Phnom Penh, October 22, 2014: Six representatives from the CSOs/NGOs, Independent Consultant and communities Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kampong Speu, Stung Treng and Kratie Provinces assembled for a press conference on “CSOs and Communities Concern on Illegal Logging and Natural Resource Destruction in Cambodia” organized by The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) to express their concerns about an increase in illegal logging and natural resource destruction as a result of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs). They are also calling and urging decision makers to pay attention to the problem and seek solutions with recommendations, which they believe will help strengthen law enforcement and ensure the sustainable management of Cambodia’s remaining forests.
“Illegal logging cases has increasing from day today, speciallya for the last two years. Logging and the trafficking of luxury timber have mostly occured in the northeastern, northern parts and Cardamom mountains of Cambodia, including the provinces of Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri, Stung Treng, Kratie, Preah Vihear, Uddor Meanchey, Koh Kong, Pursat and Kampong Speu province,” said Tek Vannara, NGOF’s ED “we are including CSOs/NGOs and communities are deeply concern about the lost. We urge the Cambodian government put the Krovanh Mountain which is the last forest area as well as the eco-tourism place under the conservation for the outbreeding, and the natural resource development in the country which can benefits the community people.”
Mr. Svay Phoeun, Prey Lang Community representative shared during the event that Prey Lang is one of the biggest jungle in Cambodia, and now all the private companies with the licenses from the government are destroying the forest there everyday. He concerned if the government keeps providing the Economic Land Concessions to all those private firms, sooner Prey Lang will turn no longer existing. “This lost of Prey Lang will leave a great negative impact to our community livelihood, specifically, the indigenous people whose their living condition are relying on the natural resource from the forest,” he added.
CSOs and communites issued the joint statement to the government on Concerns over Illegal Logging in Cambodia.
From 2012 to October 2014 there were 812 illegal logging and wood smuggling cases posted in various media. In 2013, forest cover was found to have decreased up to 46%. Plus, since early 2012, the government gave Try Pheap companies a contract to collect confiscated timber from the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment without specifying how long he would be allowed to do this. In addition the license failed to detail the quantity of timber to be collected and where it could be collected from. According to recent news from the local newspaper that was recently published, Try Pheap’s company alone, allegedly made more than $220 million in unreported profit by illegally logging rosewood over a three-year period in the Cardamom Mountains. Based on finding, Pheap’s MDS Import Export Company, owned by his wife, Mao Mom, used permits for clearing timber within the Stung Atay hydropower dam reservoir and three concessions in the 330,000-hectare Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary as cover to move protected rosewood felled outside those areas..
Click to get the Joint Statement in Khmer and English