Land degradation is a serious issue in Cambodia posing a direct threat to food and water security since it affects agriculture productivity and water retention capacity of watersheds. It is linked with deforestation and forest degradation, and exacerbated by climate change perpetuating increased vulnerability to climate related risks in turn. The project title “Collaborative Management for Watershed and Ecosystem Service Protection and Rehabilitation in the Cardamom Mountains, Upper Prek Thnot River Basin (CoWES)” is designed to reduce pressures on upland watershed areas from competing land uses by demonstrating collaborative management and rehabilitation of agriculture lands and forest areas by promoting sustainable land management and stabilizing watershed catchment functions in a priority degraded area, Upper Prek Thnot watershed in Kampong Speu Province as identified by the National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Land Degradation 2018 – 2027 The project consists of three interrelated components: i) On-farm soil conservation and agroforestry practices improved; ii) Community forest areas restored and sustainably managed; and iii) Watershed management and monitoring capacity improved. They are consistent with UNDP Cambodia’s Country Programme Document (CPD) 2016-2018 as it specifically requires “building resilience” by contributing to strengthening environmental services and the system of forest management and protected areas, including sustainable land and watershed management.
Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is the Implementing Partner (IP), with support from a number of key relevant Ministries. To ensure effective engagement of stakeholders in order to establish institutional arrangements at provincial and district levels to lead watershed management programs and host M&E system in partnership with relevant stakeholders at various levels, various capacity development and trainings for communities as well as for national, provincial and district government officials will be provided by the project through consultation meetings and workshops to promote sustainable land and forest management practices in the targeted area.
CoWES aims to restore and maintain forest cover and watershed stability functions while providing for sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services in the Upper Prek Thnot Watershed. In order to achieve this objective, the project will demonstrate or pilot Sustainable Land Management (SLM) technologies with local household (small landholders), introduce SLM and technical advices to agribusiness (large landholders and Economic Land Concessions – ELCs) and experiment on wider landscape management for protection of ecosystem functional services.
Under component 3, it is specifically focused on watershed valuation study and follow by the discussions at subnational level the issues dealing with micro watershed levels management, build consensus on watershed land and water use strategies and monitoring framework, and formation and capacity development of an interim Watershed Coordination Taskforce.
The CoWES project is now recruiting an international consultant to conduct for Watershed Economic Valuation Study focusing on direct and indirect benefits from protection of watershed ecosystem functions in term of value of conserved land resources, forest (biodiversity) and water resources that contribute to social, economic and political perspectives.