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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forests Threatened By Logging Free-for-All

Forests Threatened By Logging Free-for-All

With the signing of the peace accords and the end of more than a decade of economic

isolation, Cambodia is open for business again-and the main business is logging.

In the scramble before a new national government is elected next spring, the push

is on for loggers to haul out as much timber as possible. The virtual lack of government

timbering regulations is enabling overseas investors, Cambodian resistance factions,

and the Phnom Penh government itself to carve up and sell off the country's rich

forest resources.

Strewn along the roadsides throughout the country lie piles of freshly cut pine,

teak, and rosewood awaiting delivery to ports, borders, or one of thousands of local

sawmills. For anyone with connections to log and export, it's a financial dream come

true.

For one U.N. agency, the situation is more of an ecological nightmare. The United

Nations Development Program (UNDP) is pushing for an "environmental ceasefire"

which would include a logging export ban. Such a ceasefire would create a window

of time to thoroughly assess Cambodia's natural resources and launch measures to

monitor, manage, and protect them.

Cambodia entered an unprecedented period of "asset stripping" of its forests

following the signing of the peace accords last fall, according to a UNDP study prepared

for the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro

in May.

"Throughout Cambodia now everyone is in a 'get rich quick' mode-whether it's

to fuel war chests for elections or personal enrichment prior to possibly leaving

office," said John Dennis of World Wide Fund for Nature, who co-authored the

UNDP report with Gregory Wordsworth.

Building Boom

On the coast of the southwest province of Koh Kong, villagers are now using portable

saw mills and earning up to $800 a month in profit by selling to Thai and Singaporean

buyers who have ships anchored off shore. Such earnings are ten times higher than

that of a civil servant's, many of whom go months without receiving paychecks because

the government coffers are empty.

The U.S. $2 billion U.N. peacekeeping effort itself could exacerbate Cambodia's environmental

problems. With the arrival of 20,000 U.N. troops and administrators, Cambodia's cities

are experiencing a building boom as dozens of new restaurants open and decaying villas

get facelifts. A new market has been created for small-scale wood processing and

charcoal to produce sawn timber, furniture, and kiln-dried bricks and tiles.

"The U.N. presence itself. . .will greatly intensify pressures on forest resources

which are already unsustainable," the UNDP report said. "Unless these issues

are addressed by the SNC and UNTAC, the U.N. presence becomes in certain respects

'part of the problem' from the perspective of sustainable development."

As Cambodia moves towards a peacetime economy, the housing and firewood needs of

170,000 out-of-work soldiers and 380,000 refugees returning from Thai border camps

will cut even further into Cambodia's dwindling forest reserves.

Unless other options are available, UNDP fears that many of the refugees and former

soldiers will turn to damaging agricultural practices in ecologically sensitive areas,

enter the logging business, or cut and sell firewood.

Truckdriver Seng Phon, 30 was a government soldier until five months ago, but now

supports his family by transporting logs from Koh Kong to Kandal province.

"I stopped being a soldier because I didn't have enough food to eat," said

Phon, who makes two 800,000 riel (U.S. $800) for a truckload of 11 to 12 logs. "This

way I have a better standard of living."

Aggravating the effects of the timber trade, small scale woodcutting and charcoal

production also pose a threat to the forests. Poor villagers needing a source of

income during the dry season cut trees when their rice fields are unproductive.

In heavily deforested Kompong Speu province, the U.N. has recently repatriated several

dozen refugee families next to the Phnom Srong mountains. Although red skull-and-crossbones

signs warn of the danger of hundreds of mines in the vicinity, it hasn't taken long

for the newcomers to find mine-free areas to forage for firewood.

"We go to the mountains to collect wood, but we only dare to go up one mountain

because all the others are mined," said Kou Try, 42, a former resident of Site

2 refugee camp in Thailand. The refugee families are already finding it difficult

to find firewood after only a month in Phnom Srong, Try said. "We have to go

higher and higher on the mountain to find wood now," he said.

With some 250,000 hectares cut last year, Cambodia has one of the highest per capita

rates of deforestation in the world, according to UNDP. At this rate, Cambodia will

lose most of its natural forest cover within five to 10 years.

"We're killing the chicken instead of eating the eggs," said the operator

of one of Phnom Penh's largest sawmills as he ran his hands along a newly sawn plank.

