Phnom Penh, 20 June 2019 – Cambodia’s forested ecosystems are of critical importance for the country development and thus maintaining their integrity is key toward sustainable development. Over the past decade Cambodia has made significant effort in protecting its environment and natural resources via developing policies and plans related to biodiversity conservation, institutional reform, creating new protected areas, increasing funding for conservation, improving law enforcement, etc.

In response to these challenges, the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) launched the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) Project in Cambodia  on June 20, 2019 with technical support from UNDP.

The Royal Government has made significant reforms in environmental and natural resource management, increasing 61 protected areas by the end of 2018, including five Ramsar sites and three biodiversity conservation corridors covering the total area 7.5 million hectares, accounting for 41% of the country. Recently, the Royal Government established the Sok An Phnom Kulen Orchid Research and Conservation Center in Siem Reap, aiming to conserve research, educational publication, and other entertainments that can be a source of income for the preservation of natural resources and  improve the livelihood of the local people,” said H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok, the Secretary General of NCSD.

The global financial gap for biodiversity conservation ranges from USD $100 to 400 billion annually. BIOFIN was initiated in response to the urgent global need to attract additional funding from possible sources, as a means of achieving global and national biodiversity objectives. If the forested ecosystems continue to deminish, Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could experience a 6.6 percent reduction by 2050 due to climate change, according to the NCSD.

 “There are challenges in biodiversity conservation and this is why BIOFIN is a solution oriented program. The whole idea with BIOFIN is to find solutions using economics and finances to achieve Cambodia's biodiversity and development objectives. Cambodia has already started this process, however, a lot more needs to be done,” said Dr. Jessica Alvsilver, Senior Technical Advisor.

Globally, 30 countries have designed financial solutions, while Cambodia, along with five other countries, are scheduled to begin implementation of BIOFIN methodology shortly. Cambodia’s participation in BIOFIN was funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

“In 2016, the Royal Government has updated the natonal biodiversity system action plan (NBSAP)  and set the vision and goal to achieve by 2050. Biodiversity and Cambodia's ecosystems services are highly appreciated, preserved and rehabilitated for better use and management of biodiversity and ecosystems to  ensure economic stability, food security and contribute to poverty reduction in Cambodia,” added H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok.

Innovative financing mechanisms are being tested in Cambodia.  Mechanisms tested include, REDD+, Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES), and Conservation Trust Fund. Cambodia is now to exploring biodiversity financial solutions for sustainable development and to support the country in effectively achievingits national biodiversity and development objectives by 2050.

There is a need for all stakeholders and all actors to contribute and participate in conserving biodiveristy. This is not for nature, this is for all humans, economic entities and governments. In other words, for the people of Cambodia,” stated Dr. Jessica Alvsilver.

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For media related requests or inquiries, please contact Mr. Samruol Im, UNDP Cambodia’s Communications Analyst at samruol.im@undp.org.

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