In early December, the Forum Syd Cambodia team and partners successfully completed a final Programme Closure Workshop to end its 3-year programme “Increasing Democratic Processes and Rights Related to Sustainable Management of Natural Resources” (2014 – 2016), funded by Sida (via the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia) with a wide range of programme stakeholders attending including senior government officials from relevant ministries, international organisations and members of community representatives from the target areas.

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The Workshop’s objectives were to present programme achievements, key ‘lessons learned’ of the prior three years, and identify key areas of priority for future activities. This broad review included presentations from partners / stakeholders, group discussions and reflections, and summaries of thematic activities. Findings included:

• Most target communities have taken an active role in NRM and strengthening good governance by inviting forestry & fisheries administration officials and other stakeholders / duty bearers to participate in activities, without the need for prompting from NGOs. Many target communities have turned to patrols to protect their resources.
• Through different legalization processes including indigenous land registration, community forestry, fisheries, protected area, the most marginalized groups have worked to gain land tenure and benefited from increased access to natural resources for their traditional rights and uses.
• Grassroots leaders have been empowered in consultations — all of whom were members of diverse networks such as farmers’ groups, land communities, community forestry, fishers groups, teacher associations, garment workers, youth clubs, informal sector workers, artists, and communities affected by economic land concessions and mining concessions. As a result these groups now have much stronger and democratic leadership, active member participation, clear organizational structure, and effective strategies with concrete demands and supportive allies.

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These results were highlighted by Anna Guittet, (Counselor Governance / Environment) of the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia in her keynote address. She praised the continued long-term relationship between Sida and Forum Syd’s Cambodia Office, as well as its fruitful engagement with government actors and civil society.
The team received support and encouragement for its accomplishments achieved in the past three years from the Swedish Embassy, programme partners, government officials and other members of its ‘community of practice’.

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There was strong enthusiasm and calls from partners, stakeholders and relevant ministries to continue Forum Syd’s work on land, forestry and fisheries. These key sectors contribute to continued sustainable development as well as livelihood enhancement and poverty reduction in Cambodia and will be prominent in the Cambodia Office’s upcoming ‘Green Ownership’ programme for 2017 – 2019, for which Sida/The Embassy, is reviewing final details for their support of this new programme.

The Cambodia team was pleased to see a wide range of attendees including numerous senior government officials such as Excellency So Khan Rithykun (Secretary of State from the Ministry of Environment) heading a delegation of 5 senior officials and Excellency Ms. Madam Ou Vordy (Secretary of State, Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction), as well as representatives from the Forestry Administration and Fisheries Administration.

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Forum Syd and partners developed and displayed their programme outreach materials at the conference venue which received much appreciation from participants and stakeholders.

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More photos of the event can be seen at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130396862@N06/