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ADB called 'too soft'

ADB called 'too soft'

THE environmental watchdog group Global Witness (GW) has criticized the the

Asian Development Bank's Forest Concession Review report as too soft and doubts that

suggested reforms will be implemented in time to save Cambodia's forests.

But GW said the ADB report was right when it described Cambodia's concession system

as a disaster that will lead to their destruction of the forests by 2003.

"Observers of Cambodia's forest sector will acknowledge that commitments by

concessionaires are worthless - they are more skilled at voicing regret for their

past actions and promising reforms than actually trying to implement sustainable

forestry management," the group said.

GW said only two of the concessionaires have the technical ability to conduct their

business and nearly all have consistently broken every rule of forest management

and Cambodian law.

"They owe their existence in Cambodia to the culture of corruption that pervades

the sector and as such operate as a kind of Mafia, avoiding mandatory controls. Until

this core issue is tackled it is unlikely that there will be improvements on the

ground," said GW.

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