The UK and Cambodia on June 15 ratified a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), setting forth their shared commitment to address poverty, biodiversity loss and climate change. This unprecedented partnership aims to foster both local and cross-border strategies to combat these pressing global issues.
The pact was solidified between Marc Thayre, chargé d’affaires of the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, and Chea Samang, Secretary of State of Cambodia's Ministry of Environment. They agreed on collaboration via the UK's Biodiverse Landscapes Fund (BLF), an initiative designed to bolster the environmental richness of Cambodia.
Managed by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the BLF is a pivotal programme focusing on poverty reduction, biodiversity protection, and climate change mitigation. It casts its influence across six biodiverse landscapes worldwide, as outlined in the press release.
The BLF, the statement added, will allocate up to £15 million between 2023 and 2029 to the Lower Mekong landscape. Renowned for its unique biodiversity, the region encompasses the Annamites mountain range, cutting across Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Included in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), this area ranks amongst the world's top ten biodiversity hotspots and the five most threatened regions.
Marc Thayre expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, saying: "The impacts of climate change do not respect borders, and strong partnerships are essential to protecting the environment. I’m delighted therefore to agree to this collaboration between the UK and Cambodia."
He further underscored the significance of the BLF, highlighting its role in empowering local communities to bolster biodiversity conservation, reduce poverty, and enhance climate resilience.
Chea Samang focused on the potential societal benefits of the agreement, stating: "Improved livelihood of the local community is one of the top priorities of the government of Cambodia while sustaining biodiversity and natural resources for the generations to come in cooperation with the relevant partners."
“I am optimistic that BLF will support effective and sustainable management of biodiversity hotspots and enhanced community living conditions in the target areas through protected area land registration and zoning as well as green finance, capacity building and education,” he asserted.