Conservation International / Cambodia – Population Environment Project

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To achieve the goal of reduced population pressure on biodiversity in the Cardamoms Conservation Landscape (CCL), Conservation International (CI), CARE Cambodia and local partners are implementing a reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) component that is integrated into existing CCL conservation and development activities. Begun in 2004, the project aims to reduce population pressures on the CCL and provide alternative livelihood options in order to reduce illegal use of the natural resources that exist within protected areas of the CCL.

Development Challenge

Total species diversity and globally threatened species measures make the Cambodia’s CCL a priority landscape within the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. The government’s disproportionate reliance on logging revenues, a slow growing national economy, extensive conversion of forests for commercial and subsistence agricultural uses, annual population growth rates reaching 2.24 percent, and unregulated migration have led to intense pressure on Cambodia’s forests. Today, 43 percent of the population is under the age of 15, thus nearly half the population has yet to enter its reproductive age. If present trends continue unchecked, population growth, and associated migration could overwhelm conservation efforts.

Approach

CI Cambodia works with local communities and stewards of the CCL’s natural resources to improve protection of the key species, and their critical natural habitats, through participatory local and regional strategic planning efforts and strengthening service provision. The project mitigates pressures on key biodiversity areas through interventions that: 1) Enable target communities to adopt safe RH/FP practices, to improve access to quality RH/FP and primary health care services and thereby mitigate population pressure on Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs); and 2) Support effective integration of “population and environment” into local government planning, and 3) Build local capacities for natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.

Activities

• Meet the demand for RH/FP services through improved supply and emergency referral service

• Augment and improve existing health services to increase access to RH/FP, especially in remote areas.

• Promote new livelihood strategies through women’s participation and networking, so that women increase use of RH/FP services and women’s role in “population and environment” decision-making is strengthened.

• Continue the Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) process in remaining areas and support implementation of land use plans, integrating community resource needs with conservation of Key Biodiversity Areas.

• Facilitate the addition of Population and Environment strategies into Commune and District development plans for Thma Bang District.

• Strengthen the capacity of local institutions for Community Based Natural Resource Management, through implementation of land use plans and livelihoods diversification.

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