Minister of Environment Eang Sophalleth emphasised the critical importance of protecting forests and natural resources, asserting that it is a top priority for the ministry and stressing the need for modern technology to combat illegal activities in these areas.

Sophalleth made the remarks during a meeting with Zhang Xiaodong, director of China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co Ltd on March 18 at the ministry.

During the discussion, Zhang highlighted the operation of 40 Earth observation satellites currently in orbit, which he described as the most comprehensive method for acquiring imagery and data. 

“The transmission of data from these satellites provides … location information, including geographical solutions integrated in various sectors such as defense intelligence, surveying and mapping, energy and infrastructure control, agriculture, natural resource development, smart city construction, environmental protection and disaster monitoring,” Zhang stated.

According to Sophalleth, the company is looking to partner with the ministry by offering services for providing their data, with the collaboration aimed to manage, conserve and protect the country’s forests and protected areas. 

“The environment ministry already utilises satellite information for monitoring and analysis, which aids in expediting law enforcement and immediate interventions in targeted areas,” he commented.

He also encouraged the ministry’s experts to evaluate and discuss the project’s effectiveness comprehensively, with a view of enhancing the management and protection of natural resources, ensuring benefits for all Cambodians. 

The minister said the effort is part of a broader initiative to preserve these fundamentals for future generations and contribute towards making Cambodia a carbon-neutral country by 2050.

Chum Huot, president of the Lover Environment and Society Association, expressed his support for the minister’s commitment. 

He noted that technology, such as satellites, would greatly improve forest conservation and management efforts, particularly in preventing encroachment. 

He added that despite the efforts of park rangers, their capabilities are limited without modern technology to track and collect data.

“These satellites would have a significant impact, addressing shortcomings and enhancing the efficiency of natural resource management,” Huot said.