Minister of Environment Say Samal said Cambodia takes pride in keeping its trees standing and that this would translate into increased income for local conservation and economic development projects through the implementation of REDD+ projects, which involve the sale of carbon offset credits to encourage the prevention of deforestation.

Samal was speaking during a visit on December 6 to Pring Thom commune’s Kralas Peas village of Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district to observe the process of “forest inventory” used to measure biomass to calculate the carbon stocks of forests for REDD+ purposes.

“We have arrived at a situation where we can profit more by keeping the trees standing and increase income for local economic development and conservation. The implementation of the REDD+ project has benefited the residents of community protected areas through funding the building of roads, installing clean drinking water and providing the means and materials for forest patrols,” he said.

He noted that Cambodia has been carrying out REDD+ projects since 2007 through voluntary carbon market participation and following the rules and standards established by the international mechanism with the hope that it will prevent deforestation and forest degradation while helping with mitigating climate change effects.

Cambodia’s current REDD+ projects are Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces’ Seima Wildlife Sanctuary project, Koh Kong and Pursat provinces’ Southern Cardamoms project and Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces’ shared Prey Lang project.

Heng Kimhong, research and advocacy programme manager at the Cambodian Youth Network, said the presence of forest cover plays an important role in mitigating climate change impacts, not just for Cambodia but also for the globe, and is a contribution to tackling the climate change crisis for the whole world.

“In order to more effectively boost carbon sales to attract international carbon markets to buy carbon in Cambodia, we need to implement the deforestation prevention programme. If forest cover in Cambodia is degraded, we are hardly able to guarantee that we can continue this carbon credit programme,” he added.

At the 27th UN climate change conference (COP27) in Egypt in November, Samal agreed to a deal to sell about 15 million tonnes of carbon credits to international partners to offset their carbon emissions by ending deforestation in Cambodia.

From 2016 to 2020, Cambodia has sold $11.6 million in carbon offsets to multinational companies. At present, the Kingdom has 7.3 million hectares of land under conservation status, or about 41 per cent of the country territory, giving it a large potential supply of carbon offsets to sell on the international market provided deforestation or degradation is prevented.