At last year’s COP26, the annual U.N. climate summit, Cambodian Environment Minister Say Samal voiced his support for more carbon credit projects in the country as part of his request for greater climate financing. Notably, though, he avoided making Cambodia a signatory to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, which would have committed Samal to preserving what remains of Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and other protected forests.
However, despite his vocal support of REDD+ as a means of financing conservation, on Nov. 12, 2021, the government that Samal serves approved 299 kilometers (186 miles) of 500-kilovolt power lines that are set to cut Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in half, while also running through two REDD+ projects at either end of the protected area.
One of those REDD+ projects is located in the Stung Treng province section of Prey Lang, where Conservation International partnered with Japanese trading house Mitsui and Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment in 2018. Now, the power lines are planned to cut through a significant portion of the REDD+ project’s accounting area, where carbon credits could potentially be generated after the project completes its ongoing accreditation process.