Remarks by Richard Chen, Office Director, Sustainable Economic Growth Office, USAID Cambodia, Virtual Workshop on Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Landscape Management and REDD+ Implementation in Cambodia

Speeches Shim

Thursday, September 23, 2021

(as prepared for delivery)

 

●     Ms. Sonali Dayaratne, Acting UNDP Country Resident Representative

●     Mr. Dan Irwin, SERVIR Global Program Manager, Science Coordination Office, National Air and Space Administration

●     Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of USAID Cambodia, I would like to welcome all of you today to this special workshop on Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Landscape Management and REDD+ Implementation in Cambodia, organized by SERVIR-Mekong in coordination with USAID’s Greening Prey Lang project, Oregon State University, and UNDP.

SERVIR-Mekong a joint initiative of the United States Agency for International Development and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  We are especially appreciative of SERVIR’s development of decision making tools and services using open earth observation data and information for sustainable landscape management in Cambodia.

Cambodia is home to around 50 protected areas and a number of biodiversity corridors, which cover an area of approximately 7.5 million hectares - equating to 41 percent of the country’s total land area.  We appreciate the kind of effort it takes to conserve the biodiversity and natural resources contained in such an area, particularly its extensive forests.  The challenges are substantial, but USAID remains committed to helping Cambodia protect its forests effectively.

USAID’s environmental programs in Cambodia have achieved meaningful results that have improved the conservation and governance of Cambodia’s forest landscapes over the past 10 years.  This work continues today.

USAID continues its support for better forest protection through REDD+ in key landscapes such as Northern Plain, Prey Lang to ensure that they remain viable habitats for wildlife while facilitating the livelihoods of communities who depend on them.  Collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders to address the causes of deforestation, operate community forest management, and joint patrolling will be important elements of these REDD+ projects.

Since 2012, USAID has supported decision makers to better understand the impacts of management decisions on natural resource use.  Through the development of the Watershed Environmental Services Tool - or WESTool - we helped users assess the impacts of land use changes on ecosystem services across the country.

Enhancing the accessibility to near real-time deforestation data and information at all levels of forest management will be essential for forest monitoring and management at the protected area.  In this regard, SERVIR-Mekong and the USAID Greening Prey Lang collaborate to promote  science, geospatial technology, and open satellite data to develop decision support tools that help to enhance forest monitoring in protected area.  This includes:

  • The Synthetic Aperture Radar Forest disturbance alert tool that can detect deforestation and forest disturbance at any time and in all weather conditions.
  • The Biophysical monitoring and evaluation dashboard, that can monitor the change and improvement of vegetation and biological conditions at specific project sites, and is able to evaluate the conservation project implemented at landscape level.

These are important tools delivering critical results towards the conservation of Cambodia’s protected areas.  It is our hope that by working together, we can maximize their effectiveness.

Which is why are together today.  UNDP,  the USAID Greening Prey Lang project, and SERVIR-Mekong have organized this workshop to:

  • introduce SERVIR-Mekong’s tools and services, and discuss how geospatial technology and open data can provide better services to meet local stakeholder needs with regards to forest monitoring and REDD+ activities in Cambodia, and
  • to take feedback from a wider group of stakeholders on their future needs and explore possible new uses of SERVIR-Mekong’s geospatial technology.

I believe this collaboration will enable Cambodia to be ready for national REDD+ implementation and achieve the national target of maintaining 60 percent forest cover in the country.  It will also help the country align its National Forest Program to ensure the sustainable benefits for improving livelihoods, environmental services and overall economic development.

We are proud that USAID has been part of these efforts.  I wish you a very successful workshop and are looking forward to seeing the impact of these new tools.

Thank you!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 13, 2021

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