The sawmill operator said most of his wood comes from the Cardamom mountains in western

Cambodia, an area famous for its wildlife and slated for protection before 1970.

At the time Cambodia's neighboring countries were losing their wildlife at breakneck

speed but vast areas of Cambodia were still populated with rare and endangered species

such as the Javan rhino, kouprey, marbled cat, Siamese crocodile, and pileated gibbon.

Even before the signing of the peace accords last fall, Cambodia's forests may have

already been reduced from its original 13 million hectares (73 percent of Cambodia's

total land area of 18 million hectares) to as low as seven million hectares, according

to the UNDP study.

The effect of the long-term deforestation in Cambodia already made itself felt in

August 1991 when a flash flood in the Mekong watershed caused an estimated $150 million

in damage to farms and fisheries. The cutting of timber in Kompong Speau, Takeo,

and Kampot, by reducing the soil's ability to absorb and retain rainwater, exacerbated

the effects of a particularly heavy rainfall.

"The flood did more damage in 24 hours than the value of all the timber that

had been extracted that contributed to the flood," said UNDP's John Dennis.

Fueling the Khmer Rouge

An export logging ban recommended by UNDP is likely to meet stiff resistance from

some of the members of the Supreme National Council, an interim body comprised of

representatives of all four factions-the Phnom Penh government, the Khmer Rouge,

the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF), and FUNCINPEC (Prince Ranariddh's

faction).

All of the factions are involved in the timber trade, according to UNDP. After the

Phnom Penh government, the Khmer Rouge is thought to be the largest exporter of timber,

shipping some 200,000 cubic meters of wood to Thailand from a wide swath of territory

it controls in western Cambodia near Pailin.

Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary told the Bangkok Nation recently that the Khmer Rouge

has had to resort to timber trade for economic survival.

"After the peace agreement was signed in Paris our Chinese friends stopped all

assistance so we have to sell some trees to the Thais to meet the immediate needs

of the people," Sary said.

[Mention FUNCINPEC's announcement of logging ban]. A representative of FUNCINPEC-which

UNDP estimates is exporting 128,000 cubic meters of timber to Thailand this year-admitted

that the group was selling logging concessions in Oddar Meanchay province.

"We have a few logs to sell to Thailand-from our zone in the north," said

FUNCINPEC Press Officer Ek Sereywath. "We give the Thais some small concessions.

But the amount of logging we do is very little compared to the other factions."

The UNDP report estimated that the KPNLF was exporting 50,000 cubic meters of timber

to Thailand. But KPNLF Information Officer Pol Ham said the group-led by former Cambodian

Prime Minister Son Sann-not only wasn't involved in the timber trade, but supported

an outright logging ban.

"Now each faction is trying to get the most money for their own faction,

not the nation," Ham said. "For the KPNLF, everything in principle should

be controlled strictly by UNTAC and the SNC."

Ham stressed that he couldn't speak for a break-off group from the KPNLF led by General

Sak Suksatkorn, the Liberal Democratic Party.

Until recently Cambodia has been economically isolated from the international donor

community because of a decade-long trade embargo led by the United States. Matters

weren't helped much by the withdrawal of $60 million a year in aid from the Soviet

Union upon its dissolution last year.

To fuel its need for hard currency and building materials, the Phnom Penh government

turned to timber exports, which UNDP estimates currently generates more than 80 percent

of foreign exchange earnings.

Despite mounting public concern over deforestation, the Phnom Penh government is

pushing ahead with the signing of foreign logging concessions with at least three

companies from Thailand, France and Singapore, totalling 145,000 cubic meters. At

least another five contracts, totalling 175,000 cubic meters, are currently under

consideration. [Talk to Chim So Mean; Mention contract signed in June] The government

also has a joint venture with a Japanese sawmill on the outskirts of Phnom Penh that

processes up to 60 cubic meters a day of pine for export.

The UNDP report projects that these concessions, along with domestic supplies, add

up to at least 320,000 cubic meters of Cambodian wood that will be cut by the central

government in 1992.

UNDP estimates that total amount of timber cut by government contractors, resistance

factions, and poachers could be as high as 2 million cubic meters for 1992, with

more than half of that slated for export. That amount is 2.5 to 5 times above the

country's sustainable yield.

