Supporting policy development for sustainable financing


Establishing and managing protected areas and conserving forests comes at a cost. WCS supports works with partner governments in the development of policies that will finance future conservation, measure the impact of economic development and ensure that local people can shape, and benefit from, natural resource development. Possible options for sustainable conservation financing include: 

  •  taxes, fees and fines levied on forest and non-timber forest products; 
  •  payment for environmental services, such as for tourism, water or carbon and climate revenues; 
  •  offsets; impact investments for forestry development and conservation; 
  •  or establishing forest conservation trust funds. 
In Cambodia and Myanmar, WCS is exploring which financing mechanisms might work. The full assessment for Myanmar has fed into the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, supported by the Global Environment Fund for protected areas, and the assessment for Cambodia has influenced the development of the country’s first Environmental Code.




Above: 100 households in Andong Kralong village in Keo Seima, Cambodia can now enjoy clean, piped water as they share in the benefits generated from selling carbon credits in the Seima REDD+ project. This process rewards support from communities in reducing deforestation, and supports their village development aspirations.


WCS is active across the GMS investigating how REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation Plus) can finance conservation. WCS has developed the first government-owned REDD+ project of a significant size for Cambodia in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.

Through the REDD+ mechanism, Cambodia is selling its reductions in carbon emissions that result from not logging an area of forest.

WCS continues to support policy development on REDD, including investigating how jurisdictional REDD could work. This approach mitigates the risk of ‘leakage’ – the displacement of emission-causing activities to areas outside the project boundary – by monitoring emissions across an entire jurisdictional area. The jurisdictional approach has been adopted as Cambodian government policy, and has been integrated into the national REDD strategy.

The Keo Seima REDD+ project aligns benefit sharing with the commune investment plan – the government planning process. This ensures that all stakeholders benefit from the project, but without setting up a system parallel to government. As a result, lines of communication among communities, government institutions and protected area authorities have been improved by project activities.

Find out more

Download the Keo Seima REDD+ Project brief

© WCS/Dominique le Roux
Photo Credit: © WCS/Dominique le Roux

Above: View across Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia where a REDD+ project aligns benefit sharing with the government planning process.

  • Many of the target protected areas have been established quite recently and na-tional budget investment has thus far been low, with little funding available for basic management needs.
  • Sustainable conservation financing calls for a diverse range of funding mecha-nisms; protected areas should not rely exclusively on government budget al-locations or external support, but need sufficiently varied sources to allow conservation to continue.
  • National governments need to take the lead on designing appropriate mecha-nisms that take into account local laws, administrative capacity and markets.

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