Phnom Penh, August 26, 2015: A report on LOGs and PATRONAGE: Systematic Illegal Logging and The Destruction of State Forest and Protected Areas in Rattanakiri and Stung Treng, facilitated by the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and conducted the research by independent researchers, was officially launched to the public at Tonle Bassac 2 Restaurant. Seventy eight participants (15 females) from Indigenous People and Forestry Network (IPFN), Ministry of Environment (MoE), Sub-National Authorities, and communities attended this event.
The aims of this workshop were to disseminate the results of research key findings to all target stakeholders, especially, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to help overcome the issues of the logging in Cambodia.
The research report was mainly conducted in order to investigate and reveal:
- The activities of illegal logging group in term of structure, distribution, and transport of luxury timber in Stung Treng and Ratanakiri provinces
- The financial value of transporting luxury timber and disclose local authorities, government staff charged with implementing forest protection laws
- The impacts of illegal logging impinge upon the indigenous people (IP) and forest dependents’ livelihood and environment and
- The recommendations in the report to RGC based on the findings
“There have been a great changes within the last few years at the forest in our community. There is no more wildlife and lot of natural disasters such as flood and drought have been happening. This changing does really affect our daily living because not only that we couldn’t earn well from our agriculture work, also we couldn’t go to the forest to get the non-timber forest products (NTFP) to sell.” said a community representative from Stung Treng.
Two short documentary videos, illustrated the activities of illegal logging, which were showed during the workshop, have given audiences better understanding to the report context on the introduction of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. The program followed by the brief explanation of the report that presented by the consultant of the report, who worked closely in finding evidences and witnesses to prove the accuracy of the document.
“Mainly, the researching team illustrates the research result from two important forest locations in Cambodia, namely, Rattanakiri and Steung Treng. And from these findings, it shows that the roots to the deforestation in these two provinces are the changing the natural forest areas into the agriculture farm, Economic Land Concessions, illegal logging through the need of the international market,” Dr. Tek Vannara, NGOF’s Executive Director shared during the opening speech. “Hence, based on the report result, we have generated some recommendations that could help to strengthening the natural resource management, especially the forest, and share to the RGC, companies and related stakeholders.”
However, there were the reactions and concerns from MoE representative and Sub-National Authorities upon the report results in term of charging of fake receipts, the inability to protect the huge area of the forest, and the word accuracy in the book.
“The research team shall pay more attention and be more careful with the words they used, since this document will be used as public and as the evident proof for the actual situation. Hence, the proper checking and context verification is needed in order to avoid readers’ misunderstanding” said H.E Srun Darith, MoE Consultant.
In returned, the researcher admitted the misspelling of the Khmer report version, but not the content and finding information. He mentioned that the proper investigation was conducted with the reliable documentation.
The workshop had reflected constructive feedback from all key stakeholders to set further discussion with independent consultant as well as set another separate meeting with competent authorities to find common strategies in the effort of forest governance effectively.
The online report on “LOGs and PATRONAGE: Systematic Illegal Logging and The Destruction of State Forest and Protected Areas in Rattanakiri and Stung Treng” can be downloaded here:
- Khmer version http://bit.ly/1hkmSXl
- English version http://bit.ly/1JNJu9u