Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sparks fly over forest decree



Sparks fly over forest decree

Sparks fly over forest decree

CAMBODIA'S first foray into controlling forestry concessions by law is under fire

even before it has been enacted.

The Sub-Decree on Forest Concession Planning, Management and Control Systems has

been forwarded to the Council of Ministers for approval.

But NGOs involved in the area are criticizing the proposed decree as hasty and inadequate.

Specifically, they point to the lack of provisions for independent monitoring, the

lack of provincial authorities having a say in what happens to forests in their areas,

no specific requirement for public consultation, no mention of traditional land users

and the lack of a review procedure before the reissuing of a concession.

A statement by the NGO Forum also suggests provisions to "ensure that the rights

of indigenous communities within their customary domain are respected through Joint

Forest Management, where indigenous people are equal in authority to Cambodian Government

authorities as managers of their lands".

There is also criticism that the role of the Ministry of Environment is too limited.

Because it is one step removed from direct financial and political gain in forestry

operations, the NGO Forum said that the Ministry should have a stronger role in monitoring,

community consultation and preparation of Environmental Impact Assessments and Social

Impact Assessments.

The Forum was particularly concerned about section 6.5 of the sub-decree which it

says removes local people's control over their traditional livelihood, contravening

international conventions on human rights.

They say the section needs to be redrafted to ensure people's right of access to

the areas under concession for the purpose of activities such as gathering firewood

or non-timber products.

The Forum wants the section redrafted to read:

"People should have automatic access to forest products for traditional livelihood

activities consistent with sustainable land use and Community Forest Management Committee

rules and regulations.

"The Department of Forestry and Wildlife may grant concessions (as per this

sub-decree, including the need for EIA/SIA) for commercial, non-traditional collection

of wood for fuel or charcoal or other forest products other than timber on the forest

concession area..."

The Forum was also concerned about the lack of independent monitoring of concession

areas. It points to management plans already in existence in Cambodia "that

are being breached under Forestry Department supervision".

Finally, the Forum was concerned to see clarification of what constituted illegal

logging.

It said that if a concessionaire logs an area outside that for which it has been

granted a concession then it can simply blame it on illegal loggers. The forum wants

responsibility for illegal logging in concession areas clarified.

The Forum would like to see that concessionaires "be only allowed to process

timber from their legal concession".

"We regard these changes as essential inclusions to the sub-decree."

The NGO Forum said they had received a letter from the Department of Forestry and

Wildlife agreeing to adjust the sub-decree, where possible, to take into account

their concerns.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of