"The amount being taken out by the state is okay. But together with the illegal

logging, the amount cut is very bad for us," said Dr. Ing Mok Mareth, chairman

of the State of Cambodia's Natural Environmental Committee and vice minister of agriculture.

Nonetheless, Mareth disputes UNDP's assessment that Cambodia is exceeding its sustainable

yield. "I agree that Cambodia is being deforested," he said. "I only

question the amount. You can fly all over Cambodia and all you see is green."

"We have enough forests for exploitation," Mareth continued. "If we

maintain virgin forests, it's good for environmentalists. But for the economy of

our country, we need to supply income for our government."

Several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are working with the Phnom Penh government

to address the firewood demand by planting fast-growing trees in community wood lots.

But the NGOs' efforts-primarily in the heavily deforested provinces near Phnom Penh-will

do little to offset large scale timbering in Cambodia's more remote provinces.

"Cambodia can never return to the way it was," said Gordon Paterson of

the Mennonite Central Committee, a NGO that is developing community forestry projects

in Takeo province.

"Each period of deforestation over the last several decades-Pol Pot, the reconstruction

after Pol Pot, or the latest period of cutting-contributes to the degradation of

Cambodia's natural resources-and that's irreversible," Paterson said.

While UNTAC's civilian administration component can exercise "optional control"

over the timber industry, given the stakes of the logging game UNTAC will be hard

pressed to enforce a total halt to timber exports. A formal declaration of an environmental

ceasefire by the SNC would at least give UNDP more leverage to set up a Cambodia

Environmental Advisory Team, as recommended in their report.

That team would work with Cambodian officials to take stock of the country's natural

resources and screen foreign aid and investment proposals during the transitional

period before a new government is elected.

The advisory team would also raise funds for a $50 million Cambodian Environment

fund. Such a fund will be managed off-shore by the United Nations and used to train

former soldiers, villagers, forestry graduates, and returning refugees to protect

national forests, monitor border check points, and carry out environmental restoration

programs.

Most logging deals in Cambodia are struck by military, forestry, and provincial officials

in the border provinces with companies in Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos-all of which

have enacted their own bans on logging exports and are desperate for cheap, high-quality

Cambodian wood.

Laos, for example, has banned foreign concessions but still allows its state logging

enterprises to log and process timber for export. Despite the ban, Laos' sawn wood

products still account for 35 percent of the national export earnings. Much of that

supply comes from Cambodia.

The state's Development Agriculture Forestry and Industry enterprise in Laos provides

elephants for hauling logs out areas in Cambodia known for teak, rosewood, and other

first-quality wood. The logs are transported by trucks and barge to the Lao border

towns of Weun Kham and Pro Wihan, and then sawn for export.

Eyewitnesses report that Lao middlemen routinely meet with high ranking Cambodian

military men in Pakse, the capital of the Lao southern province of Champassak, to

cut timber deals. One such deal was sealed over dinner between Thai and Lao middlemen

was worth $325,000.

On the Cambodian side, however, a provincial official reported that half the area's

forest has disappeared into Laos. He predicts that by next year Prey Long's forests

will also be shipped away to Lao sawmills.

People living in the border areas claim that the timbering cannot be stopped because

loggers are protected by heavily armed guards that have "shoot-to-kill"

orders if there is any interference with their activities.

Unpaid soldiers in Cambodia's eastern provinces have struck up similar deals with

Vietnamese loggers. According to a report by the NGO Forum of Phnom Penh in February

1992, Vietnamese loggers take as much as 2,500 to 3,000 cubic meters of trees over

the border a day.

Sources close to the Phnom Penh Department of Forestry report that in February 1992

the department sent its representatives to stop Vietnamese loggers and their armed

Khmer cohorts in Ratanakiri province. The forestry personnel were taken hostage by

the loggers and released only after a high-level forestry official arrived to negotiate

their release for 1 million riel (U.S. $1,000).

The profits for Vietnamese loggers are so lucrative that they are even willing to

risk fatal confrontations with the Khmer Rouge. In July 1991, 100 Vietnamese loggers

were captured by the Khmer Rouge, according to a report in the Bangkok Nation. Most

of the loggers were summarily executed, with eight escaping back to Ho Chi Minh City

to tell the tale.

