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.