Sustainable financing needed to preserve environment

04 March 2008 | News story

Government officials from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand held discussions last week about promoting sustainable financing to ensure enough funding to protect the environment and livelihoods of villagers.

Government officials from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand held discussions last week about promoting sustainable financing to ensure enough funding to protect the environment and livelihoods of villagers.

Experts attending the regional roundtable meeting last Friday said large amounts of funding for natural resource protection currently came from donors, and new sources to sustain this funding would need to be identified.

Senior Programme Officer of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Mr Xiong Tsechalicha, said had significant potential to encourage sustainable financing through fee collection from national parks and hydropower projects.

“In some protected areas where ecotourism activities are being conducted, fees have been collected from tourists to protect natural resources,” he said.

However, the Country Group Head of IUCN for , and , Dr Katherine Warner, said there was currently not enough funding going to the sustainable management of natural resources.

“What we are doing is trying to promote sustainable finance mechanisms that will provide more funding to protected areas and other areas that need protection,” she said.

She told Vientiane Times during the meeting that sustainable financing did not have to come from donors, but should instead come from fees collected for the use of natural resources.

The meeting was part of the Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Programme, bringing together officials from the four countries, along with representatives from implementing partners, both regional and country-specific, to share experiences and learn from each other.

The primary focus of the roundtable was the identification and establishment of funding mechanisms that will allow protected areas and corridors to function in the long term in the greater Mekong region.

The goal of the programme is to work with multiple levels of shareholders to improve sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the greater Mekong Sub-region.

“There is an urgent need to be able to look at new sources of financing for biodiversity conservation and people in rural areas who are ready to protect the environment and are not receiving any benefits from that,” Dr Warner said.

The Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Programme is being implemented in , , , , and southern , but the programme is active in , and

By Vientiane Times