Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Ouch Leng, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Goldman Environmental Prize
Ouch Leng, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Goldman Environmental Prize

Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Cambodian environmentalist Ouch Leng was named as one of six recipients of the world-renowned Goldman Environmental Prize yesterday for his efforts to expose illegal logging and the corruption associated with it.

Established in 1990, the prize is awarded to individuals who undertake “great personal risk to safeguard the environment”, with a winner from each inhabited continent being chosen each year by a seven-member jury.

In addition to international recognition and a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, DC, recipients are awarded a $175,000 cash prize.

Leng, the founder and chairman of Cambodia Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF), an organisation dedicated to fighting illegal logging and the timber trade, was awarded the prize for exposing the corruption behind economic land concessions (ELCs), which have since been subject to government review.

“Ouch went undercover to gather evidence of illegal logging activities, posing as a laborer, timber dealer, driver, tourist, and even as a cook. He documented the illegal operations of Cambodia’s biggest timber magnate [Try Pheap] . . . revealing how ELCs were used as a cover for illegal logging and exposing criminal collusion between timber companies and government officials at all levels of power,” the prize’s website reads.

Just a day ahead of the prize’s announcement, the CHRTF started a change.org petition calling on Prime Minister Hun Sen and Environment Minister Say Sam Al to take meaningful action to protect Cambodia’s remaining forests.

“To secure Cambodia’s natural heritage for future generations – stop the sawmills and save Cambodia’s forests,” it reads.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for