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NGO view of forest law

NGO view of forest law

Dear Editor,

The article "Draft forest law lambasted by NGO Forum" (Post, 7-20 July)

summarized nicely a submission of the NGO Forum to the Royal Government concerning

a recent draft of the Forestry Law.

This submission, however, had not been intended for media release. Had the Post contacted

me for comment, I would have liked to have added a positive observation as follows:

The Royal Government has shown good leadership in sharing a draft law with non-governmental

groups and requesting their comment. This new willingness to consult is of benefit

to both the Government and the community.

The Government benefits by ensuring that the laws finally adopted will be popular

and well received. Community groups benefit from having their concerns raised and

their rights and needs met.

NGOs are of the opinion that more time for consultation will be of great benefit

to the development of the Forestry Law. A similar observation can be made regarding

the Royal Government's management of the Highway One Road Improvement Project, as

described in "Road to nowhere for Route One waysiders" (Post, 9-22 June).

In this project, the Government has taken the unprecedented steps of providing compensation

to project-affected people and of requesting NGOs to monitor the disbursement of

the compensation. NGOs were able to raise a number of important problems, some of

which are already being dealt with, and others for which solutions will hopefully

be found.

We need to see the final results before praising the Royal Government on these and

other initiatives.

However, in the meantime, the input of NGOs and other groups should not be seen as

criticism, but rather as helpful feedback to help ensure the best results for both

government and the people.

- Russell Peterson, The Representative, The NGO Forum on Cambodia

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