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US to assist biodiversity efforts

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US Ambassador Patrick Murphy meets with Minister of Environment Say Sam Al to discuss the protection and management of Cambodia’s biodiversity on Monday. Photo supplied

US to assist biodiversity efforts

Cambodia and the US continue to strengthen cooperation in the management and conservation of natural resources.

Minister of Environment Say Sam Al said the two countries were involved in the management and conservation of more than seven million hectares of natural resources and biodiversity.

Sam Al said this during a meeting with US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy at the Ministry of Environment on November 18.

A ministry Facebook post on Monday said that during the meeting, both sides discussed cooperation between Cambodia and the US in the management and conservation of natural resources as well as environmental protection.

Sam Al informed Murphy that Cambodia had the most number of protected natural resource areas in Asia – more than 7.2 million hectares of protected natural resources and conserved biodiversity – equivalent to 41 per cent of the Kingdom’s landmass.

He said: “Currently, Cambodia is highly aware of the environmental issue due to the fact that the country enjoys peace, security, political stability and annual economic growth of more than seven per cent for more than 20

consecutive years, which contributed to changing the people’s livelihood to be better.”

The minister said the government has a clear policy on environment and natural resources management. These factors gave the people time to care about environmental issues and participate in changing mindsets and attitudes.

Sam Al also encouraged the continued strengthening of good cooperation in the management of natural resources in Cambodia, focusing on the capacity building of rangers to effectively conserve natural resources.

Murphy expressed his appreciation for the ministry in fulfilling its tasks very well and in the interests of Cambodians. He also highlighted the importance of cooperation between Cambodia and the US in the management and conservation of natural resources.

Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean welcomed the ministry’s efforts in strengthening cooperation with the US to protect and manage the environment, as well as conserve natural resources.

But Hean said the ministry and relevant institutions must cooperate with civil society organisations to prevent natural resource and forest crimes more effectively.

“Cooperation is good. But if we depend on the ministry and without civil society organisations participating, it is not going to be very effective,” he said.

In August, the government issued a letter to cancel or nullify permits to transport forest products from concession land, and other permits issued previously.

The ministry and technical institutions are now required to monitor, nullify and revoke the licenses of companies that failed to comply with the laws and conditions of their contracts.

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