In Asia, Cambodia has exhibited one of the highest rates of diminishing forest cover due to several drivers of degradation such as unsustainable and illegal logging. While consuming its forest resources not only for local use but for export to Vietnam, China and Laos, woods and timber extraction have been prevalent even in the protected areas. ASSIST together with Bureau Veritas and DEG launched PRO-FOREST – a project that aims to promote sustainable forest management and minimizing further socio-economic and environmental impact, through demonstration of FM concepts, principles and techniques.
The project carried out stakeholder awareness and capacity building events on sustainable FM systems and demonstrated compliance with regulatory requirements as well as preparation for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-FM Certification. Local consultants and auditors’ training and gap assessments were launched with learnings showcased during the best practices forum.
As a result of the project’s actions, collaboration with local communities and stakeholders was established. Knowledge transfer was effectively organized and representatives of local communities, experts, and local auditors were trained to implement the FSC certification schemes in Cambodia. In order to ensure project sustainability, forest owners and managers were trained in developing forest management plans while pilot communities were also oriented for the preparation of FSC certification.