The Environment Minister instructed his staff to cooperate with relevant ministries and institutions to improve management in the sector at the closing of the ministry’s annual meeting on Monday.
Areas concerned are the organisation of land registration, the demarcation of protected areas, the preparation of community living in protected areas to end land conflicts, and the effective management of natural protected areas.
Environment Minister Say Samal urged his staff to pay special attention to land registration projects for Peam Krasop and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Kong and Mondulkiri provinces, both funded by the Asian Development Bank.
“This is a strategic point for Cambodia to end land disputes completely. We must clearly define which lands are conservation, private, community, or concessionary land in order to have effective management,” he said.
Mr Samal also asked subordinate officials to continue collecting geographic information and data and to interpret satellite imagery to update the map of natural protected areas.
This is meant to strengthen the means of officers and rangers to prevent all forms of natural resources offences.
Hoeun Sopheap, a member of Prey Lang Community Network in Kampong Thom province, supported the ministry’s action to set clear boundaries for protected areas.
Mr Sopheap said many people had migrated to clear and grab protected areas to claim as their own property and then resell them.
“The ministry and authorities have not yet set the border demarcation of the natural protected areas; they just put up a sign. This has led to many offences. If the ministry actually implements this programme, it will help reduce those crimes,” he said.
Phay Bun Chhoeun, the ministry’s secretary of state, said that a 2018 directive will send experts to study the protected areas boundaries and update their management.
So far, the ministry has created more than 50 protected areas and biodiversity conservation corridors, and plans to set up new protected areas in Preah Vihear, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey provinces.