Baromey Neth, Béatrice Knerr:
Development Synergy for Core Areas in the Tonle Sap Great Lake Region: Challenges and Opportunities for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods


University of Kassel, Department of Development Economics, Migration and Agricultural Policy, Germany

In order to achieve economic development and poverty alleviation goals in a natural resources rich region, more attention should be paid to conserving and sustaining its biodiversity. Many studies have proved that biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods in rural areas need to be addressed correctly and concurrently. Even if, recently, the willpower of Cambodian government to apply integrated and systematic approaches in natural resources management (NRM) and sustainable development in Tonle Sap Great Lake (TSGL), a region of chronic human poverty, it is elusive that success can be achieved easily. Therefore, there is a need for the government to maximise the development synergy to promote sustainable rural community livelihood while building a culture of sustainable use of natural resources. This will help to make biodiversity well-preserved from the effort of local communities and other interest groups.

Using the case of TSGL core areas, Boeung Tonle Chhmar and Stung Sen, in northern Cambodia, this article discusses the intervention of multi-sectoral policies and development frameworks in the region. A number of integrated mitigation mechanisms for local livelihood improvement and NRM have been debated in the paper. The study provides alternative insights concerning livelihood situation and capital assets of locals. Current and future development aids, challenges of poverty"=related activities and institutional adjustment of concerned institutions in supporting more community development and incentive"=driven conservation are also argued. This paper shows that the Cambodian government and its development partners should consider short"=term and long"=term development objectives to apply in TSGL core areas. In pursuit of success, following strategies need to be taken into serious account: good political will; local empowerment; clear definition of boundary and responsibilities; good coordination and collaboration among concerned stakeholders; investment in local small, medium and micro enterprise economy (SMME) in TSGL core areas and in nearby regions; payment for environmental service (PES) and appropriate environmental management system (EMS); harmonisation and integration of policies and projects; and appropriate land use planning.

Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, development synergy, sustainable livelihood


Contact Address: Baromey Neth, University of Kassel, Department of Development Economics, Migration and Agricultural PolicySteinstrasse 19, D-37213 Witzenhausen, Germany, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, November 2007