Ten organisations and associations working in the field of conservation are planning to mark this year’s June 6 World Environment Day, and renew calls for the authorities to increase the protection of natural resources. The Ministry of Environment is also planning to celebrate the occasion, and requests that the associations not use the event to serve a political agenda.

The lead-up to the day is being celebrated with the theme “Together we must protect the environment and the natural resources that are our wealth” for nine days, from May 28 to June 5, said a social media post from the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association (KSILA).

It said the celebrations are being organised by several institutions, including KSILA, Youth Resources Development Programme and Cambodian Youth Network (CYN), as well as associations from Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.

“For this year’s Environment Day, we encourage the public to participate in environmental protection and natural resource management. We also request that the relevant ministries increase the protection of natural resources and urge the government to acknowledge the voices of the associations that have highlighted conservation issues,” it added.

KSILA director Koet Saray told The Post that for nearly a decade, climate change issues have been worsening across the globe, and especially in Cambodia.

He added that the listed associations seek to celebrate the day by calling on the state to work with the people in the affected areas to protect the Kingdom’s natural resources.

“We are concerned that some authorities are not committed to protecting the forests but [colluded with] loggers. This is why we have used World Environmental Day to call for increased cooperation with local people to save them,” he said.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the June 6 celebration is a day for everyone in the world to express their love for the planet and their commitment to protecting the Earth.

He said the ministry, and several other state institutions, mark the day every year.

“This year, we have selected the theme ‘Restoring the ecosystem and using natural resources sparingly to mitigate climate change’.

“We welcome everyone who wants to participate in the honest celebration of World Environment Day, provided they do not use the occasion to promote their political agenda under the guise of serving the environment,” he said.

He explained that some associations or civil society organisations were unregistered and worked to promote a political agenda that was set by foreigners and dissenting politicians.

He claimed that such organisations are fake environment lovers, and merely use it as an excuse to create social chaos and subvert the Kingdom’s development.

“Such activities are not welcomed and they will be answerable to the law,” he said.

“There is growing evidence suggesting that they are conducting activities under the disguise of environment and natural resources protection. Under the guidance of foreigners and some opposition politicians, they are working with farmers to sow unrest and undermine public order, with the ultimate goal of toppling the government,” he said.