Much of Cambodia's wood, however, ends up in Thailand. With the largest appetite

for timber, and the longest borders in common with Cambodia, Thailand's timber companies-which

are closely linked to military and provincial leaders-have lined up to sign concessions

with all four Cambodian factions. The Thais are helping to improve roads along the

border and clear mines in Cambodia-which will expedite not only the repatriation

of refugees but logging efforts as well.

According to the Thai newspaper Phu Jad Karn, 15 logging companies have applied for

concessions to Prince Ranariddh's faction in Oddar Meanchay province, but only five

received them. As of December 1991, 50,000 trees had been felled for export over

the border by these companies.

Last November, other reports from the Thai press stated that four Thai firms signed

concessions with the Khmer Rouge near Preah Vihear ruin in the northeast. - Angela

Gennino

In the scramble before a new national government is elected next spring, the push

is on for loggers to haul out as much timber as possible. The virtual lack of government

timbering regulations is enabling overseas investors, Cambodian resistance factions,

and the Phnom Penh government itself to carve up and sell off the country's rich

forest resources.

Strewn along roadsides throughout the country lie piles of freshly cut pine, teak,

and rosewood awaiting delivery to ports, borders, or one of thousands of local sawmills.

For anyone with connections to log and export, it's a financial dream come true.

For one U.N. agency, the situation is more of an ecological nightmare. The United

Nations Development Program (UNDP) is pushing for an "environmental ceasefire"

which would include a logging export ban. Such a ceasefire would create a window

of time to thoroughly assess Cambodia's natural resources and launch measures to

monitor, manage, and protect them.

"The fact that there have been four autonomous administrations in Cambodia,

each with their own policy on environmental resources, has been the biggest threat,"

said Robert Piper, UNDP program officer. "There's as yet no national policy

in the real sense."

Building Boom

Cambodia entered an unprecedented period of "asset stripping" of its forests

following the signing of the peace accords last fall, according to a UNDP study prepared

for the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro

last month.

"Throughout Cambodia now everyone is in a 'get rich quick' mode-whether it's

to fuel war chests for elections or personal enrichment prior to possibly leaving

office," said John Dennis of World Wide Fund for Nature, who co-authored the

UNDP report with Gregory Wordsworth.

On the coast of the southwest province of Koh Kong, villagers are now using portable

saw mills and netting up to $800 a month by selling to Thai and Singaporean buyers

who have ships anchored off shore. Such earnings are 20 times higher than that of

a civil servant's regular salary, many of whom go months without receiving paychecks

because government coffers are empty.

The US $2 billion U.N. peacekeeping effort itself could exacerbate Cambodia's environmental

problems. With the arrival of 20,000 U.N. troops and administrators, Cambodia's cities

are experiencing a building boom as dozens of new restaurants open and decaying villas

get facelifts. A new market has been created for small-scale wood processing and

charcoal to produce sawn timber, furniture, and kiln-dried bricks and tiles.

"The U.N. presence itself. . .will greatly intensify pressures on forest resources

which are already unsustainable," the UNDP report said. "Unless these issues

are addressed by the SNC and UNTAC, the U.N. presence becomes in certain respects

'part of the problem' from the perspective of sustainable development."

As Cambodia moves towards a peacetime economy, the housing and firewood needs of

170,000 out-of-work soldiers and 380,000 refugees returning from Thai border camps

will cut even further into Cambodia's dwindling forest reserves.

Unless other options are available, UNDP fears that many of the refugees and former

soldiers will turn to damaging agricultural practices in ecologically sensitive areas,

enter the logging business, or cut and sell firewood.

Truckdriver Seng Phon, 30, was a government soldier until five months ago, but now

supports his family by transporting logs from Koh Kong to Kandal province.

"I stopped being a soldier because I didn't have enough food to eat," said

Phon, who makes two runs a week, bringing in as much as 800,000 riel (U.S. $640)

for a truckload of 11 to 12 logs. "This way I have a better standard of living."

Aggravating the effects of the timber trade, small scale woodcutting and charcoal

production also pose a threat to the forests. Poor villagers needing a source of

income during the dry season cut trees when their rice fields are unproductive.

The Phnom Penh Forestry Department estimates that four million cubic meters of wood

will be cut this year for domestic fuelwood and charcoal needs.

