Speaker Bio: Siem Sun is Cambodian. He was born in Banteay Meanchey province on the border to Thailand, so he is able to speak Thai. In 2008, he moved to Mondulkiri province in Northeastern Cambodia to work with HealthNet Inter- national and Health Unlimited. He has been working with International Cooperation Cambodia (ICC) since 2013 with the “Improved Indigenous Livelihoods” team. This was when he learned that the forest is very important to indigenous minority livelihoods. His organization is working to support people to re ect on the changing context and enable them to nd solutions by themselves.
Abstract: Siem Sun will talk about the general livelihoods situation of indigenous minority groups in northeastern Cambodia who depend on paddy rice and upland rice growing, shifting cultivation, animal raising, and nontimber forest products during the rainy season and dry season. He will also discuss changes in the current livelihoods situation. People are changing their practices and planting cash crops like cassava and rubber, leading to traditional seed loss and soil depletion. Many outside companies are destroying the forest for their rubber and palm oil plantations and for timber to sell to Vietnam and China. Some villagers, especially the youth, are also involved in illegal logging and in selling timber to the companies. Most of the forest is now controlled by the companies due to economic land concessions, so villages have less access to nontimber forest products and wildlife. Lastly, Sun will discuss what ICC has done to help. ICC helps villages re ect on their changing context and on the forest destruction. Together they have come up with solutions like protecting the forest, seed saving, increasing unity, preparing plant nurseries, and holding cultural arts and environment workshops.