Ponlok khmer is currently working to support 28 communities forestry (CF) and 7 indigenous communities (IC) on legal identity development, 7 community-based enterprises (CBE) particularly on resin, wild-honey and rattan products] and 6 communities Projected Area (CPA). 18 communities forestry out of the 28 CF have been officially approved and declared by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) as
the potential area for CF Establishment, 5 IC among the 7 IC have been declared theiridentities and submitted application to Ministry of Rural Development for Kouy identity recognition, 6 CPA have recognized by Ministries of Environment. 7 CBE have been promoted and get access to local market. All the target communities had been built up their capacity on specific laws like Forest law, land law and community organizing, advocacy and resource rights, networking from village to commune and from communes to district and to provincial level and linked themto national level. The community enterprise has been linked to local market in the province and outside the province. Community honey and Resin products have large local market and communities have worked as partnership with private sectors. The external evaluation is evident to proof that PKH works is strongly closed with villagers and community and all the achievement also extracted from the reports.
The Importance of our Work
Preah Vihear is situated on the border with Thailand and Lao PDR. There are eight districts in Preah Vihear and as in June 2008, 49 communes and 212 administrative villages with 33, 402 households and total population of 171, 139 people (85, 314 male and 85, 820 female). Historically, the population of the provinceincluded a majority of Kouy people,who are a widespread ethnic minority of the Mon-Khmer group. There are Kouy communities in Stung Treng, Kratie and Kompong Thom provinces in Cambodia, the current population of Kouy in Preah Vihear is around 20,000 in 44 villages, although many more communities were historically Kouy and have since lost that cultural identity and call themselves Khmer.
Most remaining Kouy communities are now concentrated in forest areas to the south and east of the province in Rovieng, Chey Sen, Tbeng Meanchey, Chounnskan and Chhep districts.
The basic government structures in the province are similar to those in other provinces, but capacities in Preah Vihear are low, there is still lack of adequate national social services such as education and health and natural resource management (NRM) decision-making varies with the size of the resource in question. Communities and commune councils typically make decisions together only on minor issues with most important issues decided at the Provincial Governor level or above. Decisions are often made by informal, temporarily established ad-hoc working committees composed of line agencies that report to the Provincial Governor, Minister or Council of Ministers. There are very few Non-Governmental Organisations working in the province.
To make a way for this commercial development, forest communities across Preah Vihear are increasingly losing their homes, land and natural resources on which their livelihoods depend on. The land concessions are being awarded to different private organizations and individuals, most generally without any kind of previous local consultation and when communities seek information about the ensuing land confiscations or attempt peaceful resolutions on land disputes, they are increasingly met with harassment, intimidation, arrest and violent evictions.
These activities have acute negative impacts for the livelihoods of the communities from these areas. Firstly, the communities lose access to their farmlands and their forest based income activities. The large-scale clearance of forest and farm land driven by these concessions, destroy or prevent access to the communities’ main income activities. Since a high proportion of their income and subsistence comes from the forest, their livelihoods are consistently being put at risk. The results are, generally, land disputes and ongoing forced evictions.
The second problem is the enormous negative impact on climate change. Deforestation and biodiversity degradation represent a wide threat for key natural resources; resin trees, fish, rattan, honey, wildlife and preferred timber species for house construction are among the resources reported to be showing serious declines in many areas, the fundamental problem being that most resources are open access and legally managed by the state, which has very limited capacity to monitor the progress of the awarded concessions. Corruption within the local authorities and the lack of good governance of resources, allow for over extraction of natural resources, extensive contamination of the forest and pollution of rivers and water sources, with the ultimate effect of forest disappearance and with them, the wildlife and the livelihoods of their communities.