On 19 August, the third and final phase of the Partnership for Forestry and Fishery Communities in Cambodia (PaFF)’s initiative was launched with $6.2 million in funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
PaFF’s initiative is an eight-year project which aims at empowering rural Cambodians to exercise their rights to manage, protect and benefit from local natural resources.
The Phnom Penh Post writes that the last phase of the program will focus on building capacity in communities and government agencies to implement three approaches to sustainable natural resource management including community forestry, community fisheries, and community-protected areas.
PaFF’s program also seeks to promote the rule of law, strengthen democratic processes, while safeguarding the human rights of women, indigenous groups, and low-income community members through their engagement in community-based natural resource management.
According to Seng Teak, country director of WWF-Cambodia, which led the implementation of PaFF’s Phase 2 between 2017 and 2021, empowering communities by strengthening the capacity and resources, they need to make decisions about, manage and use their natural resources should be the way forward. “In doing so, we promote local ownership and support long-lasting livelihood development and biodiversity conservation,” he said.
The program is set to end in 2023 and aims to support the implementation of management plans for a total of 113 community forests, 24 community fisheries, and five community protected areas totaling 159,767ha and benefitting 60,926 people in 24,647 households.