Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Letter: Forestry deja vu

Letter: Forestry deja vu

Letter: Forestry deja vu

Dear Editor,

Reading Stephen O'Connell's "Forestry management total failure" I couldn't

help but feel a sense of peripheral deja vu.

It was in the Summer of 1996 that I found myself at the Government Palace attending

a pre-Consultative Group meeting in which the then Minister of Agriculture, Forestry

and Fisheries, Tao Seng Huor, was asked by international donors to produce a final

and complete list of logging concession companies (the reporting for which a deadline

had been set by the Ministry the previous week). A report by the World Bank on this

matter had outlined sustainable logging policies which showed that Cambodia could

in fact garner substantial revenues from the sector, with appropriate forestry management.

In what can only be described as a moment that will live in infamy, the Minister

showed up to the meeting without the list. After throwing around some vague figures

and ranges, he was embarrassed (really shamed) by his counterpart at the Ministry

of Economy and Finance and by then Secretary of State Sun Chanthol into calling (cellular

phone in hand and while sitting at the table) an aide who, 20 you-could-have-heard-a-bead-of-sweat-drop

minutes later, arrived and produced the list. An incredible climax (the real numbers

were nowhere near the original ones he gave), it was a severe loss of face for the

Minister and for every Cambodian in that room, including myself.

How disappointing, and yet somehow fitting, it should be that four years later, Cambodia's

forestry management remains a "total failure". As the French say: Plus

ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Let's just hope that by 2004 we'll still have

some forests left to manage (or should I say, mismanage?).

Sophal Ear, Washington, DC

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all