Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs petition for permit to patrol forests

NGOs petition for permit to patrol forests

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Representatives of over 20 NGOs and communities gather at the agriculture ministry to file their petition on Tuesday. FB

NGOs petition for permit to patrol forests

The Ministry of Environment has received a petition from more than 20 NGOs and community members requesting the right to conduct patrols in protected areas, and urging increased enforcement of natural resource crimes.

The ministry said it had strategies and policies that protected and conserved natural resources in place already, and was carrying out its work responsibly and professionally.

Twenty institutions, including civil society organisations, environmental activists and students, also submitted the same petition to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on March 29. They urged the ministries to live up to the commitments stated in the National Forest Programme 2010-2029. As part of the programme, they set the goal of increasing forest cover to 60 per cent of the country by 2029.

“They must tackle natural resource crimes, punish illegal timber traders, as well as investigating any type of corruption that causes the loss of natural resources in Cambodia,” the petition said.

The petitions added that they should monitor the approval of economic concession contracts and licenses and encourage civil society organisations and local communities to join their investigations – to ensure transparency and avoid systematic collusion.

It added that the authorities need to carry out an investigation and release a public report regarding the 211 tonnes of smuggled timber found by the Hong Kong Customs Authority last May.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra called the group “political activists operating under the cover of environment and natural resources protectors”. He suggested they stop speaking off the cuff and conduct some real reforestation work to please their donors.

He added that they should be finding solutions to change livelihoods and provide new options for people – as the ministry has been doing – to raise the living standards of the people living around conservation areas, so that they will not continue to rely entirely on natural resources.

“Do not merely issue statements and negative comments. Take some real action – and tell your donors to do the same. Why not actually join the government in its work of protecting natural resources instead of just showing love for conservation on the surface?” he said.

Pheaktra added that the ministry welcomes the participation of any parties, as long as they obey the law and are honest in their cooperation. The ministry has collaborated successfully closely with many associations and NGOs, he said.

“We do not become obsessed with stardom as certain groups do,” he added.

In the Strategy for Carbon Neutrality 2050, Cambodia was committed to cutting deforestation by half by 2030 and stopping it completely by 2045, he said.

In order to achieve the goal of increased forest cover, Cambodia will promote tree planting and improve forest management and reforestation, as well as the full implementation of the REDD + investment plan by 2050.

Pheaktra added that Cambodia currently has more than 8.5 million ha of forest cover, or about 46.86 per cent of the country, of which 41 per cent is under the protection of the ministry.

Cambodia had also sold carbon credits in the international market and used the proceeds to strengthen the management, conservation and development of local communities. The Kingdom was optimistic that it would receive more funding from the sale of carbon credits and sustainable timber.


  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’