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Environment Minister pledges to eradicate illegal wildlife trade

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Officers display a haul of illegal wildlife seized from traders. Fresh News

The government has vowed to combat the illegal wildlife trade and cooperate with foreign countries to conserve the Kingdom’s natural resources.

Environment Minister Say Samal made the commitment during a wildlife awareness event with British Ambassador Tina Redshaw at her residence in Phnom Penh on Sunday.

The event aimed to highlight the UK’s effort in combating illegal wildlife trade and Cambodia’s commitment to tackling the issue, a British embassy statement said.

Aside from Ms Redshaw and Mr Samal, the event was also attended by the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Ed Vaizey, NGOs and representatives of the Ministries of Interior and Agriculture.

During a speech, Mr Samal reassured the audience that the government is committed to act against the illegal wildlife trade.

“Cambodia is committed to combating illegal wildlife trade,” he said. “Cambodia is ready to cooperate with all countries to conserve natural resources.”

Mr Samal added that the Environment Ministry has enough rangers to combat the trade.

“I am very hopeful that we will do this together,” he said.

Mr Samal added that Cambodia has laws to protect the environment and biodiversity.

He noted that many of the laws have been used to crack down on forestry crimes and also to rescue wildlife from traffickers.

Ms Redshaw said that the Cambodian government should stop the sale of wildlife in markets and stop the export of endangered species of plants and animals.

She announced that the UK government will host an international conference on illegal wildlife trade on October 11 to 12 in London. Ms Redshaw said the conference will bring global leaders together to help tackle the issue.

She added that the conference is an opportunity to build on previous efforts, while addressing underlying issues.

“During the conference this year, we will strengthen international partnerships across borders and beyond government,” Ms Redshaw said.

The British embassy said that illegal wildlife trade is an urgent global issue that damages sustainable economic growth and the livelihoods of vulnerable people in rural communities.

It added that the trade is worth about $22 billion per year and is the fourth most lucrative transnational crime after drugs, weapons and human trafficking.

It noted that criminals run networks of corrupt officials and agencies to undermine sustainable development and rule of law.

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