The Ministry of Environment and Japan will today sign a $600,000 agreement on forest conservation for a period of three years in the Prey Lang forest, which spans four provinces.
The project will focus on forest conservation, legal strengthening and community forestry development, according to a press release issued ahead of the meeting today.
“This is a new bilateral mechanism between Cambodia and Japan as part of a partnership to promote green development in Cambodia,” the statement said.
Uy Kamal, deputy director of the inspection and law enforcement department with the Environment Ministry, said yesterday that Japan will focus on strengthening laws, patrols and protection of the forest as part of the project. “That will be the first phase of the project,” he said. “Japan is giving $200,000 per year for three years to look after about 120,000 hectares of land. And in this first phase, we will focus on Stung Treng province, which houses about one-third of the Prey Lang forest.”
Kheng Ko, a Prey Lang Community Network member in Stung Treng province, expressed his support for the project yesterday.
“I support it as long as the two countries really have a desire to conserve the forest. I will also ask our community to participate,” he said.
“It is good if we join hands together, but if they protect it alone, I am afraid some officials will take money from criminal groups plundering the forest.”
The Prey Lang forest covers more than 431,683 hectares in four provinces, including Kompong Thom, Kratie, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear.
The government allocated it as a wildlife sanctuary in May 2016. Cambodia already has almost 50 protected areas covering more than 7.5 million hectares, equivalent to 41 percent of the country’s total land.