Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jolie money sets up conservation zone in wild west

Jolie money sets up conservation zone in wild west

Jolie money sets up conservation zone in wild west

The district of Samlot in western Cambodia is well known for its association with

the Khmer Rouge, illegal logging, and gem mining. Now it could instead become associated

with conservation: a signing ceremony in the capital Phnom Penh on August 7 means

that 21,000 hectares of forest have now been flagged as a protected area.

Funding for the project came from Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who donated $1.5

million. Cambodian Vision in Development (CVD), a local NGO, will manage the money.

Jolie has already established a project in Samlot through CVD to provide assistance

to 800 people-disabled former Khmer Rouge soldiers and their families.

CVD's executive director, Mounh Sarath, said a further 39,000 hectares of land had

been given protected area status in neighboring Pailin, which is also peopled by

former Khmer Rouge soldiers.

He says the two sites are the first protected zones in either Samlot or Pailin.

"This $1.5 million of funding will start the first project, which will take

five years," Sarath said of the Samlot and Pailin zones. "If the first

project succeeds, we will then begin a second [preservation] project which will take

15 years."

The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Environment (MoE). Minister Mok

Mareth said he was happy to cooperate to protect the two sites.

"If we don't protect this forest, it will impact not only the people in Battambang,

but also the Tonle Sap," Mareth said. "We need other partners to help us

to protect and to preserve the forest and the animals."

Sarath said CVD needed to partner with the MoE as it had more expertise in managing

environmental projects, particularly through its Department of Nature Conservation

(DNC). He said CVD had prior experience working closely with other government departments

in the province, including health, social affairs and education.

"Our strategy is to develop the area by improving the local economy, and educating

people to know the value of the forests and wild animals and the benefits of conservation

programs," he said. The project will also pay for the training of forest rangers.

Chay Samith, DNC's director, believed his department would cooperate well with CVD.

"I hope this project will be successful by encouraging those people who used

to hunt, log and dig for gems to do other work instead," he said. "To achieve

that, I hope we will be joined by the local authorities, local people, and other

domestic and international NGOs."

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided