The Environment Ministry has registered more than 50,000 hectares of protected area of the Peam Krasop and Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuaries as state land in a bid to eliminate land disputes in conservation areas.
In a statement released on Thursday, it said the Ministry of Land Management issued 18 land titles covering both wildlife sanctuaries in Koh Kong and Mondulkiri provinces respectively.
The Environment Ministry said 10 land titles covered around 4,600 hectares of the Pream Krasop sanctuary in Koh Kong province while eight covered more than 45,000 hectares of Phnom Prich in Mondulkiri province.
The statement said the main purpose of the registration was to provide a clear indication of state land status to eliminate cases of land grabbing.
It added these strict legal measures will also contribute to strengthening the effectiveness of managing the protected areas.
According to the ministry, there are 57 natural protected areas and three biodiversity conservation areas throughout the country, covering 7.2 million hectares.
“This is a historical result for the Kingdom. The government has been supporting and pushing for the registration of state land in protected areas and this reflects its high commitment to protect and conserve natural resources in Cambodia,” the ministry said.
It said it will continue to extract lessons and experiences from the project in order to extend registration of state land in other protected areas across the Kingdom.
The ministry also appealed to the public, relevant ministries, institutions and development partners to continue supporting and participating in the process of state land registration in protected areas.
Sar Mory, Cambodian Youth Network deputy president, said yesterday he supports the effort to register natural conservation protected areas as these areas will have clear borders and land titles to protect them from illegal land encroachment.
“It is very important that both wildlife sanctuaries were registered as state lands with titles,” he said. “In the future, when someone encroaches on them, the ministry will have clear proof of ownership.”
However, Mr Mory said even though some natural protected areas are registered as state land, some cases of encroachment in such areas still exist.
“We appeal to the ministry to strengthen law enforcement and punish those who illegally encroach on state-owned protected areas in the country,” he said.