Forest project in Cambodia funded by Denmark wins UN-prize

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With Danish support from Danmission and University of Copenhagen local activists in Cambodia fight against illegal lumbermen and corrupt politicians. By using mobilephones and a special-developed app the activists from Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) can unveil illegal logging in the woods of Prey Lang. Their goal is to maintain one of the largest evergreen forest in Southeast Asia. Monday 22 September UN awarded this project with the 10.000 dollar-prize “Equator Initiative Prize” 2015.

Spokesperson for PLCN and partner with Danmission Sokheng Seng says: “We are very happy with the 10.000 dollars. It makes it possible for us to continue our fight agaings illegal felling and the heavy deforestation. It makes us even more proud and happy to receive this appreciation from an important global partner as UN’s Development Program. This is our clear proof of how important our work as guardian and watchdog to the Prey Lang Forrest is. Not only for locals, but for all Cambodians and for the world around us”, says the spokesman.

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Working to protect a 500,000-hectare forest in the Cambodian lowlands – the largest primary lowland evergreen forest remaining in the country – Prey Lang Community Network is an alliance of indigenous Kuy communities that is using communications technologies to document forest crime. Since 2007, the network has advocated against illegal logging and large-scale land grabs for mining, agri-business and logging concessions. With an emphasis on non-violent actions and peaceful dialogue, the network has engaged civil society, indigenous associations, commune and district authorities, NGOs and research institutions in a joint movement for environmental justice and sustainable development with the goal of improving the livelihoods, food security and health of the 200,000 people living adjacent to the forest.

The Equator Initiative Prize awards the most innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communit. The Cambodian forest project was among 1.462 nominated for the EI-prize divided between 126 countries. In the UN head quarter in New York 21 winners were announced Monday 22 September 2015 by actor and environmental activist Alec Baldwin together with Helen Clark, head of UN’s Development Program. They both agreed the Prey Lang-project were “ground-breaking and innovative”. 

In addition to the moneyprize of 10.000 dollar to Prey Lang Community Network they are been handed two invitations for UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015. Here they will be presented the prize and participate in a row of events and meetings with likeminded from all over the world.

In Denmark Prey Lang Community Network is recommended for the University of Copenhagen Award for its ability and success of engage exposed local communities from and near the Prey Lang forest area. They fight to sustain the forest using new technology. They use a special app on their smartphones where they are able to prove crimes and publish evidence on for example Facebook, but also in reports to media and authorities. At the same time they focus on dialogue and non-violent protests which are rare due to Cambodian society.

Sources: www.danmission www.straitstimes.com www.equatorinitiative.org

 

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