Interior Minister Sar Kheng is pushing for an amendment of the forestry law to be done before the end of the current mandate.
Earlier this week, Mr Kheng said that illegal logging in Mondulkiri province is rampant and that an amendment was needed to delegate more power to local authorities.
He said on Facebook yesterday that he will push for the amendment to increase the protection of the country’s forests.
“The forest protection law does not provide power for competent authorities to curb illegal logging done by some bad people who export Cambodia’s natural resources,” Mr Kheng said, adding Sak Setha, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry, has been tasked to lead the amendment.
Article 1 of the law stipulates the framework for the management, harvesting, usage, development and conservation of forests. The objective of the law is to ensure sustainable management of forests for their social, economic and environmental benefits, including the conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage.
“The management of forests is under the general jurisdiction of the Agriculture Ministry,” the law states.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said that the amendment is long overdue.
“In 2014 and in 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Sar Kheng to lead this amendment, but it has not been done,” Mr Sakhon said.
He added his ministry has already disseminated the issue to all provincial governors.
“If forestry crimes occurred in the provinces, and provincial authorities do not crack down on the crimes, then it’s a provincial problem,” Mr Sakhon said. “Because the ministry has given them the power to crack down on forestry crimes.”
“The amendment is the responsibility of Sar Kheng, so if he invites me to join his meeting, then I will join,” he said.