In heavily deforested Kompong Speu province, the U.N. has recently repatriated several

dozen refugee families next to the Phnom Srong mountains. Although red skull-and-crossbones

signs warn of the danger of hundreds of mines in the vicinity, it hasn't taken long

for the newcomers to find mine-free areas to forage for firewood.

"We go to the mountains to collect wood, but we only dare to go up one mountain

because all the others are mined," said Kou Try, 42, a former resident of Site

2 refugee camp in Thailand. The refugee families are already finding it difficult

to find firewood after only a month in Phnom Srong, Try said. "We have to go

higher and higher up the mountain to find wood now," he said.

With some 250,000 hectares cut last year, Cambodia has one of the highest per capita

rates of deforestation in the world, according to UNDP. At this rate, Cambodia will

lose most of its natural forest cover within five to 10 years.

"We're killing the chicken instead of eating the eggs," said the operator

of one of Phnom Penh's largest sawmills as he ran his hands along a newly sawn plank.

The sawmill operator said most of his wood comes from the Cardamom mountains in western

Cambodia, an area famous for its wildlife and slated for protection before 1970.

At the time, Cambodia's neighboring countries were losing their wildlife at breakneck

speed, but vast areas of Cambodia were still populated with rare and endangered species

such as the Javan rhino, kouprey, marbled cat, Siamese crocodile, and pileated gibbon.

Even before the signing of the peace accords last fall, Cambodia's forests may have

been reduced from its original 13 million hectares (73 percent of Cambodia's total

land area of 18 million hectares) to as low as seven million hectares, according

to the UNDP study.

The effect of the long-term deforestation in Cambodia already made itself felt in

August 1991 when a flash flood in the Mekong watershed caused an estimated $150 million

in damage to farms and fisheries. The cutting of timber in Kompong Speu, Takeo, and

Kampot, by reducing the soil's ability to absorb and retain rainwater, exacerbated

the effects of a particularly heavy rainfall.

"The flood did more damage in 24 hours than the value of all the timber that

had been extracted that contributed to the flood," said UNDP's John Dennis.

An export logging ban recommended by UNDP could meet stiff resistance from some of

the members of the Supreme National Council, an interim body comprised of representatives

of all four factions-the Phnom Penh government, the Khmer Rouge, the Khmer People's

National Liberation Front (KPNLF) and FUNCINPEC (Prince Ran-ariddh's faction).

All of the factions have been involved in the timber trade, according to UNDP. After

the Phnom Penh government, the Khmer Rouge is thought to be the largest exporter

of timber, shipping some 200,000 cubic meters of wood to Thailand from a wide swath

of territory it controls in western Cambodia near Pailin.

Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary told the Bangkok Nation recently that the Khmer Rouge

has had to resort to timber trade for economic survival.

"After the peace agreement was signed in Paris, our Chinese friends stopped

all assistance. So we have to sell some trees to the Thais to meet the immediate

needs of the people," Sary said.

A representative of FUNCINPEC-which UNDP estimates is exporting 128,000 cubic meters

of timber to Thailand this year-admitted that until recently the group had been selling

logging concessions in their zone in Oddar Meanchay.

"We had a few logs to sell to Thailand-from our zone in the north," said

FUNCINPEC Press Officer Ek Sereywath. "We gave the Thais some small concessions.

But the amount of logging we did is very little compared to the other factions."

On June 25 FUNCINPEC issued a communique calling for a logging ban in provinces under

the group's control and appealing to the other Cambodian parties to follow suit.

The UNDP report estimated that the KPNLF was exporting 50,000 cubic meters of timber

to Thailand. But KPNLF Information Officer Pol Ham said the group-led by former Cambodian

Prime Minister Son Sann-not only wasn't involved in the timber trade, but supported

an outright logging ban.

Cambodian Timber Exports, 1992.

Source: UNDP

Source

Cubic meters

Exports by Central Authorities: (8+ contracts)

320,000

Illegal flows to Vietnam

250,000

Illegal flows to Thailand through Laos

200,000

Khmer Rouge exports to Thailand: 5 contracts

200,000

FUNCINPEC exports to Thailand: 2 contracts

128,000

KPNLF exports to Thailand

50,000

TOTAL

1,148,000

 

Ham stressed that he couldn't speak for a break-off group from the KPNLF led by

General Sak Sutsakan, the Liberal Democratic Party.

