Enhancing Sustainability through the Building of Capabilities:
Analysis of Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) Development
in Cambodian Protected Areas
Baromey NETH, Sam Ol RITH, and Makoto YOKOHARI
Over decades, sustainability concepts have gained its momentum and interest among policy-makers, developers, and scholars in the world. Sustainable development (SD) policies have been formulated in order to assist relevant stakeholders at all levels to apply these concepts. A number of policy strategies have also been invented for actual implementation on the ground with an attempt to achieve sustainability goals. This paper aims to examine SD policy strategies, especially in the developing context, and determine how they contribute to sustainability. The case of CBET development as a sustainability tool to achieve both conservation and community development goals in Cambodian protected areas, where the application of sustainability concepts remains questionable, is critically analyzed in this respect. First, this paper discusses the emergence of SD as a global policy by reflecting concepts of sustainability and challenges to their implementations in developing countries. Then, it elucidates rationalities behind the selection of CBET as a sustainability tool, while challenges to CBET implementation are also well-elaborated. The review of literature on CBET development in Cambodia and in other developing nations has provided a foreground for understanding factors contributing to the success or failure of CBET projects. Building upon these CBET experiences, the authors have constructed a “community capabilities” concept and its integral components for enhancing sustainability in CBET community. Empirical analysis of this concept in one of the best practice CBET sites in Cambodia is revealed to provide better understanding of a need to incorporate proper and vital constituents for community capabilities building while enriching theoretical stance on the applicability of this concept in contributing to SD.
Key words: Community-based ecotourism, sustainability, sustainability policy strategies, community capabilities