The Sixth Global Conference of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI-6) was held 12-14 January 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The conference was organized by the IPSI Secretariat and hosted by the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia, and included a meeting of the IPSI General Assembly, a Public Forum, and a day of excursions to several sites around Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.
The General Assembly is primarily a platform for information sharing and decisions regarding the future direction of IPSI among its members, and this year also included the rotation of the IPSI Steering Committee. The Public Forum is an opportunity for non-members to learn more about IPSI and its activities as well as a venue for discussion of different topics related to socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), their revitalization and sustainable management.
This year’s Public Forum was held as part of the interim review process for the IPSI Plan of Action 2013-2018, with working-group discussions around the theme “Planning and reviewing strategic actions for sustainable landscape and seascape management”. Six presentations were given on activities related to SEPLS in Cambodia, which also included a presentation on COMDEKS supported activities in the “Steung Siem Reap Watershed Landscape” by Ms. Ngin Navirak, the GEF SGP National Coordinator in Cambodia.
The COMDEKS Country Programme in Cambodia provided funding to seven local NGOs/CBOs, supporting local community organizations to enhance socio-ecological production landscape resilience by implementing sound biodiversity management and promoting sustainable livelihood activities with local communities to maintain, rebuild, and revitalize landscapes. Ms. Ngin Navirak illustrated the COMDEKS approach harnessing the synergies between livelihood improvement and conservation activities as well as between these seven COMDEKS-supported projects and complementary projects beyond the COMDEKS framework. She further presented an overview of major achievements, highlighting that through close cooperation between projects and encouraging communities to participate in activities to improve resilience of the ecosystems they depend on created further local interest in the continued collaboration among communities and with government bodies. By outlining some key challenges faced, Ms. Navirak finally shared lessons learned and recommendations for moving forward and replicating successes in further community-based initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods and conserving biodiversity.
The second day of the Public Forum primarily aimed at discussing the Strategic Objectives found in the IPSI Strategy and Plan of Action 2013-2018, by dividing participants into working groups for each of the Strategic Objectives. Based on the results elaborated and presented by each working group, a wrap-up discussion emphasized the importance of information sharing within the partnership as well as a “flat”, inclusive approach while maintaining a holistic perspective. Participants also highlighted the significant learning progress since the launch of IPSI five years ago, in additional to the wide variety of actions by partners facilitated through the Plan of Action. They expressed confidence that synergies among members will continue to be explored, and that further synergies may also be identified with other initiatives, including in the fields of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change.
Additional information can be found on the IPSI website.