The Cardamom Conundrum: Reconciling Development and Conservation in the Kingdom of Cambodia
NUS Press, 2012 M02 1 - 352 pages
A "conundrum" is a puzzle whose solution requires the resolution of a paradox. In this instance, the paradox lies in two widely held and conflicting assumptions: that the pathway to a modern economy requires exploiting and monetizing a country's natural resources, and that the long-term prosperity of a nation depends on the conservation of those same resources. This book consciously seeks to avoid the mentality of "trade-offs", where pro-development advocates view conservation efforts as impediments and conservationists are convinced that development inevitably leads to a loss for nature. Instead, through an evaluation of opportunities in the still pristine forests of the Cardamom Mountains and surrounding landscapes, the author seeks to demonstrate that wise management of a nation's renewable natural resources will facilitate economic growth. Resolving the Cardamom Conundrum demands an economic model that provides robust growth, and that alleviates poverty over the short term and eradicates it over the medium term. Any other solution is impractical and morally unacceptable. The author points the way by indentifying innovative options linked to climate finance and low carbon development strategies that span the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
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