CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- About 23 dignitaries and members of non-government organizations (NGO) from the Kingdom of Cambodia recently conducted an exposure visit to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to benchmark on knowledge and best practices on lands and forest governance.
The event also focused on customary tenure rights of indigenous people to enhance forest and natural resource management in the region.
The Cambodian delegation was headed by Ouk Vannara, deputy director of the Non-Government Organization Forum of Cambodia, the counterpart of the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme in the Philippines (NTFP-EP).
Femy Pinto, executive director of the NTFP Asia, said the exposure visit aims to strengthen cooperation with Philippine government and increase the knowledge and skills of NGO and officials of Cambodia on sustainable co-management on land and natural resources.
"This visit is beneficial to both countries to exchange ideas about mechanisms in promoting forest tenure security and forestry in protected area as well as in improving land and natural resources governance in Cambodia," she said.
According to Minerva Martinez, chief of the conservation and development division of DENR regional office, the Cambodian delegates have gained knowledge and lessons in the implementation of the DENR's community-based forestry programs, biodiversity conservation and protected area management.
"We are happy to have this exchange program with our fellow Asian country, as this is beneficial to both of us in our quest for sustainable forest and natural resources management and in empowering our communities and the indigenous people as important stewards of our environment," she said.
NTFP-EP Asia is a non-profit organization based in Quezon City, Philippines and a collaborative network of over 60 NGOs and community-based organizations working with forest-based communities to strengthen their capacity in the sustainable management of natural resources in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
The NGO Forum is a network of civil society organizations in Cambodia that conducts policy analysis, monitoring, and advocacy on a variety of issues, including national development plan, national budget aid, natural resource management, hydropower dams, sustainable agriculture, indigenous minority rights, climate change, and extractive industry.
The organization is based in Phnom Penh and was founded in the early 1980's to campaign for an end to the aid embargo on Cambodia.