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First Look: Faith and Environmental Action in Cambodia

April 22, 2013

In celebration of Earth Day 2013, this report by WFDD represents a preliminary exploration of faith-inspired environmental initiatives in Cambodia. Environmental issues, especially deforestation, are becoming more visible in Cambodia and are a focus of considerable international concern and attention because Cambodia sits on some of the world's hotspots for biological diversity and because of mounting concerns about forest cutting.

Faith-inspired organizations, and particularly local Buddhist organizations, are actively engaged in confronting the issues, through various means, most of them centered at the community and grassroots level. Most prominent are efforts to educate citizens and promote environmental protection. Several organizations work directly with issues of forest protection, which is linked in many cases to land rights; while others look beyond to issues of agricultural sustainability and livelihoods, which also have a significant impact on the environment if handled irresponsibly.

This report represents a less thorough exploration than the previous reports in WFDD’s Cambodia series. It does not present an exhaustive effort to “map” faith-inspired environmental programs. Instead it highlights a few examples of ongoing work that illustrate the complexity of environmental programming in Cambodia, and the varying motivations behind this work. The report's principal conclusion is that faith institutions can and should be active participants in efforts to address environmental challenges for Cambodia.

We welcome comments and ideas on next steps.

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