Saving Cambodia’s Great Lake

Dear Fellow Cambodians;

First of all, we should pray for those Cambodians who are under fear of flooding. During this unusual flooding, many farmers claimed death, many claimed homeless and many claimed starvation. Not counting the rice paddies which those young seeds are devastated by water, live stocks and commodities are in danger and scarce.

What could we describe on this natural disaster in Cambodia? And what measures are we going to gauge for?

Natural resource is substantial source for national development. Human capital, financial capital and social capital is among important capitals to lift up national prosperity and dignity. Otherwise, natural capital has been debated in recent political dialogue among political scientists.

Political scientists pointed out that there are many countries in this world which leaders have used natural capital as tool to step up to power or maintain their power. The uses of natural capital for personal wealth and power have happened among ancient kingdoms and it has continued to modern day in some countries. Scholars called “failed states” for those countries that have misused natural capital or they have used it for personal wealth and power by allowing their citizens who is the owners of that natural capital live in a dirty poor and indignitary situation. Among those scholars, James Scott named it “predatory states”.

Amartya Sen described natural capital as the national wealth which can endorse national development if the government can manage good governance on the use of those national wealth. Misusing national wealth result in poverty, insecurity and conflict in a society. For Sen, the Nobel Peace Price Laureates economist on the theory of social choice and social welfare, his approach shed light on how government manage the national wealth for equal distribution to all citizens it is governing.

For environmentalist, the growth of economics is not from something else, but it is only the capability of subtracting from the existing natural resource. The overwhelming subtraction of natural capital has resulted in global warming, pollution, soil erosion and famine etc.

In Cambodia, the shape of the country is comparing like the bottom of the pan. All lucks, species and fertilizers have annually entrapped into the center of this pan bottom: the Tonle Sap Lake or Wesnters called it “The Great Lake”. Hence, from year to year, this great lake has become shallowed by the hand of the people. The people is partly blamable for the cause of this unsustainable use of the Tonle Sap Lake, but the key accountability importantly rests on the authority who should have political will to lay down proper management on Cambodian natural capital and take immediate action to handle it before it is too late for protecting our Great Lake.

According to the documentary made by ADB (Asia Development Bank) in 2005, the steps taken by community actions are very vital; but the capitalism dealt within the lake by accommodating more than half of the Lake space for private company concessions is a warning danger for poor families whose living is depending on the Lake and the continue erosion of Lake soil caused by cutting trees for farms and hunting.

Please, watch all three video clips in both Khmer and English language for the effort of “Saving Cambodia’s Great Lake” by ADB.

Part I

Part II

Part III