"Now each faction is trying to get the most money for their own faction, not

the nation," Ham said. "For the KPNLF, everything in principle should be

controlled strictly by UNTAC and the SNC."

In the KPNLF's party congress in Phnom Penh in May, Son Sann raised environmental

concerns in his opening address. "Some areas of our country already present

the aspect of the African savannah," he said. "Without forests, not only

the land will be impoverished, but species of wild animals which are special to our

country will disappear for want of a natural haven."

Hardwood for Hard Currency

Until recently Cambodia has been economically isolated from the international donor

community because of a decade-long trade embargo led by the United States. Matters

weren't helped much by the withdrawal of $60 million a year in aid from the Soviet

Union upon its dissolution last year.

To fuel its need for hard currency and building materials, the Phnom Penh government

turned to timber exports, which UNDP estimates currently generates more than 80 percent

of foreign exchange earnings.

Lacking sufficient numbers of trained staff to manage timber concessions, the government

recently shifted to a policy of selling standing timber to foreign companies.

Despite mounting public concern over deforestation, Phnom Penh is pushing ahead with

the signing of foreign logging concessions with at least three companies from Thailand,

France and Singapore, totalling 145,000 cubic meters.

Another six contracts, totalling at least 175,000 cubic meters, are currently under

consideration. These include a proposal in early May by the Malaysia-based McGate

Corporation, which is seeking a 20-year contract to log 100,000 hectares of virgin

forest in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.

The government also has a joint venture with Okada for a Japanese sawmill on the

outskirts of Phnom Penh that processes 30 cubic meters a day of pine for export.

To date, contracts are signed on a year-to-year basis. "This is just a trial

experiment with the foreign companies-this year is the first time we've opened up

to international investors," said a Forestry Department official. "If they

do well, they can remain-but not if there's improper management and they're destroying

the forests."

UNDP estimates that these concessions add up to at least 320,000 cubic meters of

Cambodian wood that will be exported by the central government in 1992.

Exceeding Sustainable Yield

Taking all factors into account-government contractors, resistance factions, and

poachers -UNDP estimates that the total amount of timber cut could be as high as

2 million cubic meters for 1992, with more than half of that slated for export.

That amount is 2.5 to 5 times above the country's sustainable yield, which UNDP estimates

at 250,000 cubic meters of export-quality timber.

"The amount being taken out by the state is okay. But together with the illegal

logging, the amount cut is very bad for us," said State of Cambodia Vice Minister

of Agriculture Dr. Ing Mok Mareth, who also serves as chairman of the Natural Environmental

Committee.

But Mareth disputes UNDP's assessment that Cambodia is exceeding its sustainable

yield. "I agree that Cambodia is being deforested," he said. "I only

question the amount. You can fly all over Cambodia and all you see is green."

"We have enough forests for exploitation," Mareth continued. "If we

maintain virgin forests, it's good for environmentalists. But for the economy of

our country, we need to supply income for our government."

Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working with the Phnom Penh government

to address the demand for firewood and charcoal by planting fast-growing trees in

community wood lots.

But the NGOs' efforts-primarily in the heavily deforested provinces near Phnom Penh-will

do little to offset large scale timbering in Cambodia's more remote provinces.

"Cambodia can never return to the way it was," said Gordon Paterson of

the Mennonite Central Committee, a NGO that is developing community forestry projects

in Takeo province.

"Each period of deforestation over the last several decades-Pol Pot, the reconstruction

after Pol Pot, or the latest period of cutting-contributes to the degradation of

Cambodia's natural resources-and that's irreversible," Paterson said.

While UNTAC's civilian administration component is empowered to exercise "optional

control" over the timber industry, given the stakes of the logging game UNTAC

will be hard pressed to enforce a total halt to timber exports.

"If UNTAC doesn't take measures the other factions will continue logging,"

said FUNCINPEC's Ek Sereywath. "We don't want to follow Thailand by allowing

uncontrolled logging."

A formal declaration of an environmental ceasefire by the SNC would at least give

UNDP more leverage to set up a Cambodia Environmental Advisory Team, as recommended

in their report.

That team would work with Cambodian officials to take stock of the country's natural

resources and screen foreign aid and investment proposals during the transitional

period before a new government is elected.

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