Mapping Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in Mondulkiri
Cambodia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Southeast Asia, as it faces the risks of multiple forms of hazards compounded by communities with low adaptive capacity. The percentage of the country’s population affected by natural disasters annually is significant, leaving the livelihoods, security and well-being of villagers exposed to risk throughout the year.
Mondulkiri is the largest province of Cambodia, and is characterized as remote, rugged and diverse in natural resources. The province has become increasingly important to the economic development of Cambodia, and its location in the North-East section of the country, bordered by Viet Nam and Lao PDR, also makes it of interest to international partners in trade. Recently, the integrity of Mondulkiri’s resources has been threatened by rampant logging and mining activities, leaving the landscape of the province fragmented. The communities that live in the province, mainly comprised of ethnic minorities and indigenous groups, are strongly reliant upon these resources, making these villages increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of more frequent hazards and further environmental degradation.
Though rich in tradition and heritage, shifts in both the political and physical climate of Cambodia have had strong impacts on the lives of indigenous populations. Facing changes in the way they can access and use resources which have been central to their livelihoods, these communities have continued to be marginalized by decisions which have been made regarding developments in the management of provincial forests and other natural assets. The recent implementation of policies and laws promoting sustainable resource management practices and disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts, however, have the potential to positively include these communities in decisions which impact their well-being. These institutional initiatives are further supported by the current context of decentralization reforms and the distribution of mandates at the sub-national and community levels now on-going in Cambodia.