated a significant milestone in the Mekong REDD+ Project Phase I (MRP P1) with a signboard ceremony in Stung Treng Province, Cambodia. Although the project began earlier this year, the ceremony marked the official public launch and showcased the collaborative efforts between AFoCO, local authorities, and international partners.

Inaugural Signboard Ceremony

On June 12, 2024, the signboard ceremony took place with around 40 participants, including representatives from AFoCO, the Project Management Unit (PMU), Woori Bank Cambodia, and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF). Local authorities and community members also attended the event. Mr. Sunpil Jin, Vice Executive Director of AFoCO, delivered a keynote address emphasizing the project’s importance for regional forest conservation and community development. Kun Mon, Regional Manager of Woori Bank Cambodia, expressed gratitude for the cooperation and support from AFoCO and the Cambodian government.

The signboard was installed along Road No. 2 near Sekong Garden to inform residents and visitors in Stung Treng Province about the project. This initiative aims to raise public awareness of the benefits of forests and highlight the key strategies of the Mekong REDD+ Project Phase I in supporting 14 target community forests in Stung Treng Province. The project focuses on forest resource and biodiversity protection, livelihood improvement, and carbon credit acquisition.

Support from the Governor of Stung Treng Province

On June 13, in a courtesy meeting, Governor Swai Sam Ing expressed his strong support for the Mekong REDD+ Project Phase I, highlighting its critical need in the region. He emphasized the importance of improving local livelihoods and the vital role of community participation in forest conservation. The Governor assured full support from the provincial government for land registration, boundary demarcation, and community expansion efforts. He also expressed hope for continued investment from AFoCO and other international partners in future forest restoration projects and related fields.

Governor Swai Sam Ing welcomed the project team at the Stung Treng Provincial Hall, where he praised the project’s progress and encouraged AFoCO, Woori Bank, and other donors to continue supporting REDD+ implementation in Stung Treng and other provinces in Cambodia. He highlighted the project’s contributions to local development, forest resource and biodiversity protection, livelihood improvement, and carbon credit acquisition.

Engagement with Choampich Community Forestry

Following the ceremony, the AFoCO team visited the Choampich Community Forestry, a key component of the project covering 2,875 hectares and benefiting 247 families. Established in 2000, this initiative has significantly enhanced local livelihoods through sustainable forest management and the collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The project supports various activities, including installing a solar water pump to improve water access, establishing a savings group to enhance financial stability, and developing community-based ecotourism to generate additional income for local residents.

During the visit, the team conducted interviews with the head of the savings group, who previously led the community forestry, and representatives from the Community Economic Promotion Agency (CEPA). These discussions provided valuable insights into the historical context, challenges, and strategic approaches for effective community forestry management.

Inspection of New Tree Nursery and Motorbike Ceremony at the New Project Office

While visiting Stung Treng, the AFoCO team also inspected the new tree nursery at Thalaborivath FA Division, which is currently being established, and the new project office in the FA Cantonment. During a visit, a ceremony was held to hand over motorbikes to field staff, enhancing their mobility and efficiency in project implementation and monitoring activities.

Submitted by Ms. YoungJu Han, Program Officer

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