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26 September 2023 - News

Press Release | Nurturing Prosperity: European Union and Cambodian Authorities Assess Impact of CAPFISH Program in the Tonle Sap biosphere



Press Release

Nurturing Prosperity: European Union and Cambodian Authorities Assess Impact of CAPFISH Program in the Tonle Sap biosphere

Phnom Penh, 26 September 2023_A high-level delegation from the Fisheries Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia (EU), and the Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector (CAPFISH) Steering Committee visited Tonle Sap between 20 to 22 September. The visit showcased the latest developments in education, conservation and the improved livelihoods of those communities bordering the Tonle Sap due to the EU-funded CAPFISH program, implemented by Oxfam, Save the Children, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

During the visit, the delegation engaged with local communities, prechools, primary and secondary schools, and the local administration in Thnal Chheuteal village and PrekToal Ramsar     Site at the heart of the Tonle Sap biosphere to better understand the programs and their concrete benefits to the local community. They observed the program's positive impact on natural resource conservation and community livelihoods, whilst commending the collaborative efforts of the implementing organizations involved.

The CAPFISH initiative has empowered fishing communities in 10 Cambodian provinces, 6 bordering the Tonle Sap lake along with a further 4 on the coast, focusing on sustainable fisheries, education, access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation. The program aims for a resilient and inclusive development of Cambodia's fisheries sector.

Mr Savoeun Khun, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said: “We are pleased to witness the positive impact of EU’s funded projects in Tonle Sap implemented by Oxfam, Save the Children and WCS Cambodia. It was an insightful visit to see the impact of these projects to local communities and natural resource management. We commend the collaborative effort of all the stakeholders and reiterate our commitment to working together to address the challenges in the region. We would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to the European Union for supporting the biggest programme ever in developing fisheries sector in Cambodia.’’

Mr Koen EVERAERT, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the European Union to Cambodia, said: “The EU CAPFISH programme remains committing to work with MAFF and civil society partners to support sustainable development of fisheries sector and environmental conservation in Cambodia. The EU’s funded projects in Tonle Sap exemplify our shared vision of promoting good practices both in protecting nature and improving the living standard of local communities. This is the largest fisheries program funded by the EU globally, that could be one of the trend-setters in this area” 

Ms. Sophoan Phean, Oxfam National Director: "Our EU-funded FOSTER project has empowered over 5,833 marginalized children, established 14 Community Green Business Hubs, impacting 1,739 households, and launched the Tonle Sap Eco-Tourism Network (TEN) to support community fisheries to generate alternative income through tourism.”

Alistair Mould, WCS Country Director: "Our 'Our Tonle Sap' project has reduced illegal fishing and supported climate-smart activities like SMART petrol, sustainable rice platform, tree planting, fire management and reforestation for fishing conservation, which has contributed to a decrease in illegal fishing in 5 provinces around the lake."

Mr. Hong Reaksmey, Country Director of Save the Children: "Our EU-funded GREEN project has improved access to water and sanitation for 647 households and educational facilities for over 4,500 students."

For media inquiries, please contact:

Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation |, 023 220 611

Oxfam | Naratevy Kek, Media and Communications Manager, 012847412

Save the Children in Cambodia | Mr Taing Vida, Communications and Campaign Manager, 016 541616

WCS Cambodia | Ms. Chan Phalkun, Communications Manager, 017940036 


Note to editors: 

The CAPFISH Program Steering Committee includes the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economic and Finance, Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Save the Children (REDD BARNA), with the EU grant of €4 million, is implementing a four-year project (March 2021-February 2025) to support fishing communities in Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom provinces to improve socio-economic status and resilience to climate change, through improved access to WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene), waste management systems, green economy initiatives and education.

Oxfam, with the EU granted of €4 million, is implementing a four-year project (2021- 2024) to support fishing communities in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces to improve access to safe water supply, education, sanitation, waste management services, sustainable management of community natural resources, as well as to improve livelihoods and employment opportunities. Click HERE to learn more about the FOSTER project. 

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Ministry of Environment and its partners, with EU aid of €4.9, is running a four-year project (2021-2024) in Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey provinces to enhance management and restoration of critical habitats to facilitate resilience to environmental change and to improve governance and policy to reduce drivers of environmental change.