3S Rivers Protection Network (3SPN) is a local civil society organization, works in close cooperation with partners at all levels regionally, nationally, locally including government, national and international NGOs, and indigenous families located along the 3S revers (Sekong, Sesan, and Srepork) in Ratanakiri and Steung Treng Provinces. It works to along the 3S Rivers so that people can claim their rights in decisions made over the development project, to allow them to continue protect the natural resources that sustain their livelihoods. To do this, 3SPN works in collaboration with all relevant partners to strengthen community voice.
Over the next 3 years, 3SPN will follow 3 strategic goals:
- Supporting community based advocacy to promote the rights of local communities in decisions regarding their natural resources and hydropower development.
- Strengthening livelihoods and fisheries management for food security.
- Empowering 3SPN’s Community Based Organizations to lead the network with programmatic and management support from 3SPN. The basis of this strategy will be to promote community ownership and strengthen.
2- Statement of Needs
The 5 CBOs and other networks which 3SPN works with continue to lack management capacity and to be able to represent community interests without ongoing technical and advisory support from 3SPN. As mentioned, it is vitally important that potentially dam affected communities situated along the Mekong River benefit from the 3S communities’ advocacy experiences. For these reasons, there is an important need for 3SPN to continue to support communities to build strong networks through facilitating exchange visits and mutual support, preparing information dissemination materials, sharing information via social media, etc.
3- Project Description
3SPN project incorporates 3 strategic goals as follows:
Goal 1: Community Based Advocacy:
Community based advocacy will continue through involving, informing and supporting the 82 villages in the 3S Network. This will focus on supporting the District level CBOs which serve as hubs for the network in each district. With the completion of the LS2 dam, fish migration from the Tonle Sap and Mekong River will be blocked and the livelihoods of communities along the 3S rivers upstream from this dam will be seriously impacted.
To support communities to strengthen their voice, 3SPN will provide trainings on storytelling, public speaking, strengthen youth fora, support information dissemination events, carry out research and prepare information documents, and support communities to use social media to disseminate research results and allow communities to tell their stories first hand.
Goal 2: Livelihood and fisheries conservation:
This goal will focus on supporting community fisheries (CFi) to function effectively. There are 14 CFis covering 47 villages. These require ongoing support to be able to deal with illegal fishing which is often perpetrated by more powerful people. 3SPN needs to: (a) Strengthen the capacity of management committees and ensure the CFi membership is active, (b) with partner NGOs, support an active CFi network in the 3S area so members are able to raise their concerns and deal with illegal fishing, (c) Support collaboration with the Ratanakiri Fisheries Office (Hun Sen, 2017). Other forms of livelihood strengthening will also be developed depending on community action plans. 3SPN will facilitate exchanges with communities already involved in these livelihoods and/or 3SPN will source appropriate technical support.
Goal 3: Empowering 3SPN’s Community Based Organisations to lead the network:
3SPN will continue to strengthen the functioning of the five established CBOs so that they are able to effectively defend and negotiate for their communities’ interests and voice their concerns. Activities will include: a) support these CBOs so they are better able to develop their own advocacy plans and campaigns and livelihood strengthening strategies, b) support governance through strengthening leadership, representation, project management, networking/communication, etc. c) support CBOs to manage their own small grants for livelihood strengthening and advocacy including fundraising, financial literacy (bookkeeping), reporting, etc. c) ensure downward accountability mechanisms are in place and functioning so that community members and groups are able to actively participate and influence decision making.
4- Cross- Cutting Issues
The priority cross-cutting issues for 3SPN are gender, children and youth, and indigenous peoples’ involvement. Gender issues will be promoted as an integral part of 3SPN’s strategy. We also recognize and respect local cultures and rights in all aspects of project planning and operation due to the high percentage of indigenous communities in 3SPN’s target area. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable due to the loss of livelihood systems and their basic rights. Many children could face malnutrition because of the loss of fish which is such an important part of local peoples’ diet (NSFSN, 2014).
The expectations after this project is finished are:
- The CBO members will be able to carry out research, and respond to requests for press and radio interviews by themselves.
- The CBOs will be able to develop and implement a strategic plan, and mobilize and manage small grant resources.
- Community Fisheries will be able to monitor and conserve fish species in cooperation with the local authorities and provincial CFi office.
- Community representatives will be able to provide training to use media, research and compile documents for advocacy to other community members.
The communities will understand the impacts of dam projects, and use their advocacy experiences to question and stand up for their rights in the case of future proposed dams on the 3S rivers including; the Lower Srepork 3 , the Srepork 4, the Sesan 3, and the Lower Sekong dams.
7- Project Contribution
This project contributes to several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including those related to: poverty reduction, gender equality, fisheries management, climate change, strengthening justice, and building strong institutions (SDG, 2017). Specifically, this project will seek to prevent social and environmental harm from hydropower projects, including pollution, flooding, changing water levels, blocked fish migrations, and impacts to indigenous community’s forest spirits, and ancestral graves. It will also support communities in developing other less destructive models of economic development. This project also contributes to Chapter IV of Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2014-2018, related to strengthening good governance and sub-national institutional capacities, the sustainable management of natural resources and fisheries, the development of green growth strategies (NSDP, 2014) etc.
Cambodia Daily. (2017, March ). Kith Meng Backs Plan for Three Hydropower Dams. Retrieved from https://www.cambodiadaily.com/morenews/kith-meng-backs-plans-for-three-hydropower-dams-124528/
Hun Sen. (2017, September 22). Sirculation on the Nessesary Measurement on Strengthening the Management of Natural Resources. p. Circula by Royal Government of Cambodia.
National Forum. (2017). Conflict Resolution about Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam Case. Phnom Penh.
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NSFSN. (2014). National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition. In NSFSN 2014-2018 (pp. 5-8). Phnom Penh: Council for Agricultural and Rural Development CAR.
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