National Conference on Land and Natural Resource Governance

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Today, Cambodia is in a state of economic growth and poverty reduction. Cambodia has moved from least-developed to lower middle-income status and aspires to become an upper middle-income country by 2030. Statistics show that in 2007 the poverty rate was 47.8% and by 2014 it had been reduced drastically to 13.5%. Those numbers show a stark reality in terms of priority for the country in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction and development.

Four years after signing the agenda for SDG 2030, monumental challenges remain especially in relation to climate change. Increasing ocean acidification, coastal erosion, intensive natural disasters and collapse of ecosystems are putting food security at a paramount risk.

Oxfam has recently done global scenario planning engaging various stakeholders. Together, they have identified mega trends relating to climate emergency, rural-to-urban migration, technology, globalization, the shifting power balance from West to East and gender justice. Cambodia is consistently ranked among the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change. This is mostly due to its geographic layout and the low adaptive capacity of the people. In view of this we have invested in the Women Led Agricultural Service Team in which landless women are equipped with agricultural techniques and skills that provide local farming services to their community. These farming services range from sustainable rice intensification and vegetable cropping to aquaculture and animal husbandry. The team not only improved people’s livestock husbandry and income but also helped other small-scale farmers to maximize land usage for productivity.

The Royal Government of Cambodia has played an important role in resolving many land disputes and has issued land titles to many families. We are happy to see progress even though there are challenges in implementing the legal framework and policy. Some legal issues need clarification and sometimes the authorities are unclear regarding boundaries between land concessions.

Oxfam is working with different stakeholders from the government, development partners, the private sector and banks, alongside local and international organizations to inform and empower indigenous people and small-holder farmers and increase their voices to gain free access to and control over land and natural resources. Our approach is to promote gender justice, women leadership, influencing and capacity building by evidence-based research, direct engagement with stakeholders, coalition building and networking.