Minister of Environment Say Sam Al thanked and praised forest rangers on Tuesday for protecting natural resources and in turn aiding the sale of carbon credits.
Sam Al was visiting rangers atop Mrech Kangkeb Mountain in Koh Kong province’s Thma Bang district when he made the remarks during a speech.
He said local economic development from the sale of carbon credits allowed people to find jobs and increase their incomes through the development of eco-tourism.
“In the name of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to express my deepest thanks to all the rangers who have dedicated their energy to the struggle to effectively protect and conserve natural resources,” Sam Al said.
“A budget was generated by the sale of carbon credits from the forest to strengthen conservation work as well as help develop the local economy, create jobs and increase income for local communities through the development of the natural tourism sector.”
Due to efforts to better manage and conserve protected areas, Cambodia sold carbon credits in the South Cardamom Mountains National Park, the Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Kong, and the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri within the framework of the voluntary market.
The total revenue earned was approximately $11.6 million, he said.
Sam Al said the revenue from the sale of carbon credits is being used to support the preservation and conservation of natural resources and improve people’s lives in local communities.
“So far, only Cambodia and Indonesia among Asean countries have sold carbon credits in the voluntary carbon market,” he said, adding that the Kingdom has abundant natural resources and biodiversity.
Forests cover about 50 per cent of the country, the highest rate in Southeast Asia. To date, the government has expanded protected areas under the ministry’s jurisdiction to approximately 41 per cent of the Kingdom, equivalent to about 7.2 million hectares.
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said it has 1,260 rangers patrolling and implementing legal measures in protected areas.
The ministry’s rangers have been cooperating closely with competent authorities, especially the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes led by Sao Sokha, commander of the National Military Police.
“So far, no large-scale natural resource crimes exist, but there are still minor offences as perpetrators continue to use trucks, tractors or motorbikes to transport illegal timber, which is frequently cracked down on by rangers.
“The Ministry of Environment’s 1,260 rangers stationed in protected areas are dedicated to protecting natural resources,” Pheaktra said.
Koh Kong Provincial Department of Environment director Morn Phalla said protecting natural resources to allow the sale of carbon credits was the result of a concerted effort by the rangers.
“We have 112 rangers currently working on the conservation of natural resources in the Areng area in Koh Kong province to conserve natural resources,” he said.