ADB: $69 mln for forest protection in Cambodia, Laos, VN

The governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will receive loan and grant funds totaling US$69 million equivalent from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conserve threatened forests, the bank said Monday.

The governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will receive loan and grant funds totaling US$69 million equivalent from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conserve threatened forests, the bank said Monday.

An ADB announcement said the funding aims to protect more than 1.9 million hectares of threatened forest land, home to over 170,000 people, mostly poor and ethnic minority ones.

This file photo shows cows farmed in a forest area in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. The Asian Development Bank said Dec. 13, 2010 it approved funding totaling US$69 million equivalent for forest conservation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. (Photo: Tuong Thuy)
This file photo shows cows farmed in a forest area in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. The Asian Development Bank said Dec. 13, 2010 it approved funding totaling US$69 million equivalent for forest conservation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

The funds are allocated to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project, which follows a series of successful pilot conservation activities carried out earlier by GMS countries, ADB said.

“It marks the first investment to emerge from the pilot phase and provides a model for expanded and sustained local community participation in the management of these vital natural resources,” Pavit Ramachandran, environment specialist (regional cooperation) in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in the statement.

The funding includes a 32-year loan to Vietnam of $30 million equivalent from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund, including a grace period of 8 years, with an annual interest rate of 1% during the grace period, and 1.5% for the balance of the term.

The governments of Cambodia and Laos will receive grants of up to $19 million and $20 million, respectively, also from concessional resources, according to ADB.

The lender added the three governments would collectively inject $5.63 million equivalent, with beneficiaries providing in-kind contributions totaling $2.14 million, for a total project cost of almost $77 million.

The project will include the planting of native trees and other plants to restore habitats in over 19,000 hectares of degraded forest land. It will also raise the capacity of national and provincial agencies and community-level groups to plan and sustainably manage forests, while supporting security of land tenure for poor households and ethnic minority groups dependent on forest resources.

Women will be an integral part of the labor teams carrying out the restoration work, while more than 4,770 households and over 4,000 farmers will receive cash and technical support for livelihood enhancements, according to ADB.

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